We are creating the Most Human Company.
A great company culture depends on many factors. Having a compelling product. Building a strong community. Operating with trust and fairness. But before you can reach any of those goals, you need to relentlessly focus on people.
The Most Human Company is a place where people — each with individual and diverse abilities, ambitions, and emotions — come together to work, to learn, and to grow.
At AutoUncle, we acknowledge and appreciate that everyone has feelings and opinions, and we bring them to work with us every day. Our emotions can work for us or against us, but if we suppress them, we often end up blocking our own growth instead.
Humans are not machines. Input does not always equal output. That’s why we focus on outcomes — the results of hard work and creative energy — and not the time spent creating them. We know that success is a marathon, and we trust our teammates to know how to best use their time to reach our shared goals.
Our Values: The Five Cs
Knowledge is power. That’s why we value transparency in all areas of our work. Information asymmetry leads to uncertainty and inequality, so we embrace clarity to promote growth.
We are not afraid to fail. We are willing to challenge the status quo. We make clear decisions and stand behind them. We always choose action over stasis.
We embrace the things we do not understand. We dig deep to find the question before looking for an answer. We are motivated by learning and growth.
Nothing worth having comes easy. We value persistence, especially in the face of an uphill climb. We care intensely about the company’s success, and we know that means we have to put our people and our teams first.
We care about each other. We check in with our emotions and treat each other with generosity. We trust our colleagues, and we know our success is shared. We apply these values to our relationships with partners, customers, consumers, and vendors.
Putting the Culture to Work
Our culture depends on each of us embracing the principles behind the Most Human Company. But at the end of the day, culture boils down to action. Here are some of the actions we take to reflect our values.
Check-ins: the Emotional Status Report
Our mental state impacts everything we do, so we begin each meeting with a simple check-in. How are you feeling at this moment?
Answering this question acknowledges that we all come to work as whole human beings. When we meet, we welcome all of our human emotions, whether they arise from something at work or elsewhere.
The goal with each check-in is to foster understanding and help make each meeting as productive as possible. It is not a goal to explain why we feel a particular way — the value comes from cultivating openness, trust, and an ability to stay in the moment.
I feel good, present, and engaged. I am optimistic, calm, and thinking clearly. I am eager to collaborate, full of creative energy, and open to new ideas.
I have something distracting me. Perhaps I’m feeling tense, impatient, or defensive. In this state I may need some extra support to perform well.
I am actively unwell. Maybe I am sick or in pain, fearful or stressed or angry. In this state, I am unable to perform creatively or think clearly.
Quarterly All Hands Meet Ups
Four times a year, all AutoUncle employees come together to share learnings, plan next steps, and develop community. This is time we really value to deepen our relationships. The opportunity to have unstructured time together helps strengthen our community and generate new connections.
We keep a dedicated portion of our time together to discuss and develop our company culture. Whether it’s guest speakers, a special workshop, or time devoted to “non-project” activities, we speak openly about how it feels to come to work and how we can make it better.
It’s also important for us to have fun together. When we meet we celebrate our achievements, share what we’ve learned, and remember that one person’s success is everyone’s success.
These meetups also help us establish a common ground. Together we clarify the state of the business, the road map for the future, and how everyone contributes to the company’s mission.
One-to-one (1:1) Connections
Recurring one-to-one meetings are an important part of our culture. They provide a powerful opportunity to share feedback, reset priorities, provide context, review roadblocks, and offer coaching.
At AutoUncle, everyone has a regular 1:1 with their manager. We often go for a walk or sit at a nearby cafe to change the environment and spark inspiration.
These are “the employee’s meeting,” where you get to discuss what’s important to you and reflect on what has happened since the last meeting.
The key to a successful 1:1 is preparation. We always come prepared with an agenda, making sure to follow up on previous action plans and summarize each 1:1 for the following session.
Coaching, Leading, and Mentoring
Being a good leader is as much a skill as any other professional speciality. We support our leaders with management training, coaching and mentoring. We’re strong believers in the power of asking good questions and sharing experiences.
We also know that these skills are useful at every level of the organization. That’s why we offer coaching and mentoring to all of our employees who are looking to grow.
We know it can be hard to take time off and truly disconnect. When you’re engaged at work, it’s tempting to check emails, even on vacation.
That’s why we’ve implemented shared holidays — periods where the majority of the team takes time off together. With the home office quiet, we’re all better able to relax and disconnect. And when we’re all working at the same time we’re less likely to need to interrupt someone on their holiday.
Becoming a parent or welcoming another child is a huge event that influences every aspect of life, including work.
We are committed to supporting all parents equally, both men and women, adoptive or biological. We offer 29 weeks of paid leave for all new parents, regardless of your working location.
Our full policy outlines additional benefits including pregnancy leave and a flexible approach to returning to work.
When Covid-19 hit, we had to change our whole way of working, just like so many other businesses. We used the principles of the Most Human Company to help guide our response and provide as much support to our team as possible.
We are lucky to be part of an industry that is well-suited to remote work. With so many office locations, our teams are used to working independently. Still, we understand that working from home and sheltering in place during a crisis are two different things.
Our Covid-19 Response Guidelines
- Be as transparent as possible.
As the situation changed rapidly, we did our best to communicate our plans and listen to concerns. We always shared our reasoning behind decisions and how changing circumstances were impacting the business.
- Accept there is no one perfect solution.
For some people, working from home is no problem. For others, this poses significant challenges. We understand everyone has their own experience, and everyone has been affected by the pandemic differently.
- Train our managers to be supportive in virtual leadership.
Our leadership team meets regularly to learn how best to manage people remotely and to develop better ways to support their team mates.
- Focus on customer care and retention.
As so many other businesses struggled, we reached out to our customers to help support them. Our business model depends on our customers’ success, so we doubled down on providing value to our customers.
- Preserve as many jobs as possible.
We prioritize our employees, and our decisions were largely driven by how to avoid any job loss. We feel grateful and proud about doing so well that we could not only keep colleagues in their jobs but also welcome more than 25 new colleagues in 2020.
Watch Johan's talk on The Most Human Company