No one dominates the Vancouver tech scene quite like Hootsuite. Inside of a decade, this social media underdog has established itself as the leader in social media management with more than 15 million global users.
Hootsuite is a platform for managing social media accounts used by individuals, brands, and Fortune 500 companies. It supports integrations with hundreds of social media, content, and digital marketing platforms.
The company was cofounded in 2008 by CEO Ryan Holmes under the original name Brightkit. At that time Holmes was at Invoke Media, a company which he also founded in 2000. He was looking for a way to better manage their clients’ multiple Twitter profiles and accounts. In just one year Hootsuite had over 200,000 users and spun off into its own company—a giant all on its own and now an anchor of the Vancouver tech scene.
The company nearly 1,000 employees (aptly referred to as “Owls”) are spread across the globe with offices in Toronto, San Francisco, London, Paris, Hamburg, Bucharest, Singapore, and Sydney. The headquarters is firmly rooted in Vancouver, spread across three buildings where more than 500 people working on development, marketing, sales and operations teams.
The offices, designed by Three By Nine, are decidedly West Coast with aesthetics as local as one could ask for. Complete with cozy wood cabins, flannel sofas and a dog at a every third desk, the space is intended to directly represent of the company values of openness, transparency, collaboration.
Even Hootsuite understands that open-concept isn’t for everyone, which is why they offer break-out rooms, canvas tents and even a mock out-house where you can find solitude. A decidedly unique feature is the quiet room equipped with workstations and couch-pods reserved solely for silent work.
The offices are in the Vancouver neighborhood Mount Pleasant (or the “Owl District,” depending on who you ask). Neighbors include a host of independent cafes and restaurants proudly representing Vancouver’s unique diversity. With these options close by it becomes common place to see your colleagues, even when dining out.
Internally, the Hootsuite teams enjoy access to beautifully designed kitchens stocked with organic fruit, snacks and coffee. There are also several self-organized lunch clubs of five or 10 people who take turns providing meals for the group.
The company culture is built on a foundation of commonly held values, displayed proudly on every job board listing:
Lead with Humility, Grit in all we do, Build a better way, and Passion for Customer Success – Hootsuite Core Values
These reinforce the business focus and shapes the company culture which is lead almost entirely by the employees themselves. Social causes, sports teams, and fitness classes are all staff initiatives that have become central to the Hootsuite experience.
Hootsuite attributes this to the diversity that organically built into the office culture and supports it at every turn. The office frequently plays host to local not-for-profits, offering whatever it can to help.
The Hootsuite offices were acquired over time to accommodate their impressive growth, but the design concept still flows consistently through each. The influence is quintessential Pacific Northwest, feeling more like a mountain retreat than an office, and intentionally so.
A welcoming variety of wood, steel and organic materials are used throughout the office including their miniature Whistler Village. This cluster of cabin-style meeting rooms haphazardly surrounds a chalet kitchen, and is inspired by the infamous resort town two hours outside of the city.
Catch up on emails in the lowered fireside lounge complete with beanbag chairs and antler-chandeliers.
Murals are also hard to miss in this office, many having been created by staffers themselves. These murals have made their way into every global office and have become central to Hootsuite’s internal brand.
Combining the high ceilings, big windows, and open-concept rooms, one gets a strong sentiment of the west coast lifestyle that draws so many to Vancouver. When you replace cubicles with mountain lodges, it suddenly doesn’t feel so much like work.
Make no mistake – it takes a lot of hard work to grow a business like Hootsuite. Despite a relaxing atmosphere, hard work is a highly held value and rewarded by well-earned perks.
A gym, yoga studio and nap room are all available for staffers to break a sweat or de-stress. A rooftop green space offers spectacular views of Vancouver mountains, fresh mountain air and is home to the garden club’s latest crop.
Each week the three offices come together for Open Tap Friday’s where a selection of local brews and wine is served alongside foosball and ping pong.
Twice annually, the Owls from across the globe land in Vancouver for the “Hoot Holiday.” Each year is a little different but can include the best that British Columbia has to offer: Camping, fine dining, dancing and hiking offering this global tech team a chance to celebrate wins and prepare for the next big push.
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