Profile: Kim Jokisch of RedHat

Kim Jokisch

    Director of Employment Branding + Communications

    Illinois Wesleyan University

Kim Jokisch is the Director of Employment Branding + Communications at Red Hat, a global tech company that provides open source software to the enterprise. Kim sat down with CULTURE LABx to talk about how they keep their dynamic culture alive throughout 35 countries and engage their remote workforce.

“We grew up and out of an open source community and continue to work like one today.”

What’s your definition of company culture?

You can get academic with culture definitions, but what it really boils down to is “the way we do things around here.” It’s a combination of our values, our behavior, and how that behavior gets rewarded.


How is Red Hat’s culture different from other tech companies?

Red Hat grew up and out of the open source community and we continue to work like one today. We believe you can accomplish more in a community than you can on your own, so we’re constantly sharing new ideas and collaborating. We aim to be an inclusive meritocracy, where people are open to all ideas, regardless of someone’s title, and we think that the more people you have on a problem, the better the solution.

How do you portray life at Red Hat during the selection process?

We dissected our employee engagement survey and found four themes that describes what it’s like to work here from the eyes of our associates: purpose, passion, community, and opportunity. Together, these form our employer value proposition, which we share with potential job candidates to describe what life at Red Hat is like. It helps them decide if Red Hat is right for them. You can see more here:

Red Hat has been around since 1993, how do you keep a competitive edge on culture and hiring with all the new startups erupting?

Culture is our differentiator. We offer great benefits and amenities, but we don’t focus our conversations or marketing around that. We’re more about the work experience and less about the flashy perks. We have a number of programs in place to showcase and perpetuate our culture, too. One of my favorites is “The Show,” which is an internal video that happens each quarter. We have many associates and offices all over the world so we ask people to send in photos, videos, and stories to be featured in the video. Then, on “Show Day,” our offices have a party and watch The Show together, and our remotees can view from their home offices. It’s a fun tradition that keeps people engaged and connected to our growing company.

Over 25% of Red Hat employees are remote. How do you keep them engaged?

When we think of engagement, we consider all of the channels we have to connect people. We’re still very much an email culture. We have memo-list, a mailing list where anyone in the company can email the entire the company, and we feel that is a valuable way to give everyone a voice. We also have friday-list, which hosts a lot of humorous conversations and serves as a virtual water cooler for many of our associates. For our remotees, one year during We Are Red Hat Week, we set up a page where they could post a picture of themselves in their home offices or showing where they were traveling to or from. They hosted video chats with one another to get to know each other better. We also include our remotees in company celebrations. For example, to celebrate our billion dollar revenue milestone, we sent each of them a champagne glass so they could join in the global toast given by our CEO.

How do you measure if your culture is working?

We issue an employee survey and analyze YoY metrics to see which areas are doing well and what needs improvement. Then, we create and enhance programs to amplify the culture. For example, five years ago our new hire referral percentage was below 25%. So, we did some additional research and talked with people who had referred new hires. We worked with them to improve and publicize the referral program. Together we took the referral rate from under 25% to around 50%, where we are now. We found that by involving Red Hatters to help build the company’s talent pool, we could get many more qualified new hires through the door.