Move over, kegerator: 4 Austin tech companies share why their cultures stand out

Kelly O'Halloran
August 22, 2018

What fosters culture? Is it mission? Is it the people? Is it support for team members? Turns out, for many companies, it’s a combination of all three — and then some. We asked four Austin tech companies to share what makes their cultures stand out. Here’s what they had to say.

 

inmotion software austin
photo provided by inmotion

The clients InMotion Software serves require a highly skilled workforce to get the job done right. That means InMotion’s team primarily consists of senior talent. But Daniel Jimmie, InMotion’s VP of sales and recruiting, said the company is expanding to support its senior team with junior and mid-level staff to develop new leaders and prepare for its next wave of talent.

One of the ways we’re promoting our culture is by giving back to the community.”

 

Song that best encapsulates InMotion’s vibe:

“Hook” by Blues Traveler

 

What makes InMotion’s culture unique?

We’re a UX research, design and engineering consultancy, and, as such, we often need to parachute into situations to provide high-level strategic or tactical guidance immediately. This means we hire a lot of senior talent. We are now backing those seniors up with junior- to mid-level employees so they can help coach, train, mentor and develop the next generation of talent.

 

What initiatives do you have in place to promote culture?

One of the ways we’re promoting our culture is by giving back to the community. We do so through our monthly workshops held at Capital Factory. We’ll invite a senior researcher, designer or engineer to select a topic he or she is passionate about and has experience with, put together a presentation, and share it with a room full of 40 to 60 people. The community has really enjoyed the presentations, and our team has grown through delivering them.

 

civitas learning austin
photo provided by civitas learning

Alex Huckabee, Civitas Learning’s team lead for partner care, said employees share a dedication to improving student outcomes. This has created what Huckabee describes as a “scrappy enthusiasm” at the office about making a real impact on college and university graduation rates. Here’s a few ways the team embraces and celebrates that scrappiness.

We cultivate lifelong learners.”

 

Song that best encapsulates Civitas Learning’s vibe:

“Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen

 

What makes Civitas Learning’s culture unique?

We cultivate lifelong learners, which is a necessity for working in higher ed, where the tech, attitudes, politics and best practices have become increasingly complex while old assumptions no longer hold true. We embrace the tough questions, like how to improve student success, and we work hard to find solutions.

 

What initiatives do you have in place to promote culture?

We celebrate the small victories. Every Friday morning, we hold an all-company town hall, powered by breakfast tacos, to ring in newly secured partnerships and product deployments with higher ed institutions. Last year, we started a new tradition where employees award a colleague with the ‘Inno Blazer’ during town hall. This is a red blazer signifying the innovations that person has contributed to the company. When an employee gets the award, the tradition carries on with a decorative addition to the blazer and their pick of the next recipient.

We also have a “Bookless Book Club,” where all Civitas employees are invited to a presentation about a book relevant to questions in higher ed, like, “Why is higher education so expensive?” or, “What is the effect of affirmative action?” With so many higher ed experts on staff, we work hard to disseminate that knowledge and build a shared passion around answering these questions.

 

adaction interactive austin
photo provided by adaction interactive

AdAction Interactive’s work hard, play hard mentality spills into everything its team does — and that’s paid off for them. Nikki Miles, AdAction’s Austin office manager, said that in the five years since the company’s launch, AdAction’s staff has recognized the company as a great place to work while experiencing 103 percent year-over-year employee growth.

We value each person’s individual strengths and leverage them to build personalized development plans.”

 

Song that best encapsulates AdAction’s vibe:

“All I Do is Win” by DJ Khaled

 

Describe what makes AdAction’s culture unique:

Our focus on our people. Our leaders care about us as individuals and take the time to get to know us. This is where events like our retreat come in handy. Our CEO takes time to introduce every member of the team, regardless of position, and together we all celebrate this one-of-a-kind opportunity to get to know each other in a relaxed setting with activities like volleyball, all-company flip cup and racing BMWs.

 

What initiatives do you have in place to promote it?

In addition to the retreat, we have happy hours for each new hire, and we celebrate birthdays and personal milestones like new homes and weddings. We also hold monthly staff activities, happy hours and quarterly service events. Within the office, we value each person’s individual strengths and leverage them to build personalized development plans, which continue to evolve as both the individual and the company advance and grow.

 

main street hub engineering
photo provided by main street hub

Feroz Patwa, Main Street Hub’s senior director of engineering, said members of his team care deeply both about customers and each other. This leads to an upbeat, collaborative work environment where people aren’t afraid to try to new things and take on challenges. Patwa and Ben Porter, a software engineer, shared a few ways Main Street Hub’s culture stands out to them.

When opportunities arise, we are always ready to match up our teammates with the best possible roles to accelerate their growth.”

 

5 words that best describe Main Street’s vibe:

Witty, passionate, fun and always improving.

 

What makes Main Street Hub’s culture unique?

Porter: Our culture promotes an environment where teams have a great deal of autonomy to innovate, make decisions and deliver meaningful value. We are passionate about our customers and helping them achieve their goals, and each team and team member is empowered to make a huge impact. One of our core values that really resonates with me is “own outcomes,” which centers on autonomy and the ownership and responsibility that come with it.

 

What initiatives do you have in place to promote culture?

Porter: One event that we do multiple times a year is our company-wide hackathon. I love it because it’s a chance to work with people across teams, and build really fun and innovative concepts in an open and supportive environment. Many of our hackathon projects have inspired products or features that we’ve been able to make and release for our customers and internal users.

Patwa: Our team leads are consistently thinking about how we can help our engineers get experience in new areas so they can continue to grow and challenge themselves. We have regular recurring discussions with team members. When opportunities arise, we are always ready to match up our teammates with the best possible roles to accelerate their growth.

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