Polar’s Culture: How We Built The Foundation Of A Great Workplace

November 12, 2016

What is Culture?

At Polar, we deeply believe that culture is the foundation of our success. It pulls us together in times of adversity and keeps us grounded when we hit home runs. Culture is often the most important factor separating good companies from great ones. As an organization, we strive to be second-to-none when it comes to strengthening — and sustaining — a productive, welcoming and inclusive culture. As a team, because we acknowledge culture’s vitality, we are consistently devoted in our quest to improve and strengthen it.

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Culture is not a committee

We believe that no single individual holds the sole responsibility to ensure a great culture. It is a mutual responsibility that must be shared between the team. Too many organizations rely on their leadership teams to take action and give direction on culturally significant tasks. At Polar, our entire team is active in making suggestions and leading change. When we say entire team, we mean it. Regardless of your title or role—be it a co-op student or full-time executive—at Polar, everyone is equally important to the improvement of our culture.

Fearlessness is a great leveller

A lot of people appreciate this sentiment, but ask us, “How do you encourage people to actually feel like they’re in charge of culture?”

Our answer is simple: by fostering fearlessness and encouraging awareness. Part of having a great culture means feeling included in all conversations, whether they are related to product and company strategy, or the type of coffee maker we want to buy. A culture of inclusivity necessitates that all team members feel like their voice and opinions matter. This means people need to feel comfortable speaking their mind around the entire team, which is best initiated by encouraging everyone on the team to be fearless.

A team that is fearless will always have culture on its mind. And better yet, a fearless team will never cease to show leadership to improve and strengthen culture.

Culture ≠ perks

Perks are great, and there are many at Polar. However, they’re a very small part of what makes a company culture great. When people achieve an “immunity” to perks, they always go back to the fundamentals. I’ve noticed that most people on our team care relatively little about perks and substantially more about other elements of their work life.

How do you really feel about the work you do? How well do you get along with your colleagues? Do you feel appreciated and rewarded for your efforts? Do you have the necessary autonomy to be successful in your role? Do you feel that you’re listened to and that you can comfortably voice your concerns?

These are a few of the many questions to ask when assessing culture, not the length of a company’s list of perks.

Awareness is the ultimate tool

We believe awareness is the answer to almost everything. Sound a bit dramatic? Well, let Kunal briefly walk you through why awareness, at a fundamental level, is so critical:

“When you become aware that someone around you needs help, it could be as trivial as someone who’s unknowingly dropped something, you (without thinking) take action. Or if you’re with a friend who’s struggling with an issue, you naturally start to try and help them solve the problem with them. Or once you become aware that you’re hungry, you automatically start to plan out your next meal.

Without awareness, it is difficult to navigate a world that is constantly changing.”

If that sparked some interest, you should read Kunal’s memo to our team, on why awareness is so important and how we tactically and practically implement it here at Polar.


Transparency. Balance. Impact. These are a few of the many descriptors that come to mind when I think about Polar’s culture. It’s humbling to come to work everyday knowing that you’re working alongside incredibly caring and genuine people. I am incredibly proud of our team’s collective efforts in improving and strengthening what I think is one of the best cultures any organization can ask for.


Join Us

If you’re interested in solving challenging problems for some of the world’s leading publishing companies, while also getting to work with a world-class team that is fun, caring, and nimble, then consider applying to Polar. You can view our open positions at: www.polar.me/careers

Don’t see a role you’re interested in? No problem. Get in touch and please let us how you’d like to make an impact at Polar: afraj@polar.me

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