Porter is a design and hospitality  company whose 3700 square foot headquarters, The Shop,  is an innovative, multi-program, street-level, space. It is hospitality-focused and completely open to the public, serving as a showroom, cafe and bar, a retail shop, a gathering space, and a co-working space.

Desiring to shift the lens of commercial space design and furniture buying away from corporate processes, Porter’s founders wanted to bring to life a space and client experience rooted in the organization’s culture and brand. “If you aren’t nurturing culture, it doesn’t matter that the brand is hip and the space is great,” noted Kathleen Selke, Co-Founder.

Porter engaged +One to co-create a strategy and practices for sustaining and  cultivating a workplace culture  that was inspiring, scalable, and uniquely Porter.

+One began its partnership with Porter by working with key stakeholders – both managers as well as employees representing a range of roles – to gain an understanding of the current culture as well.

Through two workshops facilitated by +One, the key stakeholders further defined Porter’s brand attributes and the practices and rituals to help employees translate brand attributes into a workplace culture through an aligned employee mindset and behaviors.

One brand attribute – radical hospitality – emerged as the organization’s true ethos. “We want everything we do to be approached through the lens of radical hospitality,” said Selke.

The adoption and long-term success required a plan that shaped specific ways of being – with clients and one another. “We dug deep into questions like ‘What does it look like to deliver radical hospitality to clients? To our ourselves and our teammates?’ And just as important, ‘What does radical hospitality not look like?’” said Client Experience Manager and Porter’s People and Culture lead, Matthew Marshall.

+One then drove the exploration into what was needed to turn ideas into action. A prioritization exercise then helped identify key steps and workstreams to gain and maintain momentum.

In just five years, Porter has grown from 9 employees in the Seattle area to 50+ employees throughout the U.S. Its culture of radical hospitality continues to serve as the critical point of connection and inspiration for employees and driver of success for the organization.

Employees are introduced to the concept of radical hospitality as part of the onboarding process. Time and space at every Town Hall are dedicated to gathering feedback about practices that are working well, as well as identifying opportunities for improvement.  Marshall commented, “The work we did with +One helped us not just define our culture but identify candidates and ultimately employees who were a natural fit to live and be successful within our culture.”  

Many other culture-building workstreams continue to gain traction and new ones have emerged organically. The “The Porter Way” project is in progress, which will set baselines for transforming brand attributes into cultural expectations that define how employees approach and act in certain situations. Career mapping of brand attributes into the performance management process has been integrated into next year’s annual review process. This transformational work has also had an impact on Porter’s employee engagement scores, with Porter ranking highest of all 12 of One Workplace businesses (One Workplace is Porter’s parent company).

New employees often share they come to Porter because of the culture. Says Selke, “Our employees are grounded in who they are and the culture they nurture. They belong to each other.”

Maya Angelou’s famous quote perfectly captures the ethos of its workplace culture, which has become a mantra for leadership and employees: 

“People aren’t going to remember what you said. They will remember how you made them feel.”


+One helped Porter find its footing, but Porter has found its way to making people and culture its key to success