What Culture Looks Like at Unbabel

November 18, 2021

As experts in languages and cultural nuances, we get asked this question often: What does culture mean to our company? And in short, it means a hell of a lot! Positioned alongside all other employee benefits we leverage our culture to define Unbabel at its core by allowing it to speak on behalf of our standard for maintaining an ethical and enthusiastic work environment where people show up as themselves in order to get their best work done. Here’s a quick recap of how the People team at Unbabel brought the global team together in Q3.

Last quarter, the Unbabel team celebrated the end of isolation with several successful in person events:

  • We enjoyed a week-long company retreat that brought together Unbabelers from every part of the world.

  • We launched a flexible work model that combines the best parts of remote work and office culture in a way that works for our team. 

  • We established new channels through which our CEO could communicate with every new member of the organization.

We as the People team at Unbabel have remained focused on providing support to every Unbabeler in every capacity. Here’s everything we accomplished in Q3.

A new hybrid work model

Here at Unbabel, we’re on a mission to build the world’s translation layer. We dream that, one day, there will be no language barriers, and businesses will be able to communicate with their customers in any language. As we persevere toward such ambitious goals, we’ve cultivated flexibility and resourcefulness as our key strengths. The pandemic brought lockdowns, Zoom fatigue, and other challenges, but we’ve emerged stronger than ever by introducing a hybrid work model that would help everyone do their best no matter their circumstances. 

In order to understand what the future of work would look like at Unbabel, we considered a variety of factors, including

  • What Unbabelers want

  • The Unbabel culture

  • Attracting the best talent

We reevaluated everything from our technology stack to how we communicate and build together, while still keeping our culture alive. Our new hybrid work model is an ever-evolving, flexible system that helps our team work from wherever they feel most driven — it could be one of our hubs around the world or the comfort of their own home. 

Togetherness, Unbabel-style

In October, we brought Unbabelers from every hub — Lisbon, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, New York, Berlin, and London — together for our week-long annual company-wide retreat in Lisbon. During the action-packed week, we all took the opportunity to spend time with each other in person, enjoy fun activities that brought us closer, and simply celebrate being Unbabelers. This was a great way to transition from remote virtual meetings in order to forge in-person relationships. 

From a culture perspective, this year’s retreat was a natural extension of our hybrid work model in action. It was exactly what the team needed to re-connect and appreciate one another for all that we’ve accomplished together before being head down focused on delivering throughout the remainder of the year. 

From recognizing our most enterprising members with Unbabel Awards to participating in the company-wide color war or costume party, the retreat had something for everyone. We left with spectacular memories — and a real understanding of the intrinsic value of an in-person culture. 

Unbabelers love a good theme party

A celebration of color in Nazaré

Unbabelers reported a 98% satisfaction rate in the post-retreat survey, so you can only imagine all of the good fun that was had! 

Vasco and Daniela onstage at the Web Summit 2021

Unbabel made quite a splash at the Web Summit 2021, with several Unbabelers sharing their knowledge on Responsible AI and much more. We believe that a team that creates together, wins together, and we drove this home by celebrating with a memorable party hosted at Unbabel’s Lisbon office to congratulate the speakers and celebrate the event. 

With inclusivity, trust-building, and quality time at the core of everything we do here at Unbabel we remain committed to reinforcing the core values that keep our culture intact by having our CEO and Co-Founder, Vasco Pedro, travel to almost every Unbabel hub. From London to San Francisco, Vasco uses his visits as an opportunity to meet with every Unbabeler face-to-face in order to remain in contact with the palpable sense of community we have established across as a global team. 

Team dinner with Vasco in London 

Surf-lesson in San Francisco 

Coming up in Q4

With the retreat in the rear view, we’ve set a high bar for our future in-person events. We’re excited that we’ll have more occasions to get together this quarter to close out the year. 

A quick sneak peek:

  • An upcoming offsite in New York for the East Coast Unbabelers

  • Christmas party, Secret Santa, and other fun activities at our San Francisco hub

As we wrap up 2021, we’re thankful for our distributed, diverse, skilled team. We can’t wait to finish this quarter on a high note and see what 2022 has to offer.


About the Author

Profile Photo of Leah Buccellato
Leah Buccellato

Leah Bucellato is Chief People Officer at Unbabel, where she oversees the onboarding, engagement and development of people across the global organization. She is a commercial HR professional with 14+ years of proven experience working for some of the most recognised and awarded creative, media, and tech companies. Prior to Unbabel, Leah helped Media Art Lab (MAL), the creative advertising agency for Apple, grow their London office from 20 to 200 people, and managed the Italy, Spain, and France offices. She led the implementation of the HR function, and set up processes for recruitment, induction, retention, benefits, and employee relations at App Business, a specialist app software company. Additionally, she led the HR team and created the global HR strategy for BBH, the global advertising agency that produced campaigns for top brands, including Audi, Axe, Google, and Virgin.