How Do iContact Employees Describe Our Culture?

August 29, 2010 · Print This Article

In my post Friday on the most important business lessons I’ve learned at iContact, lesson ten was:

“10. If you create a great culture (a fun work environment filled with people who are high performers and who care about their work and their impact on the world) you will be able to attract and retain better people who will be much more engaged and productive and create a much more financially successful company.”

Recently I’ve been reading four wonderful books that have helped me ‘go to school’ on the tremendous value of building company culture and the revenue growth than can be achieved when you can align profit, purpose, and meaning for your team. These are:

This post is to share a bit about what the iContact Culture is like today, in the words of our current employees. In future posts I’ll describe an effort we’re about to embark on to make the iContact Culture a core part of what differentiates our company, with the help these authors, many of which Tony Hsieh of Zappos turned me on to.

How iContact Employees Describe Our Current Culture

Last week we held our first ever Culture Committee Meeting at iContact over lunch one day. I started off by asking the group to write down words that described our culture.

The words that came up more than once from the group were:

  1. Fun
  2. Creative
  3. Community-oriented
  4. Energetic
  5. Challenging

These were pretty powerful words.

Other words mentioned by employees to describe the iContact culture were:

Dynamic Respectful Socially Responsible Diverse Casual
Optimistic Open Service-oriented Unique Sustainable
Inclusive Engaging Encouraging Ever-changing Family-like
Motivated Fast-moving Compassionate Growing Helpful
Mission-focused Intellectual Professional yet wacky Agile Thoughtful

How Would You Describe the iContact Culture In a Sentence to a Friend?

I then asked the group to write a sentence they’d use to describe iContact Culture to a friend. Recently I’ve been describing the culture as a “high energy performance based culture that cares.” The group wrote:

  • iContact is an open, supportive, and respectful place where employees can make their setting their own and have a say in influencing their own experience
  • iContact is an organization that is driving forward the deliverance of a product surrounded by a team that shares their personal excellence with the world
  • iContact is a diverse group of individuals from all walks of life that come together as a team to both achieve and help others succeed
  • iContact is a company that consciously seeks uniqueness
  • iContact is a dynamic team-centric company that effectively balances customers, employees, and the world
  • iContact has a fun atmosphere where each individuals ideas and work are recognized
  • iContact is comprised of interdependent teams working to solve problems together
  • iContact is an exciting place to work due to the energy put forth by each employee every day
  • iContact understands that individual and team growth equals company growth

What Makes the iContact Culture Unique?

I then asked the group to share some of the things they felt made iContact unique as a company. They wrote:

  • We are fast-growing while becoming open and more agile as we grow
  • We believe in what we say and we act based on that belief
  • We practice openness
  • We have a holistic approach to business in terms of our impact on all stakeholders
  • We are a socially responsible company
  • We are transparent and have lots of giving back opportunities and a comfortable dress code
  • We have unique wall murals
  • We do business differently, our employees are empowered, we work hard and play hard, and we are actively committed to helping others
  • We interview candidates to determine not if they are the best individual candidate but whether someone is going to fit in the team
  • We have a commitment to the community and the 4-1s CSR program
  • We have unique benefits like free unlimited sodas, monthly massages, annual car washes, Monday bagels, monthly lunches, monthly birthday cakes
  • We produce a monthly YouTube company news video featuring sword fights between bees and knights, dancing, rapping, chocolate grasshopper eating, Batmen superhero fights, iron chef competitions, parades, and cross-dressing
  • We have smoke machines and disco lights at monthly company meetings
  • Our CFO has dressed up like a cheerleader and Michael Jackson
  • Our CEO has shaved his head when we hit
  • We have big anniversary celebrations with hot air balloons, dunk tanks, bouncy castles, inflatable slides, fire eaters, magicians, bluegrass music, and Carolina BBQ
  • We go to the Durham Bulls baseball and Carolina Hurricanes hockey games as a company
  • We have pot luck lunches, waffle and pancake parties, 3am code deploys, lots of plants and balloons, new hire donuts in technology, and Finance/HR annual ice cream socials, and summer picnics

So it’s fair to say we have a rather unique culture at iContact already.

But iContact is about to move into a new home in Morrisville, NC on October 23rd. We can use this opportunity to do even better.

I’ll be writing more about our company culture and our journey in the coming days and months.

Videos of the iContact Culture

Here are some of the videos that have been part of defining our unique culture over time, from the iContactTV YouTube Channel


How We Do Meetings at iContact

Celebrating our 7th Anniversary at iContact

Celebrating 5th Anniversary at iContact

50,000 Customer Celebration Parade

Dressing Up as Tina Turner and Michael Jackson to Celebrate $2M in Monthly Sales

iNews Digital Short: Chocolate Covered Grasshoppers

July 2010 iContact iNews


One Response to “How Do iContact Employees Describe Our Culture?”

  1. Caroline Mwana on September 24th, 2010 4:16 am

    Hey Ryan,

    I am Young entrepreneur and I must say I love your way of handling things especially at icontact. I have learnt alot from you and I must say you are my role model.

    How can someone get to you with a personal question?

    Good work!

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