BLABLACAR KNOWS that people tend to be more motivated when the ambience at work feels right and makes them happy. Over the company has been busy building such a working environment that inspires and delights. With a unique “Fun & Serious” attitude, the teams at BlaBlaCar take their job seriously, yet at the same time, they know how to bring the fun.
The “Fun & Serious” value can be likened to that of yin and yang. Two halves with complementary forces that are interdependent upon each other, the fun and serious mentalities complete each other. Each person becomes motivated by combining the pride of delivering quality with the happiness of achieving things in an optimistic and fun way.
Inside BlaBlaCar’s Fun & Serious culture
In the heart of Paris sits BlaBlaCar’s headquarters with its bright spaces, contemporary architecture and open plan seating. Besides leading the development of BlaBlaCar’s technical solution, Co-founder and CTO Francis Nappez spent months trying to find an office that would make employees happy and excited to come to work. Together with the rest of the team, they have created an inspirational hub. Old school desks and industrial lights sourced from Parisian second hand stores fused with neon Fatboys offer zen spaces for employees to have informal meetings and hang out with each other. With foosball machines and ping pong tables, taking a regular break is encouraged. One team gets together for 15 mins every Friday afternoon to practice their hula-hoop skills whilst other teams take part in nerf gun battles. It’s not surprising to walk by a department and see someone hashing out some serious work whilst wearing a pirate’s hat or a banana costume for no apparent reason. A group of colleagues have even signed up for a fitness revolution and motivate each other to go to the in-house gym during lunch.
Values replace processes in a fast-paced environment
As BlaBlaCar grows in size and geographical footprint, the biggest challenge is to retain this dynamic start-up culture. In 2013, the founders felt the need to formulate BlaBlaCar’s values and thought the ideal place to do this would be during the first ever BlaBlaBreak, a three day ski-trip in the French Alps, with all 60 employees at the time. With the help of Jean-Bernard, an INSEAD business school classmate of Fred and Nicolas, the team split into 7 groups and together they tried to vocalize the top three things which BlaBlaCar’s culture embodies and which motivates everyone and keeps people passionate. Soon after all these thoughts were transformed into the 10 values which are now the driving force behind BlaBlaCar’s company culture. In building out the list of values together, they created real, personal values. To this day, it’s still reflective of the people-powered brand that they are and continues to shape more than 550 employees’ day-to-day activities.
BlaBlaCar Values are proudly written on the walls of the offices, distributed as stickers for laptops and mobiles, and are at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Most of the 10 values are used internally by teams at least once a day. They act as a compass and help guide the teams into making the right decisions when there is no established process in place. In a startup, these situations pop up every day, if not every hour. By referring to the values, decisions can be taken which fit best with what a common meeting would have decided, and therefore keeps the overall direction of the brand in check.
At BlaBlaCar, values take precedence over processes, showing the team the “why” but leaving the “how” up to them. This brings more autonomy and responsibility to each employee, and allows team members to grow with consistency. The values are part of BlaBlaCar’s DNA, and DNA doesn’t change. When hiring new talent, the team make sure to select those who will continue to cherish the established culture. Together, everyone strives to keep BlaBlaCar Fun & Serious.
How did the team decide BlaBlaCar as the brand name? Read here.