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Aceable's Lunch Program Fuels Their High Growth Culture

October 25, 2018

For such a young company, Aceable certainly has no shortage of traditions. The organization’s leadership team has always encouraged unique ways to celebrate personal and professional milestones. There are clothing giveaways for employment anniversaries, stories shared and collected to the theme of perseverance on the employee portal, and even a few — honestly, more than a few — photoshopped posters that regularly find their way into company meeting rooms. But few traditions are as integral to the success of the organization as the weekly Sifted lunches, an opportunity for employees to help shape the culture of transparency and collaboration that keeps Aceable among Austin’s best places to work.

From the beginning, Aceable's founders believed that a strong company culture was important. At just 55 employees, the company implemented an employee lunch program to bring the team closer together and provide time to share ideas, conversations, and a great meal. Since then, Aceable has grown to more than 100 employees, and weekly lunches are still a favorite culture benefit among Aceable team members old and new.

Growth is the goal for any startup, but as Aceable has grown to more than 100 employees, the company’s weekly catered Sifted lunch has played an important role in keeping people connected across departmental lines. Even as teams expand and new levels of leadership are added to the various functions, every Thursday, the team can break literal bread and come together to share their ideas and experiences with one another. It’s not uncommon to see the Vice President of Product discussing weekend plans with a marketing intern or the Chief Financial Officer comparing home improvement projects with a member of the Customer Experience team. Good food and good conversation are the company’s greatest equalizers.

“It’s a great opportunity to socialize with your coworkers at lunch if you do not sit near them or have different schedules,” explains Melissa DeJong, Aceable’s incoming Office Operations Manager. Even with countless new systems and best practices to learn, DeJong was immediately struck by the key role Sifted lunches played in the corporate culture, including creating opportunities for people with dietary restrictions to not feel left out by the shared lunch experience. “Providing gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan options also gives the opportunity for coworkers with different dietary restrictions who may have trouble finding common places to eat during the week to sit down and have lunch together.”

Aceable also uses Thursdays as an opportunity for more inward-facing teams to report out on their projects with the company as a whole. Once every two weeks, the development team will update the rest of the company on improvements being made to the desktop and mobile versions of its courses. This goes deeper than just the list of updates you can find in a new release; here the team is presented with an opportunity to share the solutions and the problems, giving the company insight into why one specific bug or content refresh was prioritized over other projects. It’s a degree of transparency not often found in larger companies, and one that Aceable hopes it can maintain as it grows.

But these lunch sessions are not reserved solely for organizational updates. Aceable also uses Sifted to cater its biweekly Lunch and Learn sessions, a series of employee-led workshops designed to highlight the extracurricular interests of the team. Here team members can share what keeps them motivated outside the office; past Lunch and Learn volunteers have taught their coworkers everything from the importance of proper recycling techniques to the fascinating history of localized urban planning. Plus, they give employees an opportunity to feel seen by their colleagues.

“I chose to give my coworkers a peek into my previous life as a writer and illustrator in the greeting card industry,” says Content Specialist Michael Rhoda. “I believe this experience has served to accelerate my assimilation into the workplace and has revealed common ground with my younger coworkers where I did not previously think it existed.”

For all these reasons, the Sifted experience has become an integral part of Aceable’s culture. It’s often said that the family that eats together stays together; if Aceable has its way, this weekly meal will be an important family tradition for a long time to come.

Austin-based Aceable provides mobile-first education solutions for aspiring drivers and people looking to get their real estate license online.

Aceable Content Creator, Amanda Hagley

Guest Blogger: Amanda Hagley

Content Creator at Aceable