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Company Culture Best Practices with Sarah Blackmore, Senior Director of People at Eventbase

As part of our Tech Talks series, Miles HR spoke to Sarah Blackmore, Senior Director of People at Eventbase.

What sort of company culture has Eventbase built and how has it transformed over the past 9 years?

When you think about culture I think that there is an important distinction to be made about the culture a company makes and a culture it attracts. One of the things I think is most powerful at Eventbase is that 9 years ago the founders set out to transform how people experience events and this mission has resonated with every Eventbaser since then.

Eventbase has set the tone for a culture that is supportive, engaged and welcoming but culture is truly the sum of its parts and any culture with good roots will ebb and flow organically over time. This is where Eventbase exists today, it is founded in people that care about what we are doing and in turn, care about the people they are doing it with.

What have been the HR challenges during Eventbase’s growth?

Every company experiences challenges and companies that are in growth mode face more challenges than most!
I think one of the things I have learned over the years working in growth start up companies is that challenges often present themselves at significant milestones. For example, a company that grows from 25 people to 100 has to change the way they communicate internally.

It’s no longer the case that everyone knows everything whilst all being sat in the same room. Instead the workplace transforms to include additional hierarchy and more complex decision making processes and that is a huge shift for those who long for the glory days of when there were 25 employees.

Eventbase is no different. We have faced challenges around how to scale and hire, how to manage performance in a meaningful way and how to communicate our messaging. These kinds of challenges are why I love my job – they are such interesting challenges to solve!

How does Eventbase successfully manage a consistent company culture across two locations?

Our core values are the root of the company culture and these translate across oceans and multiple time zones. What I think is the key to a successful company culture across locations is embracing sub cultures. Sub cultures will happen in every company, even between departments and they are actually what makes a company really special.

With our locations we want to embrace the sub cultures and make sure each office has its own identity that is representative of the people in it whilst being anchored to our core.

What three top tips would you give to create a great company culture?

1. If you talk to the talk you have to walk the walk – nothing destroys a great company culture more than saying one thing and doing another. For example if your culture is one that promotes independent decision making, you have to actually let the employees do it with out fear of consequences.

2. Be comfortable with your culture changing over time – it is going to shift and move the more people you bring into an organization and this should be embraced! Cultural tone can be set at the top but it is experienced at every level of an organization and as they change, so will the culture.

3. Remember that culture isn’t free beer, ping pong and working from home – culture runs deeply in an organization and while these “perks” can promote cultural connection, don’t mistake them for actual culture. Any good culture needs to be rooted in a values system that resonates with people otherwise the perks are just fluff.

On behalf of Miles, we’d like to thank Sarah Blackmore for sharing her valuable insights on best practices for managing great company culture. You can also learn more about Eventbase here!