Culture bugs

I often say that culture is an outcome of our processes. I first read about this concept in a 2016 HBR article and it made a deep impact on me.

Today I read about this concept in a Fast Company article featuring Asana, a workplace-productivity management company. Asana received a perfect rating on Glassdoor and is among Glassdoor’s Top 10 Best Places to Work in 2017. The company was also named one of Entrepreneur magazine’s best workplace cultures of 2017.

How did Asana get there? Here’s an extract from the article:

“We decided to treat culture as a product,” Rosenstein says.

He explained that instead of looking at culture as something that “just happens,” he and his cofounder realized that culture was actually something that needed to be carefully designed, tested, debugged, and iterated on, like any other product they released.

This means that representatives from all areas of the company meet regularly to reassess Asana’s values and design new ways to incorporate those values into every process at the company. Once a new process is “shipped,” an intense period of user feedback begins.

“We actively survey people anonymously, and during one-on-ones, we ask what’s working well and what isn’t working well. Based on that information, we go back to the company and say, here’s what we heard, and here’s what we’re doing to do about it,” says Rosenstein.

In fact, every quarter, the entire company takes a full week off from business to road map corporate goals for the future. Many of these goals are business-related, but culture-related reflection is heavily encouraged.

When problems are brought to the table, Rosenstein says that management is quick to address the issues. Asana even has a name for these issues–“culture bugs”–and it seeks to squash them as quickly as bugs in the codebase of any other product.

Many organizations see it as their obligation to offer employee benefits like vacation, health care, retirement, and disability.

But what about offering a great culture?

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