Manya Ellenberg, our VP of People, shares the reasons why she joined Hyperscience and the collaborative, iterative approach she and Peter Brodsky, our CEO & Co-Founder, took to establish our company values.
Two things really brought me to Hyperscience, the first being the people. I was incredibly impressed with Peter and everyone that I met during my interview process. The people at Hyperscience are bright and kind and thoughtful. They take their work seriously, but themselves not too seriously, and not only do they challenge me and how I think about my work and how I want to approach challenges, but they also give me a good laugh every day. And I was – and remain – incredibly excited about building and growing the People function here. I was the company’s first full-time, dedicated People person, which was a rare opportunity to build out this critical function from scratch.
Prior to my onboarding, the values in place weren’t fully encompassing the vision Peter had for the culture – and future – of Hyperscience. At its founding, Hyperscience had four total employees, three of whom were founders, so there wasn’t a need to be explicit and define what the company is. By the time I joined, we were at 70 people, which is the size where cracks can begin to appear. We knew we wanted to revisit the values we’d loosely articulated, especially as we were building out our People team and growing quickly, but we also knew we wanted to establish values that really framed our culture and helped guide us in day-to-day decision-making. A lot of times companies put values up that they don’t believe in or live daily, which was the opposite of what we were trying to achieve.
An Iterative Process
The process of recreating our values was very bottom-up. We started by gathering feedback from employees on what they thought the Hyperscience values were and what they thought they should be. Once we collected this input from the team, Peter and I sat down and bulleted out ideas. We looked at – and listened to – the culture that we wanted to nurture and also the areas that needed more attention and care across the organization. This took the better part of a year, and it involved folks across the organization as well as the leadership team.
We have work to do in terms of living them daily, but as we build out more programs on the People Operations side, we continue to look to our values as guides for how to develop these processes, as well as how to acknowledge and reward team members living them thoughtfully. When it comes to hiring decisions, we ask all our interviewers to consider our values when assessing candidates. I also lead an onboarding session during which I introduce new hires to our values and give them examples of how we live them day-to-day.
Living Our Values Every Day
My favorite Hyperscience value is “Ambition pairs best with humility” because I think it captures who we are and the type of people that we attract here at Hyperscience. We don’t shy away from the difficult; we’re constantly solving challenging problems for our customers and their customers. But there are no egos here, and no task is too small in terms of helping advance our mission and the work that we do. Our open-mindedness and humility are our competitive advantages. If we continue to remain humble and help each other out, that is how we are going to move mountains together.
Work-life symbiosis is another important value for me, and it was another one of the reasons I was excited about joining Hyperscience. You can be yourself at this company, and for me, that means making time for the things that I want to do to take care of my family while also taking care of the people of Hyperscience.
Between 5:00 and 8:00 pm I’m generally offline, which is something my colleagues know and respect. Occasionally this means going back online after putting my daughter to sleep to take care of some emails, or that I’ll start my day a little bit earlier, but having that flexibility is incredibly important. Start-ups have a bit of a reputation of demanding your whole self and nothing less. At Hyperscience, we have bright, ambitious, talented people who are tackling big and bold problems, but the company also respects our personal and family lives.
As we continue to grow and scale, these values will set the tone for our next phase.
If you’re interested in joining a values-driven company, connect with me on LinkedIn or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. We have a variety of open roles across our New York City, Sofia, London and remote offices.