It’s time for another Culture Collective! This week, we sat down with Hannah Nececkas, Recruiting and Culture Coordinator at Ribbon. Hannah maintains Ribbon’s Union Square office, making sure the Bevi (a water cooler system) and the cold brew are flowing properly, also making sure all the good snacks are available. When she’s not working, she spends a lot of time traveling, finding the best coffee to drink and doing CrossFit. To find out more about their company culture, read more below. 

Culture Collective: Hannah Nececkas quote

What are three words you would use to describe your workplace culture and why? 

I would say the first word is energizing. In our New York office, the space itself is pretty small. Our team is getting a little too big for the space, which is pretty awesome. It has such a great energy to it. Everybody is working on something unique, but really contributing to the same goal and the same mission. I think that people feed off that energy. We have engineers in one corner, working on our technology. Our sales people are on the other side of the office, selling the product that we’re making and I think that energy is infectious all around. 

The next word I would have to say is collaborative. Every day, each department works really closely with each other, which I really love. So, you have the opportunity to work with some of the most talented people in our office’s tech, you have people in sales, people in finance, legal. All across the board really willing to jump in and work on a problem all together. 

The last word I would say is inclusive. Everybody here is really willing to make space for other people at the table. There’s no sense of seniority or any problems and I really love that. Especially as a woman coming into teach you always worry about those kinds of things, but I really feel like here everyone has a seat at the table and an opportunity to speak up.

What is your office super power? 

The first word I think of is patience. We’re located in Union Square and the properties are beautiful, but they’re also old. So, with that, there’s every problem you can think of that comes up in our office space. Our HVAC broke in the middle of the summer, so we were down A/C. So, you know, just coming up with quick fixes. 

I would say, in addition to being patient, it’s being welcoming and inclusive, I think that anybody in the office can really come to me and ask for anything and talk to me about anything. That’s something that I take a lot of pride in — making sure that everyone has someone that they can come to. 

Why is company culture important?

I think culture is important, because it’s what rallies people together. Culture is the heartbeat of an organization. You can be an engineer or recruiter or an employee at any organization, but you stay in a place because of the culture and the people. It creates a sense of community and purpose. 

What does your team normally do for lunch? 

We offer a weekly catered lunch. Every other Wednesday, we split up into small random lunch groups. Usually it’s about 5-7 people and Ribbon will cover up to $20 per person to go out and grab a bite to eat with people who aren’t on your team. It’s a really good opportunity to communicate and chat with people outside of your normal working hours. 

We have a calendar event every day at 12:30, which is lunchtime. It’s just another opportunity for people to sit down together. We have a giant kitchen table and you’ll find a lot of people sitting there and just enjoying lunch together. We also have a Sweetgreen channel on Slack. That was inspired by a bunch of people going to Sweetgreen all together basically every day. So it’s just become a place where people can post their pickup time and all go together. 

What are ways your company brings your team together?

We’re actually a distributed workforce. We have an office up here in New York, an office in Charlotte and we have some folks in Nashville and Raleigh, as well. I think the biggest way we get together is by doing a company-wide offsite. We actually just spent a couple of days down in Atlanta. We just opened a market there so we spent a couple of days just learning the area and getting to chat with each other. I take for granted, being in recruiting, that I get to talk to every single person that we hire. A lot of people aren’t afforded those opportunities. 

We  host weekly all hands, where people will video chat in and kind of just learn what we’re up to on a company-wide level. We also offer volunteer days, where people can just get out of the office and get to know each other.

If you could propose an idea to positively impact any company’s culture, what would it be and why?

I think first off is just encouraging people to close your laptops and put away your phones. Really challenge your employees to get to know each other on a more personal level, rather than just, “Hey, what are you working on? I’m working on this.” I think that’s pretty easy to do. It also creates a lot of empathy about what each team in doing when you can understand each other as people. 

I think above that, don’t copy other people’s cultures. I think your culture should be indicative of your own core values. It should be authentic and it should come from a place that’s true to you, not true of another company.