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How 10 Tech Leaders Built Unstoppable Company Cultures
Do you know the #1 reason why people take a job at a tech company? Company culture. It’s also the number one reason why people quit their job at a tech company. We spend a third of our waking hours at work… So why not work with people you love? Company culture isn’t just important for employees, it’s important for the company’s bottom line too. Research from Gallup shows that companies that prioritize culture have 60% lower turnover, 10% happier customers, and have 20% more sales.
Good company culture is good for business. Our team asked tech leaders from around the Powderkeg community to get their perspective on company culture. In this video you’ll meet CEOs, executives, and other leaders building company culture at 10 different tech companies located in areas outside of Silicon Valley. Whether you’re building a startup or high growth tech company, or OR looking to join the right one—where you can truly reach your full potential, you need to understand company culture.
Company culture is insanely connected to revenue.
I talked with serial entrepreneur and customer/employee experience expert Jeb Banner, the CEO of Boardable, which is a board management software tool for nonprofits. Jeb’s a serial entrepreneur with over a decade of experience building companies with fantastic cultures, and he shared his perspective on culture as part of the employee and customer experience.
I think that culture is something that permeates every aspect of your employee and customer experience. So it’s your brand, it’s your office, it’s your compensation, is your values, the values you have as an organization, defining those values and, and, and refining them over time. And even updating them, it’s super important to keep a healthy culture.
…and that’s a really great point. A June 2019 article from Harvard Business Review explores the connection between employee experience and customer experience, citing research from MIT that companies in the top 25% of Employee Experience earn twice the amount of revenue from their innovations as those in the bottom 25%. So if you’re looking to boost revenue this year, figure out how you can improve your company’s culture.
Great leaders understand that company culture influences both their team and their customer base.
Haley Altman is the founder and CEO of Doxly. Her company is directly involved in the customer and employee experience. You see, Haley’s a lawyer with extensive background working with venture capitalists and founders, and her company Doxly is built for attorneys to transform that archaic process of managing legal transactions into a simple software process. She has some great perspective on creating a winning culture and celebrating together.
And I think some company cultures are totally external and they may share it far and wide and it becomes the fabric of how they position it to themselves. And we wanted to make sure that we had values that we could communicate to everyone and they are the core of kind of how we, how we want to build the business and grow at Doxly. But there is a part of like kind of the culture itself that is, that is based on those values that has them at the foundation but that are, you know, that kind of evolve in terms of how we work together in terms of like the enjoyment that we have of, of working together. So we take that we win together and we mean it to be our customers to hear aren’t successful if they aren’t successful in how they use Doxly. But when we use it to say, okay, we’re going to win together and to be able to do that we have to have, you know, a great environment that everyone feels like supported and everyone feels celebrated.
Company culture grows and evolves over time, as companies enter different phases of their lifecycle. And that process happens little by little, every single day. Being intentional about your company culture can boost employee engagement… but it doesn’t happen overnight, so keep at it!
Company culture isn’t built or changed overnight. It happens in the little moments that happen every single day.
I love this perspective from Ryan Brock, founder of Metonymy Media, an agency of creative writers that works with companies who have a story to tell. (And often, those companies have good stories because they have good cultures!)
I think like a mission or a vision or even, you know, a company’s perspective on how they do their work and why their work matters. Those are really nice big things that people can sit down in a room and talk about for a little while and be like, yeah, those words sound great. Yeah, I like that idea is awesome. But culture I think is just a collection of every little moment, you know, of these different people interacting with each other, trying to work together. I think culture is something that you can be intentional about, but also like it’s sort of passively creates itself.
I love the idea that company culture is a collection of every little moment. Being intentional about those moments can bring big dividends, like lower turnover and higher revenue. Pay attention to each moment as a culture add or detractor, and encourage your team during the moments that add value to your culture.
Culture is the heartbeat of your company.
It’s what keeps people there, what fires them up inside every day. So how do you create it and nurture it? Heather Haas is the CEO and Founder of ADVISA, a company that partners with organizations to improve job fit and company culture through leadership development. She’s an expert in company culture and has worked with hundreds of founders through the years. She believes that everyone in a company can make an impact on culture.
So we would say that company culture is really the, the, the feel of working at a company. It’s, um, that feel is created by how people behave. It’s created by what people value and the way that translates into the way decisions get made, the way that it translates into what kinds of behaviors get recognized and celebrated. So that’s why when leaders start to get a sense of how powerful it is and start to think about the kind of culture that they need, the kinds of behaviors, the kinds of, the feel and the vibe that they need or the heartbeat of the company, if you will, when they get their heads around what kind of culture they need to be successful, then they can start being intentional about creating it.
I love how Heather put that. Be intentional. As a company grows, the founders and leaders are really the guideposts for culture. So if you’re looking to join a team, watch how the leaders act, and what kind of behaviors get recognized and celebrated. That’ll give you a good feel for what the company’s culture is like, and whether or not you want to be a part of it.
In a fast-growing startup, nobody has time to micromanage every single decision.
That’s where core values can be helpful. But they can’t only be stuffy posters with buzzwords… core values should be real and authentic. Brian Wolff is President and CEO at Parker Technology, a company disrupting the parking industry with two-way video inside parking garages. He’s been building and investing in high-growth tech companies across the Midwest for over a decade, and shares a really unique perspective on why core values matter.
I think what’s so critical is that when you’re a startup, you’re in almost every conversation and every decision that gets made. But as the company grows, you can’t be at every decision point. And not only that, but as a CEO, I don’t want to be in every decision. I tell my leaders all the time that I want to be in review mode, not in decision mode. And so the only way to build a cohesive company that where the leaders are in review mode is to give people guiding principles around what we stand for. So the ability to have a high standard and expect things to get done in a high quality way. High touch is…. the ability to push that down into the organization so that everybody knows that when they deliver high touch, high customer experience, a quality experience for the customer, that they’ve done the right thing without having to police and or micromanage every decision that gets made.
I love the way he talks about values as guiding principles for people to make decisions that align with company culture. That way the leaders are in “review mode,” and people are armed with what they need to make decisions so they can feel confident that they’re doing the right thing. Give your team core values that act as guiding principles for decision-making, and encourage them to make decisions on their own so you can be in “review mode” and guide culture as a leader.
Core values aren’t just posters you hang on the wall. They’re the thread that runs through every aspect of the business.
Heather Haas, CEO of ADVISA leadership consulting, talks about how to give core values new life with alignment across the entire organization.
Core values aren’t just ideals that hang on the wall. They should be translating into how people communicate, how people behave and how people make decisions. So creating that alignment between who we say we are and how we market, who we are, creating that alignment between that and then who we really are. When you come to work here and interact with us as a customer, it’s really important to longterm success.
Core values reflect in how people communicate, how people behave, and how people make decisions. Get everyone across your team aligned on your values, and you’ll unlock the power of culture and build the organization you want to build.
Core values are a big deal for getting your team aligned on culture.
So how do you write core values? From a founder’s perspective, it can be really hard. And sometimes, your first draft… won’t really hit it. Like everything else in tech, you have to iterate over time. Haley Altman, founder of Doxly, shares her experience writing core values and how they’ve evolved.
Writing core values is hard. I think the first time we did it we came up with a bunch of words that we thought were really important. Like you know, collaboration and teamwork and things like that. Things that are nice to like thinking about. But those are buzzwords. They’re not necessarily a specific value. So we had to like, so our first set that we did, we sat as a group and when you talked about like all the things that were important to us that meant a lot and with would be important to be a team member in Doxly. And then when we wrote them down we realized that these weren’t really like values. These were just like kind of ideas that are kind of like table stakes of what needed to be true, but what are the values that we’re going to help us really do things.
Core values aren’t buzzwords, they’re guiding principles for the way you do business. And it’s okay if they change a little bit over time, or if it takes a few drafts for you to get to the right values that reflect the culture you want to build. Leaders shape the culture, so look up to the leaders to find out what the culture’s like and if you want to be a part of it.
An article from FirstRoundReview says that 80% of your culture is defined by its core leaders.
80 percent! That’s why culture has to be so much of your mindshare as a leader. So what does that look like from a team leader’s perspective. Heidi Barker works with Brian Wolff at Parker Technologies as their Director of Marketing, and she shares her perspective from inside the team while creating a unique workplace and culture at Parker.
And then I think it really does depend on the business you have, the clients that you’re serving, what you’re trying to accomplish. And so we then sat back and said, okay, all those things are important. Teamwork, collaboration. Like those are all really important because we need everyone’s voices together. But what are our values? We had to take a step back and say like, what are we really trying to bring in? A huge part of being happy in your job is enjoying who you work with, the interactions that you have with your coworkers and having that collaborative environment. And so I think that having core values that align with your own and also kind of identifying what some of those different aspects of the just like workplace landscape I suppose you could say with you know, when you need to be in there, if you can work remotely.
A third of your life is spent at work, and it makes a HUGE difference in your quality of life if you love who you work with and the environment you work in. Find a company culture you’re pulled toward, and go have a conversation with someone on their team! You never know where it could lead.
As a leader, everything you do influences company culture.
A big part of it is just setting the right expectations on the team for what behavior is encouraged and accepted. I learned this from Jeremy Reymer, CEO and Founder of DriverReach, a recruiting software tool for hiring licenced commercial and truck drivers. Jeremy talks about how to get everyone on the team driving in the same direction.
What type of social events or different things that they do for the employees, benefits, things like that. That all plays into the company culture. It’s, it’s integrity more than anything is this widow. I mean, when you really get down to it, there’s accountability, there’s expectations of, of honesty and doing the right thing, but, and then you have to hold people accountable. But you want to create an environment where people expect and want to be held accountable to what, whatever you know is, uh, their expectations are, and open communication and candor is super important. You know, we should be able to be honest with each other, good or bad, whatever the case is. We’re on the same team where we need to be rowing in the same direction. So I think those things are really important and, and I think they, they, um, respect comes from that.
Getting everyone rowing in the same direction is where you’ll see some of the benefits of having a good culture, like less turnover and a revenue boost. Hire people who are a good fit with your culture, and you’ll see the return many times over.
Hiring the right culture fit can be really tricky, especially when your team is growing really fast.
And by fast I mean, tripling or quadrupling in size. But there are ways to manage culture even through that extreme growth. Egan Montgomery is the Director of Marketing at DemandJump, a marketing SaaS company that’s exploded in size over the last few years.
You know, when, you know that you can be honest with somebody and you know that there’s not retaliation if there’s, if it’s a, if it’s not necessarily a positive statement, but I’m trying to help. The intent is always pure. As you grow, culture gets harder and harder to manage. Um, but having those kind of three core pillars to fall back on and always guide us is, um, is I think really important and tripling, quadrupling in size. Um, you’re bringing on people from all different backgrounds. You’re expanding the roles within the company, um, and yet you still have to kind of keep, stay true to your values. And stay true to your work culture.
Staying true to your values something that’s critically important to fast-growing companies. It’s like cars on a highway: Add more cars going the same direction and you work together to get to the destination; but if one car’s going the wrong way, it’s a disaster. Hire people who fit your values, and it’ll make your company culture feel like magic.
Hiring managers are like the gatekeepers to a company’s culture.
It’s a critical role and you have to be really intentional about it, because your decisions will impact the rest of the team. Anna Julow Roolf leads recruiting and talent sourcing at BLASTmedia, which is a PR agency dedicated to B2B SaaS in the United States. Their agency’s won several Best Places to Work awards and accolades for their culture, so I was super interested to learn from Anna’s growth and experience.
When I first started, doing recruiting, I didn’t necessarily think about how specifically does our company culture and our core values relate to what I’m doing. And it’s, it sounds silly and you know, they should go hand in hand and they should be important. But for us a lot of that has been a little bit more organic or at least from my standpoint it’s been a little more organic. Um, I think because at first I didn’t necessarily know what I was looking for in terms of how to, how is this person that culture fit? You know, you always hear this culture fit piece. Um, and honestly, culture fit can pigeon hole you into picking certain people, um, if the culture is too narrow. So I think for me, um, those three core values that we have of a seeking growth, um, hustling hard and enjoying life are a good kind of pillar for looking for the right people.
That idea to “keep things organic” is super important. I’ve learned the hard way that if you stay true to your core values especially in recruiting and the way you approach talent, then people who fit your culture will gravitate toward you.
When you know someone’s a good culture fit on your team, you pick it up right away.
How do you know? You and your team are having fun! Jeremy Reymer, CEO and Founder of DriverReach, shares his experience building this kind of culture.
Did your building, these people are working together every day. You know, you spend a third of your days sleep the other third year working with these people. You should like them. So that’s something when we talk about it, it’s important that you liked the people that you’re working with. And what is always fun to see is when they hang out with each other outside of work. That’s when you know you’ve got good culture and you’ve got a good fit.
Your quality of life will improve dramatically as you connect with and cultivate the right culture. Find or create a team you love and can win with, and you’ll see improvements across all aspects of your life.
Company culture isn’t about beer-thirty, ping pong tables and free lunch.
What makes an authentic company culture? Motivation. Daniel Fuller is a VP of Business Development at FullStack, a PEO with a culture-focused approach to outsourced HR for startups and small companies. He’s worked with dozens of tech leaders and here’s what he has to say about creating an authentic company culture.
I would just say, okay. Is on those leadership behaviors for, for culture. Because if, if you’re just focused on superficial, um, people will pick that up quickly and won’t care if you have ping pong tables and free lunch. Are you authentic as a leader and what’s, what’s driving you, what’s motivating you and how are you going to interact with me? That’s really the make it or break it for culture.
Company culture is a lot of things (that don’t include ping pong tables). Company culture is leadership behavior, it’s values, it’s the overall experience, and it’s your vibe. Company culture is the heartbeat of your company, and it’s your competitive advantage for customers who want to work with you AND employees who want to work alongside you. Build a great culture, and hire the right people who will nurture it and help you grow! I hope you learned something from these leaders in the Powderkeg community and got some new perspective on company culture. I want to give a big thank you to all our guests today. Make sure you check them out and connect with them on social media or at Powderkeg. What did you think of today’s episode? Leave a comment or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out more of our videos and make sure make sure you subscribe to this YouTube channel for more tips and insights for people pursuing a breakout career in tech. Catch you next time!
What is Company Culture?
The importance of company culture has come to the forefront of the modern business landscape over the past decade. Forbes has noted that the importance of corporate culture in company’s success is something pre-existing in a company’s genetic code. Today’s diverse workforce enters a business environment with each individual’s own fully formed set of respective types of corporate culture, values, and expectations. It is the organization’s duty to work to set the tone, according to its own mission statement and values, as well as according to the overall prism of employee values, as much as possible.
The value of company culture cannot be understated since it permeates every aspect of the employee and customer experience. It underlies and becomes intertwined with factors such as a company’s brand, office, conversations, and values. Developing and nurturing a strong company culture allows business leaders to define and refine its own set of values to avoid losing touch with expectations of employees and the public. Tech companies particularly rely on creating and fostering a strong company culture definition since a lack of corporate culture is the number one reason why people leave or join a tech company.
Employees invest a large portion of their lives into their work, and the value of corporate culture has the power to make a huge impact on their lives. Tech employees invest a great deal of their time and energy in continually learning about new innovations and how they can help improve the operations of an organization, so it is especially important to learn how to build company culture and create an environment that supports those endeavors. A positive organizational culture, along with a guide for the importance of corporate culture ppt, lays the foundation for building a corporate culture definition that allows employers to empower every person to connect with their calling, pursue a fulfilling career in the tech industry, and to manifest their potential under any circumstances.
The definition of company culture
In today’s ever-changing business landscape, organizational leaders are working hard to learn how to build culture in the workplace. The best way to get started on this crucial mission is to understand culture building definition and what it means to their own business. Investopedia defines corporate culture as a set of beliefs and behaviors that determine how an organization’s employees and management interact in business and social contexts within the confines of the workplace. It really is the feel of a working company, according a speaker in the Importance of Organizational Culture pdf.
The importance of company culture
The Harvard Business Review discusses how a company’s culture serves as a primary lever at a business leader’s disposal in the efforts to maintain organizational viability and effectiveness. The importance of corporate culture in company’s success is due to the fact that it expresses goals through values and beliefs, guiding activity through shared assumptions and group norms. A massive 86% of employees in companies with strong cultures feel their senior leaders listen to employees, compared to organizations with subpar cultures.
One idea set forth in the types of organizational culture pdf is that company culture definition examples serve as a guidepost for employees, giving them cues as to how to communicate and behave among their peers and management. Such prompts give employees, particularly new employees, solid ground upon which they can stand as they become acclimated to the organizational environment. People often worry that about saying the wrong thing, or not conveying their ideas accurately. Equipped with an idea of the types of culture in the company, employees can more easily and confidently navigate through their work and their social exchanges.
Common company culture types
Business leaders do not need to develop their company culture types from scratch. There are already a number of existing and successful types of culture in organizations. Following are 4 of the 8 types of company culture from which organizational leaders might choose to base their own types of organizational culture ppt.
- Clan culture. In the clan culture environment, collaboration is a driving component. Some compare these types of organizational culture pdf as that of a large family where people share many things in common. The company invests in a building strong bonds of trust, loyalty, tradition, and fun. Businesses that have adopted clan culture include Zappos and Google.
- Adhocracy culture. Taken from the root concept of “ad hoc” that means relying on some resource, human or otherwise, as needed. In terms of types of organizational culture in healthcare and other industries, adhocracy is an innovative and dynamic environment. Here, employees are encouraged to challenge assumptions and take risks. Tech companies, such as Facebook, often rely on this as one of the seven types of organizational culture, as a way to stay nimble, innovative, and competitive.
- Market culture. This type of culture’s goal is to get down to business, focus, get work done, and achieve results. Adjectives to describe culture in these organizations include competitive and productivity-driven. The primary purpose of market cultures is to make profit as possible. The best examples of this type of culture include Amazon and Apple.
- Hierarchy culture. Process and procedure are the cornerstone of hierarchy culture. It is a fairly traditional cultural environment for organizations since there are leaders available to monitor and facilitate compliance with time-tested methods of doing business. Strictly followed rules and guidelines help to keep costs and mistakes to a minimum. Organizations that subscribe to this type of culture include types of organizational culture in healthcare and government agencies.
Company culture examples
“Culture is a collection of every little moment,” says Metonymy Media’s Ryan Brock who discusses company culture examples and more. Just as importantly, with a continually changing workplace population, it is important to understand and accept that culture is also dynamic to meet the needs of incoming millennials, Generation Z, and even some Generation X changing careers or jobs. Company culture words and corporate culture examples include ideas like “seeking growth, hustling hard, and enjoying life,” according to BLASTmedia’s Anna Julow Roolf, who these factors are good pillars of finding, attracting, hiring, and keeping the right employees.
As business leaders strive to find ways how to describe company culture and good company culture examples, it is important to remember that expectations vary. Egan Montgomery shares thoughts to describe your company culture, per three prevailing pillars, with ideas that include bringing in people of all different backgrounds, expanding roles in the company, and staying true to your values. To describe your company’s culture in 3-5 words isn’t simple, but once business leaders put their minds to it, the possibilities are endless.
Common words to describe company values
Words to describe company values are commonly closely related to the company’s mission and values statements. Some of the best corporate culture statements reflect the overriding values of the business since the two ideas have become increasingly intertwined over the past several years. According to an article in Harvard Business Review titled “The Culture Factor,” culture serves as the tacit social order of an organization. Examples of company culture statements often focus on how culture shapes behaviors and attitudes, as well as defining what is accepted, encouraged, discouraged, or outright rejected within a group. These words to describe workplace have the power to unleash tremendous energy toward a shared purpose, ultimately pushing the organization to thrive.
Negative words to describe a company
Negative words to describe company culture exist for at least one very good reason. There are times when a company culture is not in good health. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review titled “Keep Your Company’s Toxic Culture from Infecting Your Team,” there are times when bad company culture words are downright toxic and put the organization’s operating environment and brand reputation at risk. Bad corporate culture examples abound, such as when a manager makes jokes at someone else’s expense. No matter how affable that person is in most circumstances, poorly thought out jokes can put employees in uncomfortable positions. Further weak organizational culture examples and words include those like “covering,“ which serve to hide or downplay aspects of a person or their identity in order to fit in at work. “Hyper-competitiveness” defies words to describe culture of an organization that are far more ideal, such as “cooperativeness.” The “pressure to over-work” is dangerous to a company’s culture as well, especially in a time when employees increasingly seek jobs that offer work-life balance, which are included in the best corporate culture statements, embedded within corporate culture.
Good company culture examples can help ward off some of the less appealing words and attitudes associated with today’s company culture. As long as business leaders are willing to take the best steps in creating organizational culture, it is possible to steer clear of the bad examples.
Common characteristics of organizational culture
There are at least 10 characteristics of organizational culture that business leaders should consider when developing their own corporate culture pdf. Haley Altman of Powderkeg mentions that the ideas are not always delivered in crisp single words. They are sometimes ideas that are somewhat like table stakes regarding what needs to happen, further driving toward serious reflection on a company’s values and overall goals for its business culture pdf. Features of corporate culture in business ethics focus on the different ways to promote a healthier working climate for everyone. A corporate culture pdf might touch on points and organizational culture characteristics like the following characteristics of organizational culture with examples.
How to build company culture
At this point, business leaders are probably scratching their heads and wondering how to build company culture that yields positive results. Having a better idea of culture building definition from a culture building ppt, it will be much easier to understand how to build culture in the workplace. In 2017, an article in the Harvard Business Review called “Changing Company Culture Requires a Movement, Not a Mandate” stated that changing company culture requires a movement, as opposed to a mandate. To a certain degree, everyone must be on board and willing to work to adopt and incorporate organizational culture examples pdf into the environment and corporate culture pdf.
The Harvard Business Review goes on to point out that finding ways of how to improve organizational culture pdf are not top-down mandates. Instead, live in the collective hearts and minds of employees and management. Many organizational leaders rely on the Deal and Kennedy Corporate Culture pdf to help guide them, or they use a Why Is a Company’s Corporate Culture Important quizlet to gain information from employees and management. Building company culture startup will benefit from everyone’s participation and, in turn, will benefit everyone.
One additional recommended resource is the organizational culture pdf 2018 to provide further insights and ideas. Create a positive organizational culture Are you ready to develop your own positive organizational culture? With so many good company culture examples here and elsewhere, as well as with your own team’s cooperation, you can create a positive organizational culture for your business.