When People Create the Culture, Everyone Wins.
Over the course of four years, I’ve been lucky enough to grow with our team from twelve driven, eager, real-world newcomers, to ninety-six passionate, inspired individuals spanning New York City and the Bay Area. Today, we’ve been named one of the 100 Best Places to Work in New York City by Crain’s New York Business and Best Companies Group. Holy s#^*.
As an early member of the HR team at Prolific, I’ve read countless articles, spoken with various HR professionals, and listened to one too many podcasts on how to make our workplace the best of the best. From free dry cleaning, to doggy day care, to a yearly all expenses paid trip to the Caribbean, it sounded like pouring money into perks was the answer. Fortunately, for our CFO (Hey Devon!), this was not the solution to keeping our growing team happy and engaged. This research did inspire us (think: non-gendered signage for our restrooms and company hack days), but more than anything, it taught us that there was no “one size fits all” approach to creating and sustaining company culture.
Startup to Small Business
Becoming a 30-person team was a milestone that brought along a sense of maturity, excitement, and accomplishment, not to mention a new set of challenges and growing pains. At our core, we knew who we were and what we stood for. Every person on our team was there for the same reason, but how could we better define this to help everyone understand what we value as an organization, what type of impact people can have on our team, and what value our team will find in the work they’re producing?
We set time aside on a weekly basis to dig deeper. We tossed around mission statements, vision statements, company goals, you name it. We were talking ourselves in circles. Things didn’t become clear until we started on the topic of retention. Our CEO, Bobby, outlined very clearly that retention, or the continued possession, use, or control of something, was not what we, as an organization, ever planned to do. Instead, he helped us realize that “it’s the people of Prolific that will create the possession of purpose, friendship, and a sense of pride. It’s what they build together that will keep them committed to each other.”
The feeling of camaraderie our company was built on, coupled with this change in mindset brought us to truly understand what was important to our team: building great products, with great people, and having fun while doing it. They would thrive, not with the help of endless perks, but rather with the opportunity to be the drivers of our culture, our products, and our processes. The relationships they build with their teammates, the bonds they’ll form with one another, the true friends they make — that’s what’s was going to create culture and make Prolific a great place to work.
In the past year and a half, our team has doubled in size, moved workplaces, and brought on new (and awesome) partners, all while the industry has grown leaps and bounds. With these changes, three things have remained constant: our people, our culture, and our top-rated products. I won’t pretend we deprive our team of coffee, a keg, or killer views here at 77 Sands Street, but you should also know we offer visa sponsorship, a 401K matching program, and a 12-week Paid New Parent Leave. Why? Because our team drove these initiatives forward by teaching us which benefits would enhance the lives of them and their families. Had we not allowed each individual the ability to influence and contribute, we would never have been able to create what we can now call one of the Best Companies to Work for in New York City.
While this recognition is a testament to our success so far, it by no means signifies the end to our constant commitment to our people and culture. In fact, it reiterates how important it is to strive to get better each and every day.