How to Nurture Culture Within A Company
Tom: Thanks for joining me today, Betsy. As a company invests in its culture, and starts to promote the culture, and putting it out there to attract the right employees, what are some things that they need to think about to continue to nurture that? Are they done once they’ve defined it? How does that continue to live?
Betsy: Recently I went to a company where they had the values on the front door of the company, and I think that they thought they were done. Its just sort of, set it and forget it, and we know that these are the three adjectives that we all agree is who we are. Certainly companies that are mindful, and building an intentional culture, are going to want to revisit this, whether it’s through an employer engagement group that is the task force to think about what’s working, what’s not working. I think companies who invest in their culture and actually have a line item.
Zappos … they have a lot events because primarily their workforce are customer service – and customer service is hard. It’s usually hourly. Lessening the stress of taking customer calls, they have a lot of really fun events, they do a lot in social media to broadcast what those fun events are.
We actually worked with a CEO, not that long ago, and he believes in doing really fun events and great things. He loved The Good Jobs solution because he said: “All of my employees think I’m nuts. They think that there’s no business case for all these crazy celebrations that we do, and that we’re a wacky bunch, but I want them to understand that there’s a real return on investment. I don’t do this just to be a wacky, crazy CEO. I do this because I want people to feel like they’re excited to come to work. I know that what they’re doing is difficult, and I want to support them and give them the tools to alleviate their stress and make this a joyful, fun environment to work in. It’s important to me.”
He could see the direct correlation between retention and those kinds of wacky, crazy programs even before his employees asked for them. I think we hear the flip side of that more often where we hear employees not particularly liking where they work, and feeling their CEOs are a little bit out to lunch on how important it is to have a more fun, cohesive, connected workplace.
Tom: Fun is a behavior, something that does happen naturally. Even though it might be a wacky idea, if those things are happening consistently it’s just a behavior that becomes expected which it’s a manifestation of that culture coming to life, as opposed to the mandatory fun that might occur once or twice a year.
Betsy: Right, which is the scene from ‘Office Space’ where Milton has the piece of cake. Mandatory fun, we’ve all had those jobs.
Betsy: Yeah, “We’re having fun!”
Tom: So when we look at ways that culture is having the impact that it’s helping engage employees in a more meaningful way, it’s helping with retention. How does that, in turn, help the business and strengthen the business of a company?
Betsy: Basically we look at retention and the fact that people are understanding how the whole company works, the product line, which leads to better service to our customers, which leads to better profitability of the company. It’s absolutely one feeds into the other.
Tom: Then it comes right back around to understanding how you’re engaging your employees in supporting that. It becomes cyclical. Well, thank you!