New!Schedule Threads!Threads scheduling has arrived!Threads scheduling has arrived on Buffer! Find your community now.Threads scheduling has arrived on Buffer! Find your community and keep the conversation going.Learn more

The Secret Recipe of Great Work Culture: An Interview with Jacob Shriar of OfficeVibe

Jul 5, 2016 4 min readPodcasts
Photo of Courtney Seiter
Courtney Seiter

Former Director of People @ Buffer

When you think about your coworkers, ask yourself: How many of them are happy?

Who’s frustrated? Unchallenged? Looking for another job on the side?

How do you gauge employee happiness, anyway, or turn what you learn into action?

At Buffer, we’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with the employee engagement tools from OfficeVibe. Our friendly Slack bot (more on him later) asks teammates 5 questions each week, right from Slack, about how things are going at work.

Leo OfficeVibe

For some reason, it’s surprisingly liberating to talk to a bot about work. ?

The feedback is collected in real time for our People team, and we get an overview of how folks are feeling at Buffer and the areas where we can make improvements.

It was neat to learn the story behind OfficeVibe in this week’s CultureLab podcast, where I had the chance to chat with their Director of Content, Jacob Shriar.

The company has a deliberate focus on employee happiness—not just in their own team but for all teams, everywhere.

“We want you to be happy at work and at home so you can bring your best self to work,” Jacob shared about the culture that feels different to him than any other job.


In the course of researching and writing about company culture for OfficeVibe, Jacob has had the opportunity to interview tons of exemplary organizations and ask great questions about their culture and how they got there. Along the way, he’s discovered the common themes that healthy cultures most often share—and the secret pitfalls that can challenge cultures on their way to greatness.

In this CultureLab interview, he shares the secret recipe for incredible work culture.

jacob shriar

Plus: Carolyn and I chat about getting healthy about feedback and I tell the most embarrassing story ever!

What you’ll learn from this episode:

  • How to view feedback in a healthy, positive light
  • When to share written feedback and when to talk in person
  • The words and phrases that help you give feedback effectively
  • Why we stopped our transparent feedback experiment at Buffer
  • How OfficeVibe helps companies measure employee happiness
  • What exceptional office cultures do differently
  • The right questions to ask employees to gauge workplace happiness
  • What the cultures of Netflix, Zappos, Rackspace, and Dale Carnegie have in common
  • The one element standing in the way of a healthy work culture
  • The power of feedback
  • The positive impact of Millennials and Generation Z on the workplace
  • The best office perk for workplace satisfaction

Stuff we talk about in this episode:

Leo the Slackbot

Notable moments

  • 1:56: “I cried and then I quit”
  • 4:13: She hates me now
  • 4:46: If you’re not rooting for the person, you don’t give feedback
  • 9:17: The transparent feedback experiment
  • 15:00: Everyone deserves to be happy at work
  • 17:52: Your authentic self
  • 18:27: Autonomy, transparency, respect
  • 21:05: How do you feel when you come to work Monday morning?
  • 23:23: We’ve always wondered what they would say…
  • 24:11: More fruit in the kitchen
  • 26:40: How Leo the Slackbot got his name
  • 29:00: The recipe for building an incredible culture
  • 31:02: A hidden feeling of fear
  • 34:35: 3 things about Millennials
  • 38:11: What perk is the best?
  • 39:36: “I achieved my dream at 18”
  • 41:13: Jacob’s secret dream
  • 41:43: Close to 100 tabs open at any time

Get in touch!

Get all our episodes automatically

Ready to subscribe and get all our new episodes automatically? We’ve got ya covered!

If you’re an iTunes listener, click below to find and subscribe. If you’re feeling up to it, we’d really love your ratings and review!

subscribe on itunes

If Google Play is more your style, you can find a link here to find and subscribe. We’d really love it if you’d be keen to share it with anyone who might find it helpful!

google play subscribe

You can also listen in these wonderful ways:

Over to you!

How do you measure happiness and job satisfaction on your team? Do you have any tips for giving or receiving feedback? (You probably did a better job of receiving it than Courtney did.) We’d love to hear from you in the comments or at!

Brought to you by

Try Buffer for free

140,000+ small businesses like yours use Buffer to build their brand on social media every month

Get started now

Related Articles

best podcasts
FlowFeb 14, 2024
20+ Podcasts You’ll Want in Your Feed in 2024

Check out the 25 best podcasts for creators, marketers, small business owners and anyone looking to up their social media.

podcast creator
FlowOct 5, 2023
Here’s How This Creator Has A #1 Podcast While Working Full Time (At Buffer)

In this article, we dive into podcaster and Bufferoo Phill Agnew's strategies that can help you grow an engaged audience, no matter the format.

Why Damian Fagon Wants More Black People to Become Cannabis Farmers

Damian shares his journey from hemp farmer, to teacher, to business accelerator leader, and the economics behind why he focuses so hard on encouraging people to become hemp farmers.

140,000+ people like you use Buffer to build their brand on social media every month