How Building Culture is Good for Companies
Tom: Hi Betsy, thanks for joining me today.
Betsy: I’m so happy to be here. Thanks for having me.
Tom: Let’s turn it around a little bit and let’s talk about how building a culture is good for companies. What is a way that a healthy culture is an indicator the business health of a company? How does that play out?
Betsy: One of the things we spend a lot of time talking about is the notion of an intentional culture. Companies that really think about that usually start with someone being the catalyst. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a CEO but someone in the organization really has to care about that and see that there’s a financial reason to participate in creating a culture that they’re proud of.
Tom: I love the phrasing of an intentional culture. I think that’s just a great phrase that you’ve come up with. One of the things I read into that is it’s an understanding how a values driven culture kind of sets the expectations for not just how the business runs but what are the behaviors that they look for or expect of their employees?
Betsy: Our solution is all about differentiating and helping a company to understand what their culture is and then communicating it out. The question is, how do you know that companies don’t just lie or get the culture badge? Actually, all of our questions are close ended, yes/no questions and the goal is to get away from these wide, broad ideas and actually really pinpoint what they invest in. When you talk about a values driven organization, family friendly is a very broad statement that we hear a lot. How do they invest in being family friendly? What does that look like? The employee handbook is great and it’s something you get when you’re already working there, but everything that you find in an employee handbook actually could be shared in a more transparent way so that someone really understands. How does this company invest in me as an employee?
Tom: The CEO doesn’t necessarily have to drive it but knowing that they’re backing it, supporting it and that there’s buy-in helps it cascade through an organization.
Betsy: It’s something that companies really haven’t had to do. I think that we’re still coming out of the area of classified ads. You had to be really sisynced and you had to say where the location of the business was and five important skills that the person had to have to be considered. That’s very, “This is what we need and we don’t care about what you need. We’re going to take care of you later.”
Betsy: That’s not the way that companies, like Google and Zappo’s, who’ve done such a good job really exporting and communicating their culture have jumped so far beyond that, that it’s not just the bullet points of what’s required to do the job. It’s who we are as an organization and would you like to join us.
Tom: I think it has to have a great effect on not just finding the right talent but the retention of that talent. When somebody’s happy in the environment they’re working in, they’re much more inclined to remain part of that.
Betsy: Certainly all these pieces all weave together. If a company has a shared value system with me, I will be more excited to not only apply for their jobs initially but also contribute to the success of the business.
Tom: Is it going beyond just the perks that a job position might have to offer?
Betsy: We talk a lot about going on the ping pong table to talk about what your organization is about. How they invest in the community. For example, millennials like to ride their bikes to work. What other green initiatives does the company support?
I read about a company recently that has a stipend that they pay their employees to ride their bikes. That also is part of their mission. They’re a green company. They want to support their employees that share that mission as well.
Tom: That mission is more than a plaque in the lobby of the company. It’s a behavior.
Betsy: Exactly. Yep.
Tom: Thank you.
Betsy: This is really fun.