Why We’re “Knitting” at Square Root
APRIL 18, 2017
Square Root has an incredibly unique culture. For example, part of my job is to help make our office feel like home and I plan events where Radical’s parents, children, aunts, uncles, and dogs are all invited over to our office for a day of relaxing fun! In addition, I have a training budget that gives me the opportunity to take weekly guitar lessons, and the flexibility to take three weeks off to explore national parks. I could go on, but you get the idea. We understand the value of investing in individuals, which is why I’m able tell you about a new program we launched called “knitting.”
“Our takeaways were that something great can come out of being vulnerable with each other, and being creative doesn’t mean you have to be an expert in your craft.”
The general idea is that each employee at Square Root is unique. Each Radical has his or her own interests/skills outside of work and there is a lot to be gained from teaching others your craft. The team at Etsy would dedicate time to spotlight one employee and allow him or her to give a presentation on the skill of their choosing. It could be joke telling, playing guitar, writing workshops, or anything else under the sun. They saw this as a way to knit together various talents to create a more cohesive and tightly bonded team. Our takeaways were that something great can come out of being vulnerable with each other, and being creative doesn’t mean you have to be an expert in your craft.
We were so eager to try this out with our team. In the past, we implemented cross-team lunches in an effort to solve cross-team collaboration hiccups. However, we found there wasn’t enough structure and Radicals wanted to stay working at their desks. “Knitting” was the perfect solution.
To get this started I targeted one specific Radical, Austin, who I knew was multi-talented and an excellent teacher (he can rock climb like nobody’s business). He agreed to show off his knowledge of various whiskeys by organizing a blind whiskey tasting for our office. Guess what? The team loved it and so we kept going.
This month Annie, an engineer, told us all about what it’s like to foster dogs and how to get involved with rescue organizations in Austin. Not only was our team excited to learn something new, they felt that this investment in individual skills made us an even better place to work. I received more than 30 thumbs up after polling the team on whether or not adding this program made us a better place to work. Seriously, a record! So, I’d say it’s going to stick around!
The team is so excited, that we have booked “knitting” sessions through June! Over the coming months, we will learn how to solve a rubik’s cube blindfolded, get a crash course in writing our own poetry, and even an introduction to blacksmithing!
Walking into my living room office gives me the warm and fuzzies every morning. “Knitting” is a great example of how Square Root invests in individual skills and accomplishments. I always knew our team was full of unicorns, but I didn’t realize just how unique each one of them were until now. This program has taught us that providing a work environment where employees can express themselves creatively only leads to stronger relationships and better cross-team collaboration. This encouragement to bring my whole self to work each day is what gets me up in the morning.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Emily is our office wizard. As a member of our Ops and HR team, she manages everything from our large-scale events to finding more space for our ever-growing team. A self-proclaimed problem solver, she considers her area of expertise to be tackling challenges, which is why she loves working in our unique environment. Professionally, she specializes in large-scale event planning and making our culture great. Outside of Square Root, she’s an avid adventurer. She went skydiving with her dad when he turned 50, is passionate about long-distance running, rock climbing, yoga, and hanging with her pup, Imogene. She’s also a singer and recently took up guitar. Emily holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Relations and Global Studies from the University of Texas at Austin.