Friday, July 06, 2012

The Belonging Sessions 004: Melissa Silvers of Ready, Set Rocket

Ready Set Rocket creates ideas, nurtures them, proves them and puts them into action. They never stop making good ideas better.

I sat down with Melissa Silvers, their creative director, and posed three crucial questions about belonging:
1. Good brands are bought, but great brands are joined. Why do you think employees join yours?
Most people join a company for basic needs like salary and benefits – and we do offer generous benefits and paid time off. But as a boutique digital agency, we can also drive home more value than a benefits package. We work in a sunny, dog-friendly loft in SoHo. That environment really helps everyone knows each other intimately. So, we’re careful whom we bring in on a fit level. Technical expertise is invaluable, but personality is the key to someone not just joining our company but believing in it. We’re all geeks who love knowledge, and we’re not afraid to tell candidates they’re not the perfect fit. It’s the hardest part of hiring, but it makes for a stronger team.
2. The great workplaces of the world have soul. What do you do to humanize your culture?
This isn’t a workplace where everyone has ear buds on, lost in their own worlds. To humanize the office, we have speakers that blast a shared room in Turntable.fm, so everyone gets to share their music with the team (and turns into sing-alongs). We have Tweet Battles with a point system. We have team snowboarding trips. We will glitter bomb your desk if you get engaged. And our culture page is an aggregated stream of employee Instagram feeds. Which is a risky disclosure, but it’s also a compiled sense of who the team is visually. And that offers insight to each individual person and their tastes. Ultimately, we value knowledge over ego. We believe in transparency. There’s no information-withholding hierarchy. Everyone is an expert on something. It doesn’t matter who’s at the table, a good idea is a good idea. People feel valued, which is really the key to humanizing any workplace.
3. Belonging is a basic human craving. How do you remind employees that they've found a home?
New York is weird because few people here are natives. I think that’s why the word family comes up so often when we get together. At our organization, it’s closest thing some of us have to family in the city. And that sense of belonging is an ongoing effort. We have office dogs, who are just as much a part of the team as people. We have old employees and former interns, who stop by just to hang out. We don’t just like the people we work with – we love them. Our office isn’t the place you’re waiting to leave at the end of the day.

Thanks Melissa!

Meet the team at Ready, Set Rocket here.