Hotjar Core Values

Hotjar's culture is driven by respect, transparency, collaboration, and direct feedback. We have no room on our team for disrespect, office politics or discrimination of any kind. We're obsessed with communicating with our customers as well as with each other. We’re allergic to bureaucracy and slow-moving organizations – but we're suckers for well-defined and documented processes. We love lean, iterative improvements, and success is measured by the value we create for our users. Here are the core values we live by:

  1. Put our customers at the heart of everything
  2. Be bold and move fast
  3. Work with respect
  4. Build trust with transparency
  5. Challenge ourselves to grow

Learn more about how these values guide us in our work with the explanations and illustrative stories below.


1. Put our customers at the heart of everything

At Hotjar, we put our customers at the heart of everything we do. And by customers, we mean the people at organizations that rely on Hotjar for their day-to-day challenges. They care about value, so we care about delivering more value fast over being perfect. We choose progress over perfection.


We are not trying to make everyone happy. With thousands of customers, we prioritize for the many, knowing we cannot please all the people, all the time.
We build empathy with our customers, but we don’t rely only on our gut or have knee-jerk reactions. We don't let the most visible or loudest complaints distort our understanding. Instead, we use data, trends, and more representative qualitative insights to ground us.


We solve for our customers in a way that works for the business. We don’t undervalue ourselves or our work. We understand that revenue fuels progress.



 Highlight Stories

We take difficult product decisions

We don’t undervalue ourselves and our work

Switching to ‘Continuous Capture’ 

Price and packaging changes

Our ideal customers struggled to get ongoing value from Hotjar’s snapshot recordings. We redesigned the way the product works in a way that benefited the majority of our customers, whilst accepting it would have a negative impact on a few.

When changes to Hotjar’s pricing and allowances were proposed, concerns were raised that Hotjar's needs were being prioritized over those of our customers. The reality is that our pricing must continue to change and evolve. We must embrace these changes as a part of growing a sustainable business and we should not feel bad about them. Revenue is the fuel that allows us to deliver more value to our customers and advance our just cause.



2. Be bold and move fast

Caring about our customers means we make big bets fast. But time spent trying to think about what customers might want is time lost. Instead, we choose to put improvements in the hands of customers as quickly as possible.

We challenge the popular belief that taking time with each change is what leads to high quality. At Hotjar, the quality that comes from fast iteration is more important than the quality of one individual iteration.

We pursue big goals by prioritizing brilliantly, taking quick decisions, and delivering incremental change.

The faster we iterate, the better the quality of the product and service we provide. The more iterations we make, the more time these changes are in the hands of the customers. 


 Highlight Stories

We make big bets fast

We don’t hold off iterative improvements

Switching to BambooHR

Big releases that are not followed up on

As the Hotjar team grew we struggled with the different tools we used to manage leave, team directory, org chart, compensation history, and onboarding. The Hotjar ops team took a quick decision to switch suppliers. They were able to work with the business enablement squad to launch the first version of the tool in record time, with new features and improvements getting shipped almost every week.

In Hotjar’s history, there have been many times where we’ve made big changes (whether in the product, our process, etc) but did not follow these up with iterative improvements and feedback loops. Looking back this was due to a lack of ownership, commitment, or planning. We want to create an environment where we have big goals but we get there through many small iterations.


3. Work with respect

At Hotjar success is not measured in profits alone but rather in the contributions to all stakeholders; our team, customers, end-users, partners, the community, and the planet. 

We are honest, tolerant, and inclusive. We celebrate the uniqueness and strength found in diversity. We all commit to creating a safe working environment and are allies to those less privileged. 

We protect each other’s time as well as our own. We stay informed, but acknowledge that in a growing company we can’t follow everything. 

We trust each other to be accountable, reliable and learn from our mistakes. We have a ‘no assholes’ policy; we do not tolerate egos and workplace politics.


 Highlight Stories

We tackle difficult topics head-on 

We don’t let inefficiency slow us down 

Trump using Hotjar

‘Bad’ meetings and information overload

In 2020, we discovered via our community that the Trump merch store was using Hotjar. In that same year, we were highly engaged with the Black Lives Matter activities. We immediately talked to the community and the team on what was a delicate topic. We decided that what this politician stood for was at odds with our values – so we terminated the account.

It’s easy to fall into meetings and information overload. In the past, we found ourselves trying to stay on top of everything going on, as well as wasting a lot of time in meetings. To work together we should only have short meetings, with a few people, and clear agendas. We should stay informed, acknowledging we cannot be aware of everything. Nor can we engage in feedback on everything we’re interested in.


4. Build trust with transparency

We communicate with our team, customers, users, and end-users in a clear, timely, and open way. 

We do not shy away from crucial conversations. We give each other radically candid feedback and never wait to do so. We understand that this can feel uncomfortable. We agree that these conditions enable us to thrive and grow together - as individuals, as a team, and as a business. 

We have the courage to speak up and challenge each other. We do this in a proactive and respectful way. Asking questions or reaching out for help are acts of strength, not weakness.

We embrace the power of vulnerability and make time to build genuine connections with each other. When we have the courage to be vulnerable and open up with each other, we bring our most authentic selves to work. In doing so, we can live more fulfilling and happier lives.


 Highlight Stories

We are vulnerable with each other

We don’t avoid critical conversations

Personal ‘Lightning learning’

Performance reviews

Over the years, team members were courageous while sharing their personal stories of challenge and growth. Our ‘Lightning learning’ sessions covered personal adversity, mental health issues, and even a founder burning out. These sessions helped us come together and realize we can all learn from each other.

After 2 years of doing best-self reviews we realized that in the majority of reviews, team members were giving each other the highest scores. As a team, we must be willing to have difficult conversations with each other. If we choose the easy path (always being nice), we deny each other the opportunity to learn and grow. We can't build trust within our teams without radical candor.


5. Challenge ourselves to grow

We are brave, ambitious, and driven to be better every day. We celebrate results and we are always thinking about ways to grow and improve. We choose to grow because we believe in ourselves and our potential to do better.

We are curious and find joy in discovery, exploration, and seeking answers to the unknown. 

We are persistent with our goals and ambition. When we stall we think differently about our methods, and we don't give up. We create safe spaces to fail. We know that our mistakes do not define us, but rather guide and teach us.

We honor the past but we don’t seek to preserve it. As we grow, what works today will likely not work tomorrow. We challenge things as they are and welcome fast-paced change that meets our evolving needs. We understand that slow change leads to exhausted mediocrity.


 Highlight Stories

We think different

We don’t define people by their mistakes

Chapter days

Product releases that had issues

As the number of squads in Hotjar grew, clear technical ownership emerged, but also more silos. Between 2020 and 2021, many teams took the initiative to come together and collaborate on the challenges our product was facing. Together they worked on a common vision of how to improve and change Hotjar as a whole.

Many a time we release a product update that creates issues, problems, or incidents. Unfortunately, we see that some of these moments are held against teams and individuals. Instead, we want to create an environment where we ask "What went wrong? What was the impact? What did we learn for next time?” and then let the mistake live in the past.