Why HubSpot Treats Its Culture as a Product — and How That Helps Them Attract Great Candidates


Another core tenet is transparency. That’s actually what drove HubSpot to make the Culture Code public in the first place. 

But that doesn’t mean transparency is always easy. “[I was surprised by] the number of people who actually didn’t want us to share it with the world,” Katie recalls. “They felt, very much like your grandmother’s chili recipe, that this is something near and dear. And what if our competitors copy it?”

To build trust among its employees, HubSpot helped them understand that what makes the culture special is not what they say about it. It’s what they do as a company — and sharing the Culture Code was part of that. 

“Think of your culture as a living, breathing product,” Katie says. “Every leader at HubSpot bears the responsibility for making sure that they think about their team’s culture and their contributions to our overall culture as a product.”

Gather employee feedback but remember that you can’t please everybody 

As you would with any new product, HubSpot gathered feedback from users (in this case, leaders and employees) before rolling out its code. But the company avoided focus-grouping the culture to death and losing what made it special in the first place. 

“I love employee engagement in getting your culture code right,” Katie says. “It’s been critical to our success. But it’s really important that people know there were employees who didn’t agree with every single thing that was in it when it launched. There are still employees who don’t agree with every single element of it.” 

This is one of the trickiest aspects of creating and refining a culture code: finding the right balance between giving employees a voice and not trying to please everybody. Odds are, something that everyone can fully agree on is actually quite bland. 

“I’ve never seen a CEO,” Katie notes, “who says, ‘We want to attract average people with average interests, with average passion.’ If you’re doing your culture code right, it’s as important for the people it keeps out as those that it draws in. And so, as a result, you actually have to be willing to have a point of view.”

With this in mind, HubSpot’s Code clearly outlines the five core values it looks for in employees, along with examples of what these values look like in practice. HubSpot wants people who are humble, empathetic, adaptable, remarkable, and transparent. In short, it wants people with HEART. 


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