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March 15, 2018 Amelia Wilcox

A Successful Culture Celebrates Failure

I recently spoke with Tamara Lilian, Manager of Culture & Experience at HubSpot, a global sales and marketing platform. In her role at Hubspot, Tamara manages events and programs both internally and externally.

During our conversation, Tamara shared with me how Hubspot’s culture is driven by, among other things, the company’s dedication to transparency and employee education.

Watch the video interview here:


Company Culture at Hubspot

 How Transparency and Education Drive Culture

As a member of the Culture Team at Hubspot, Tamara works to optimize the employee experience, the candidate experience, and the new hire experience. Because Hubspot is a global company with multiple locations around the world, scaling culture and growth is a key part of Tamara’s focus.

Tamara helps implement the Employee Net Promoter Score (ENPS) system so the company can better track how workers feel about the company.

Surveying employees regularly helps Hubspot assess the ENPS of each employee, and allows workers to identify what’s working and what’s not.

I found it really interesting that the ideas for one key aspect of Hubspot’s culture — their original perks and programs — didn’t come from decision makers in the company. Rather, they all came directly from the employees through ENPS feedback.

Hubspot has HEART

One aspect of Hubspot’s work environment is explained in the company’s Culture Code, written by founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah.

At Hubspot, HEART stands for:

  • Humble
  • Effective
  • Adaptable
  • Remarkable
  • Transparent

While these are all great keys of a workplace environment, I was really struck by how Hubspot embraces transparency.

Hubspot’s transparency means that long-form comments written by employees in their feedback surveys are posted internally for anyone at Hubspot to access. After redacting any personal names mentioned, all feedback results are posted. This means that upper management can’t turn a blind eye to issues employees are raising.


The CultureCast Podcast

Tamara Lilian, Manager of Culture & Experience at HubSpot

Investing in Employee Education

Tamara spelled out one key misconception some workers have about growth. It’s the idea that if there isn’t a pay raise or promotion, there’s no growth.

But in fact, Hubspot understands that even by learning something new, you have grown. Some of the suggestions given on the employee feedback forms have resulted in some great internal programs like these:


Hubspot’s masterclasses are taught by employees for employees. In that way, the company doesn’t pay anything for this benefit. Employees teach each other about any topic they’re skilled in: how to travel for free, how to frost a cupcake, or how to make the most of your credit card points.

Related: Building a Brainiac Team: Continuing Education Benefits at Work


Hubtalks are similar to masterclasses, just on a bigger scale. And in these cases, someone from outside the company comes in to be interviewed by a Hubspot leader. Employees can attend the interview to get insights from other leaders about all kinds of things.

Free Books Program

Hubspot’s book program is one of my favorite perks I’ve heard about at this company. In this program, when employees find a book they think could further their career or help to grow themselves professionally, Hubspot will buy it.


culturecast business podcast

Hubspot’s Best Fails

Hubspot is a company that includes failure in it’s Culture Code. As Tamara says, “We’d rather be failing frequently than never trying. Failing promotes success.”  This is a company that knows they can learn more from failures than from successes.

In fact, Hubspot has an official Failure Forum where employees can share stories of recent failures and listen to their colleagues doing the same.

Rather than feeling embarrassed or apprehensive, employees actually find these discussions comforting and they build a cohesiveness within the group. When employees are encouraged to try something even if it fails, it creates an innovative culture that wouldn’t exist if employees feared retribution for failure.

Want more resources on company culture? Check out our blog below:



Amelia Wilcox

Amelia Wilcox is the Founder and CEO of Nivati, a leader in corporate massage and employee mental health support since 2010. Her high-growth B2B company provides employee stress management tools that arm businesses with actionable data and positive employee experiences to improve wellbeing, boost morale, and increase engagement.

Amelia has exponentially grown her company from a solo living-room service business to an international technology brand.

Recently listed as a Forty Under 40, Fast 50, Inc 5000 Twice awarded National Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year

Licenses, Certifications & Memberships
Licensed Massage Therapist since 2002
Member of American Massage Therapy Association
Served on Utah Worksite Wellness Council from 2012-2015

Attended Utah College of Massage Therapy
Educated in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at the University of Utah

Massage Magazine (AMTA's publication)