At District-based tech start-up Social Tables, chief executive Dan Berger believes workplace culture is as important as the product: a software service for event planners, including seating charts and catering.
The 45-person company is looking for a “vice president of people.” Social Tables plans to hire about 15 employees by the end of 2014, and recently raised $8 million in venture funding.
This the first time Social Tables has searched outside the company to fill an executive position, said Berger, who spoke with Capital Business about the new role. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
What are you looking for in a candidate?
While I can answer some of the things I know we’re looking for, the harder part is looking for what we don’t know we need.
It is not the standard [human resources] role. It is not administrative, probably at all. It’s essentially a culture position — so it’s “How do you scale our current culture, which we’re really proud of, and make it even better and make it sustainable and grow?”
How would you describe the workplace culture?
It starts out with our core values. Of the ones that are my favorite, the first is to be “customer-centric.” We focus on the people we serve. [Another ] is “be outrageous.” People have a tendency to leave their personality at home when they get to work, and that’s a thing we don’t encourage ... the line is, be “a little weird, and always fun.”
[Another core value] is “every day is a school day.” When it comes to professional development ... we’re constantly trying to become better [people] at work.
What benefits will Social Tables provide?
Quite frankly, you’re not going to make as much money at Social Tables as you will elsewhere ... in fact we’ll probably pay way below market. [But] the compensation package includes equity — every single employee at the company has an equity stake and so people have shares in the company and can grow from its success. [And we offer] an opportunity to learn and be pushed further than you’ve ever been pushed before, even if you’re a seasoned executive.