Competing in the Software Space—with Culture

Competing in the Software Space—with Culture

Kayla Graham

Dustin Tysick—the VP of Marketing and Growth at Jostle—shares that Intranet has always been a complicated space. Jostle was an opportunity to be an interesting solution with a personality. They sell differently than the behemoths. They focus on being a company that builds a following.

The challenge has always been fighting the status quo. Companies started to realize they needed to figure out their culture. Jostle has seen an uptick in interest since COVID. A global pandemic opened people’s eyes to everything that’s been wrong with the workplace—and that starts with culture.

What is culture?

People have started to misunderstand culture. Culture became all about beers on Friday and free food in the conference room. Of course, these aren’t all bad, but that’s certainly not what culture is. Company culture is understanding that people have dependents and adjusting working hours. It’s hiring for diversity and inclusion. It’s so much more than a “fun” working environment.

Dustin’s goal is to make his team feel connected and safe. He needs them to know the vision of the company and feel heard. Are you all working for the same thing? Do you feel like you know what’s going on? Can you share your voice and be respected? 

Cultivating a new culture in an old school space

Younger companies have a better understanding of establishing culture. Old-school companies have a culture, might not understand they have it, and it might not be good. The truth is that culture is transparency and big conglomerates aren’t about transparency. Dustin notes that “As a product and as a company, we don’t want to change your culture—we want to reflect who you are as an organization.” People select cultures that fit them whenever possible.

You don’t want everyone to be the same person. When hiring for culture, you want to look at what the new person adds to the team. What dimension do they add? What background and perspective do they come from?

How do you figure that out? Dustin notes that it’s tough because everyone is in interview mode. They’re saying things they think they should say. Jostle tries to make interviews as casual as possible and utilizes a group setting whenever they’re able. When you bring someone into that atmosphere, it lets their guard down. They either decide that you’re crazy and they’d hate to work there, or they love the atmosphere.

Group interview or firing squad?

Amanda has been on the receiving end of a group interview—four times. If you keep it casual, it can be great. You get an example of the team you’re heading into. You can test personalities and see where clashes might be.

When it isn’t done casually, it can feel like a firing squad. Amanda went to an interview with a university, and it was far more regulated and formal. Each person took their turn to “fire” with their scripts. They were lovely people, but “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” and “How are you going to increase your ROI?” can be overwhelming. It doesn’t give you time to recover. But it did give her a sense of the culture.

An interview should be a two-way conversation. It shouldn’t feel like a firing squad. Dustin believes if you ask those questions, you’ll just get scripted answers, and you won’t learn a lot. How can you do things differently? How do you cultivate your culture in an era of remote workforces? Listen to episode #37 of the Content Callout podcast to learn more!