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Building a Culture of BElonging the Huntress Way


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Building a Culture of BElonging the Huntress Way

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Building a strong company culture is a journey without a final destination. It’s a blend of different factors—programs, decisions, collective experiences, and behaviors—all shaping who we are and what it’s like to work here. And let's face it, with a bunch of unique individuals coming together to build something great, there will always be variations and imperfections along the way. 

We’re a scrappy company, growing at lightning speed. The contributions of each teammate are essential every day. That’s why we’re so focused on creating an environment where teammates can bring their best selves, where authenticity thrives, and where diversity in thought, experiences, education, skill sets, and demographics propel the business forward. 

In this blog, I’ll dive deeper into what a BElonging culture means for me personally as a people leader and explain some of the actions we take at Huntress to embed these principles into everything we do. Beyond our own journey, I hope sharing this spurs ideas for others in building companies where everyone is valued, grows, and can do their best work.  

Like what you’re reading so far? Check out our career opportunities.

Why We’ve Built a Culture of BElonging 

At Huntress, BElonging is at the center of all we do—with "BE" representing the bull’s eye. BElonging is a unique feeling, a collective and consistent belief that you and everyone around you are part of this mission and are valued.

BE yourself
There’s no need to put on a façade with us. We're all on a path of self-discovery and growth.

That includes your real personality. For example, some companies value certain traits, like extraversion or agreeableness. But those traits don’t define all of us, and certainly not in all circumstances. Thank goodness they don’t. Huntress needs people who are outgoing and always ready to dive in. We also need people who think deeply on their own and move purposely. 

Earlier in my career, employees were encouraged to put on a corporate look and work persona. The corporate world rewarded people who “fit the mold.” This ranged from dress, to personality and language, all the way through to what we shared (mostly what we shouldn’t share) about our personal lives. Putting your "work mask" on Monday morning and biding time to take it off Friday afternoon, when you could really be yourself for a few days, was the norm. What a "lose/lose" scenario! Companies were losing the gift of diverse personalities, ways of thinking, characters, life experiences, and the list goes on. (Not to mention how boring this made the workplace.) And employees were not bringing their best to their work, focusing significant energy in learning how to show-up and pretending to be someone they were not.  

Huntress has taken a sledge hammer to this approach. We encourage our teammates to come as you are, share your stories, and learn and grow in our humanity.

BE the culture
It’s incumbent on every teammate to embody the BElonging pillars in their daily work. This is why “BE” is capitalized. Collectively, our decisions and behaviors are the most palpable expression of a culture. 

As unique individuals on a team, we can embody BElonging by what we do—and by what we won’t do. 

These boundaries help define Huntress’ culture. For instance, we won’t just follow the loudest voices in corporate culture-making. In our hyper-scaling business, traditional approaches are often not the best way to achieve our goals. 

We focus on holistic pillars that mean something to us.

Our Culture Pillars Shape Who We Are

Underlying the BElonging culture are the pillars of Humaneness, Equity, and Diversity. 


What it means at Huntress
We share our stories, learn from others, and grow our acceptance of others through empathy and compassion. 

What we do to BE about Humaneness
We offer space for teammates to harmonize their work and personal lives. The reality is these two components are integrated in all of our lives, not compartmentalized, especially at a remote company. So harmony is what we each seek.

We realize this integration will look different from person to person, so we establish core work and team routines, with flexibility in how, when, and where one works layered around those. These routines vary by team, as responsibilities and customer needs vary by role. We ask everyone to embrace the core routines required in their role to maximize collaboration and teaming. Outside of those, individuals are enabled to shape the rest of their work experience around their needs to maximize whole-life harmony. 

Flexibility has been a core tenant from the beginning. Our founders built the company from its launch in 2015 as remote-work only, well before most companies enabled work from home. Personally, I love that I don’t have to coax and cajole staff to return to an office. I have sympathy for the many HR leaders where this has become an essential part of their jobs. 

By trusting team members to be themselves, we create greater transparency, synergy, accountability, and innovation. 

Our Humaneness pillar also encourages people to speak up. Our BElonging Slack channel is full of threads where teammates vulnerably share personal victories and challenges. It’s a space where anyone can choose to share experiences, relate to each other, provide encouragement, and deepen trust. 

Additionally, we provide focused learning and celebration experiences. One example is we wanted to do more than offer boilerplate harassment training like many companies do; so we researched and found a modern, robust, multi-hour immersive online experience that all teammates engage in, focusing on respect and appreciation for each other and our differences. We periodically host a diverse slate of seminars on topics like mental health, bias, and commemorating cultural holidays. This enables teammates to open their minds, appreciate our differences, and continuously learn. At our all-company summits, rather than pack the agenda only with business strategy, we feature presenters on unique topics designed to surface new ways to practice authenticity. A popular one was with a former magician who has translated his skills into demonstrations reinforcing the "magic of human connection."

Huntress has also invested in a platform called BetterUp, which provides all teammates a multitude of learnings and one-on-one coaching on skills required in their personal and professional lives, and with whole-person care. 

The partnership with BetterUp is impressive to me. I’ve worked at several larger companies that have offered wellness and coaching programs. Typically one-on-one coaching is offered exclusively to the “higher ups.” Not here. Huntress has made a significant investment into Humaneness, prioritizing each teammate's well-being and fulfillment. 


What it means at Huntress
We strive to be just, impartial, and fair. We're diligent in monitoring hiring, pay, and promotion paths, and we take actions to prevent bias. 

What we do to BE about Equity
Our dedication to fostering BElonging is exemplified by our rigorous approach to equity. 

We intentionally design and monitor our recruitment and hiring processes to identify and overcome indicators of bias. Our goal is to attract a diverse slate of candidates and create circumstances where all candidates have an equal opportunity to show how they may provide value. 

These values continue to show in our dedication to compensation equity. Every teammate, regardless of level, receives stock options, enabling ownership rights and potential for additional compensation. 

We review merit-based promotions and salary adjustments regularly. Part of this practice involves scrutiny of pay levels and promotional paths across gender, race, and other factors to ensure there are no disparities. We ask leaders to proactively identify, consider, and address potential disparities, and we have a small committee that reviews this as well. When we find disparities that aren’t justified by differences in skillset or performance, we address them. 


What it means at Huntress
We value and seek a mix of backgrounds, demographics, characteristics, traits, beliefs, and perspectives. An eclectic team will be our key differentiator and driver of success!

What we do to BE about Diversity
Many companies put a very myopic lens on diversity. We work on building a diverse team that leverages what each other brings to the table, in a comprehensive and high-impact way. We prioritize multiple dimensions of diversity, beyond just gender or race. We value assorted “invisible traits” like neurotype, professional and academic backgrounds, sexual orientation, gender identity, personal experiences, and alternative learning to name a few. We work hard to go beyond what laws require, engaging in proactive dialogue with teammates who need special accommodations in their work to find solutions that work for both parties.

One example of action we took is making a substantial investment in tapping into sources that will expose talent from underrepresented groups to jobs at Huntress. In 2022, this investment led to a remarkable 375% increase in the diversity of our talent pipeline. 

A unique aspect of this Diversity pillar is it’s extremely multi-faceted, has evolving legal parameters, and evokes strong emotion and varying beliefs among some teammates. We work hard to listen, consider, and adjust our approach based upon input while realizing everyone won’t agree on exactly how to best drive and leverage a diverse team. 

An example of how this plays out is one time after sharing diversity statistics at a company meeting, we received very emphatic feedback from a teammate. The individual indicated they are a person of color and, when we share this data, it makes them feel like they got their job because of the color of their skin. They felt like sharing data could portray them as a “successful diversity statistic,” instead of representing hard-earned, merit-based career progression. Their message reminded us of the varying beliefs about how to communicate our diversity initiatives, including reinforcing that we're a meritocracy with hiring, reward, and promotion decisions being earned. 

Another takeaway is that I was extremely pleased that this person spoke up, which is precisely what our culture of BElonging promotes. Our commitment goes beyond numbers and focuses on actions and impacts. 

That said, I’ll reiterate what I stated above because we believe this in our heart and soul: an eclectic team will be our key differentiator and driver of success! This is why diversity in traits (visible and invisible), characteristics, and attributes is one of the three pillars upholding the BElonging culture. 

Curating a Culture of BElonging is a Forever Journey

Our commitment to BElonging is steadfast and remains at the epicenter of our culture. If you’d like to learn more about how we work together or apply for one of our open roles, be sure to visit Career Opportunities.

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