Last week was big for Simply Measured as we moved into our brand new office. In the midst of it, we had several new people join, multiple product releases, and it was the last week of our quarter.
Office moves are inherently hectic, so we figure it was a good time to try something fun and a little crazy for our company culture. On Day One in the new office we began “Shuffle Week,” a complete shuffle of our seating chart and daily events to bring our culture to front of mind for everyone.
We’ve more than doubled in size since the beginning of the year. When we rang in 2013, there were 34 people working at Simply Measured. Now, there are 70 of us, and we’re still hiring.
As a young company, this is a good problem to have, but it’s also the stage when many startups start to see their culture struggle. We’re not willing to fall victim to this trend and we’ve made it an ongoing company objective that is equally as important as any financial or product goals.
So What is “Shuffle Week”?
At 70 people, it becomes difficult to know all of the individuals you’re working with. We’re not all sitting around one table like the early days. Sales folks don’t always interact with engineers, engineers have no clue who does what on the marketing team, and we wind up cloistered in our own teams for the majority of our day. This poses a challenge because we explicitly want a single unified culture, not a separate sales culture, engineering culture, and marketing culture.
So how do you fix that? You mix it up.
We randomly assigned “pods” across the company, so people were grouped – all week – with coworkers from other teams. They sat together, went out to lunch (on the company) together, came up with new ideas together, and – most importantly – audited our company values together.
At the end of the week each pod presented feedback on company values, one good idea for the future, take-aways from the week, and their recommended lunch menu item in our new neighborhood.
What Did We Learn?
Was this is a quick fix for team silos? Heck no. It’s an ongoing challenge. That said, this was a great way to give the system a jolt and bring these challenges to top of mind. Auditing our company values was a big win – it added a new batch of coworkers and fresh perspective to our values since the first version. Teams left Shuffle Week with a bit more context about their Simply Measured coworkers from across departments, got to share interesting ideas, and of course had fun.
The week also helped remind us that our company’s future, culture, and values don’t just belong to the founders or executive team – everyone can take ownership and even the little things can move the needle when we’re all committed.
I’m proud of how the entire company invested in Shuffle Week, and I’m excited about where the ongoing conversation will take us.
CEO & Co-Founder