Morgan Evans joined Etsy in 2009 as a Community Intern. She has since worked her way up through various community roles and into her current position as the Values and Impact Lead. She is essentially the master of all things related to building community inside and outside of Etsy.

Today, she shared with us a few key insights about the importance of building community from within a company.

Morgan shared her passionate belief that building community is about creating opportunities for genuine connection. Your company culture is informed by your community, and vice versa. Ideally, they are in constant conversation.

Company culture is, of course, just another way of saying “internal community.” Focusing on your company culture is not only a good starting point, but also integral to the long-term success of your organization. It starts from the inside and radiates out.

How does Etsy build company culture? They focus on 6 key areas:

  • Know your creation myth.
  • Strike a balance between tradition and reinvention.
  • Begin within.
  • Make your values tangible.
  • Break boundaries.
  • Show, don’t tell.

Etsy became so committed to their values, they even underwent a grueling audit to become a Certified B Corporation to show they are focused on social and environmental consciousness and transparency.

Morgan also cited several examples of things the company has done to show, not tell what they are all about. A few of my favorites were:

  1. A pop-up task force to keep the culture alive called the “Etsy Ministry of Unusual Business”
  2. A “first push” program to teach non-engineers how to code.
  3. “Love bombs” are random acts of kindness that employees can give out to each other and to sellers.
  4. An annual talent show is a creative way for employees to feel recognized and show value.
  5. Etsy offers a stipend for employees traveling over the holidays to host a small meet-up in their hometown.

There are dozens of other ways they work to break boundaries inside and outside of the company too. Morgan now works as part of their HR department to bake these activities into the company culture. As you navigate this world of community, it’s really important not just to talk about these things, but to actually do stuff.

Morgan leaves us with one final parting thought: “If you’re making mistakes and changing your strategy all the time, I believe you’re doing it right.” Amen to that.

You can now watch the full talk from CMX Summit:

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