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Secret Sauce: How SF-based Tagged Builds Culture

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If people are a company’s greatest asset, then culture represents the heart of how people work, play and represent a company’s image. Building and maintaining culture involves many components not the least of which is attentiveness by management, an enriched work environment and a willingness to adapt to the changing needs of the workforce. At social discovery titan Tagged, they have nurtured a culture that is ultimately the basis for developing a product used by more than 300M subscribers.

Everyone knows that competition for talent is fierce in Silicon Valley’s tech industries. While having high-caliber employees and hitting business metrics is an essential part of a company’s success, for some, culture is the secret sauce driving that success. Tagged believes strongly in having unique traditions and benefits. Rather than focus solely on quarterly metrics, the CEO and other leaders make culture a serious priority, striving to make Tagged a place where the whole team is excited to work.

Tagged differentiates itself from the competition by constantly pushing employees to evaluate what makes them tick, but more importantly, what will keep them engaged. Here is peek inside how Tagged keeps culture alive and well:

It’s not an office – it’s a home away from home.

From bike racks to kitchens and cozy seating options all around, Tagged brings in elements of the home to make employees feel comfortable and allows them to switch up their surroundings. Employees sit in an open setting (execs included!) to foster continuous communication and collaboration. Not only are desks open seating but the other rooms are as well – from picnic tables to large conference tables – eating among friends is inevitable. By blending ease-of-use workspace design and co-location, ideas, conversations and fun are served up on a daily basis to encourage collaboration.

Voices are heard, listened to and appreciated.

Tagged’s mission is to bring people together and this is evident each day with how employees and executives interact. Employees are honest with their thoughts and are encouraged to voice their opinions about processes and product ideas (not bad for a 10-year-old company). There’s an anonymous feedback box where team members can submit questions and concerns, and questions are addressed weekly at Friday ‘all-hands’ meetings. The Tagged team strives to achieve an environment of constant feedback, with ongoing manager-employee 1:1s where progress is discussed, tracked and acted upon.

Transparency is key.

Openness is key at Tagged. C-level executives regularly share information about the company including financial results that are shared monthly. Tagged recently did away with its quarterly performance review system and moved to a system of regular 1:1s to promote constant feedback. This allows the executives and team leaders to immediately hear feedback regarding what works and what doesn’t versus waiting every three months. Employees are brought into the fold and made aware of the state of company rather than being kept in the dark about the health of the organization.

Give and receive.

The culture at Tagged is a two-way street. People are expected to contribute to the culture and benefit from being a part of it in order to foster open communication at all levels. In terms of social responsibility, Tagged supports the local community through volunteer programs and partnerships with nonprofit organizations. And to keep Tagged’s culture traditions and quirks going strong, the “culture ninjas” plan and execute ongoing events and other stunts for the organization.

There is little doubt that the right culture can make or break a company’s chances for success and longevity. Tagged takes this notion seriously and the company’s year-over-year growth, employee retention and innovative products are all testaments to their people and their brand.

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