Interesting Interview Of Phil Libin, CEO Evernote

Adam Bryan published a really interesting interview in the NYT of Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote, who has some interesting culture practices.  Read on!

Q. So tell me something about your culture.

A. We recently implemented something called Evernote Officer Training. I got this idea from a friend who served on a Trident nuclear submarine. He said that in order to be an officer on one of these subs, you have to know how to do everyone else’s job. Those skills are repeatedly trained and taught. And I remember thinking, “That’s really cool.”

So we implemented officer training at Evernote. The program is voluntary. If you sign up, we will randomly assign you to any other meeting. So pretty much anytime I have a meeting with anyone, or anyone else has a meeting with anyone, very often there is somebody else in there from a totally different department who’s in officer training. They’re there to absorb what we’re talking about. They’re not just spectators. They ask questions; they talk. My assistant runs it, and she won’t schedule any individual for more than two extra meetings a week. We don’t want this consuming too much of anybody’s time.

Q. Tell me about some other things you do.

A. We recently changed our vacation policy to give people unlimited vacation, so they can take as much time as they want, as long as they get their job done. If you want to take time off, talk to your team, but we’re still measuring you on the same thing, which is, did you accomplish something great? Frankly, we want to treat employees like adults, and we don’t want being in the office to seem like a punishment. We always try to ask whether a particular policy exists because it’s a default piece of corporate stupidity that everyone expects you to have, or does it actually help you accomplish something? And very often you realize that you don’t really know why you’re doing it this way, so we just stop doing it.

Q. Is the unlimited vacation policy working?

A. So far. We had to modify it slightly because one of the first things I started worrying about is whether people would actually take less vacation. I don’t want people not to take any vacation because that’s just bad for them, and it’s bad for me. You’re not going to get a lot of work out of someone if they haven’t taken a vacation in a while. So we started rewarding people for taking at least a week at a time on a real trip by giving them $1,000 spending money. That seems to be going well.

Q. I can imagine.

A. Probably the thing that we do that people love the most, though, is housekeeping. If you work at Evernote, you get professional housecleaning twice a month.

Q. What gave you that idea?

A. We thought that we needed to get spouses and significant others on our side. I want the pressure from them to be, “You better not be thinking about leaving Evernote.” I don’t want the pressure to be, “Maybe you should think about going somewhere else?”

Read The Full article on New York Times

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