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  • 🖤 Open Works #009 "Culture" needs a flame warning.

🖤 Open Works #009 "Culture" needs a flame warning.

2 minutes of fuel to ignite your Open Culture journey - shipped every 2 weeks.

Greetings Pioneers!

Welcome to the ninth edition of Open Org’s newsletter and the 75 Progressive People People who joined since last time. If you’re reading this then three things are probably true:

  1. You’ve had a manager request party budget the same week you had to manage a set of layoffs.

  2. You think about 15% of CIPD is useful.

  3. You’ve worked with at least one Founder who demonstrated….err sociopathic tendencies

👉️ Quick reminder of what’s in the box?

So this is our fortnightly-ish drop of tips, resources, memes, templates and insights from our small but mighty community of amazing People People trailblazing workplace transparency in the pursuit of a less opaque, less busted world of work.

We are fully transparent and share the board pack with the team. We walk through it with them as if we are talking to the board. In this way the new joiners have complete insight into the business within the first month of their joining the company.

— Tushar Agarwal and Tom Watson, co-founders, Hubble. Source

Ready to dive in?

Let’s go.

🎁 Free shit to make your life easier:

Using the word “culture” and expecting everyone else in the leadership team to know what you mean is how you get zero budget, a lot of eye-rolls or an energetic assertion that we need to do more ‘team-building’. #FacePalm

At least this was my lived experience for several years! But, once the scars had healed on a lot of failed attempts at influencing, I realised the problem was when i said “culture” people really just heard “hand-wavy HR stuff”.

So in 2018 I started iterating on a way to operationalise culture beyond values, make it tangible for leadership teams and by extension: manage it like a product. The below is one of the things I built to help start that journey…

🔥 Introducing The Operational Excellence Diagnostic

Operational Excellence ≠ Culture

People People who used the language of Operational Excellence ≠ Culture.

As usual this is a work in progress. Feedback + riffs welcome.

Peace ✌️ 

🎉 Transparency Shoutouts

This edition is all about the epic team at Whereby who have become the world’s third ever Open Org. 🎉 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉

Special shoutout to the incredible Adela Prisacaru who led on the accreditation. The folks at Whereby have set an incredible standard for Open Culture and we’re delighted to follow their journey as they inspire the next generation of Open Orgs!

Huge kudos to Jessie Zwaan (COO) for supporting this initiative.

📖 OpenOrg #Build in Public

🎉 3rd accredited Open Org announced (go Whereby!) and the 4th to be announced on Wednesday at 10am 🤩 We’ve also just concluded OOC#2 and OOC#3, our signature cohorts for People People and are delighted to welcome everyone into the broader community 🥰 

We’re also building A LOT this xmas. Pretty excited about our first digital course as well as our first product: open metrics, which will let People leaders at seed-series B companies benchmark their core people metrics and influence like a boss.

This kind of thing, but for ENPS, ELTV, Attrition +10 more…

👉️ Early adopters for beta access please sign up here.

p.s If you want the latest dives behind the scenes on company-building as parents, we do a weekly and monthly public journal on the highs and lows, wins and fails. Latest one here.

p.p.s our new Tiktok account is a meme bank for #PeopleOps People. Some will make you laugh, some will make you cry! 😂 


No founders. This is not the way. 🫠 #peopleops #culture

Check it out if you’re bored 🐝 

💡 Tangible Transparency Tip

Help your leadership team treat your team like you treat your board.

🖐️ Stop: accepting “they won’t be able to understand this” as an excuse for not educating folks on the commercial context of the business.

👉️ Start: sharing your board pack and investor update with the wider team. Use a loom walkthrough and notion 1 pager if you don’t want to add another meeting.

If people are making strange requests, weird decisions it can be a sign that internal comms is busted and context is missing.

📚️ Interesting Internet

Things I find that i like. Hope you like them too:

  1. Book: Have you read Pat Caldwell’s book yet? People Ops: Lessons in Culture and Leadership From Building Startups is 🔥. If you work in People Ops this one needs to be in your stocking.

  2. Template: Spill’s psychological safety survey question template is good.

  3. Post:  Dom Fletcher on how to send a candidate rejection email featuring OO Alumni Emily Sivey

  4. Framework: Jess Zwaan’s ELTV to ARC Ratio calculator is a handy tool for People leaders. Sub her medium whilst you’re there for a slice of fried gold.

  5. Tool: Candidate.fyi are streamlining candidate comms, feedback and scheduling with a kick ass candidate engagement suite. Mint.

🦁 Join the Open Culture Revolution

We are continuing our search for more progressive People & Talent folks who want to spark change in their orgs. You know workplace transparency is the future of work but your not sure how to get started / operationalise? You’re exactly the person we’re looking for.

Let’s do this thing! :-)

We’re running a bunch of exciting programmes in the New Year, including our signature remote cohorts for People Leaders and we also still have a few spaces left on our January Bootcamp to help folks make the case for change... save your spot by saying hi here (bootcamp kicks off Jan 16th - 2 spaces left).

Or hit this big button.👇️ 

If you’re curious about what we’re building, have an idea or want to collab then Adam and I would love to chat. Our cal is always open here.

With 🧊 & 🔥 

John & Adam