What makes a good company culture?
Most leaders think culture is defined by vacation days and work retreats, what games you play in the office and what benefits you provide to employees. Do these things matter? Yes. But are they what defines your culture over the long term? No.
And why does having a strong company culture matter anyway?
So, if happy team members and a strong company culture have clear business benefits, the question becomes: as a leader, how can you create one?
1. Culture is how you treat employees and coworkers on a daily basis.
The customer experience will never exceed the employee experience.
The way you treat your employees is going to determine how they treat your customers. So, a leader’s job first and foremost is to make sure their people (for us, we refer to our employees as Rockstars) are happy, taken care of, and feel respected.
2. Culture is how your core values are lived within the workplace.
The word, Rockstar and our Rockstar-friendly culture is grounded in our core values:
- R: Respect and appreciation
- O: Openness and transparency
- C: Client obsession
- K: Kaizen (Japanese for continuous learning and improvement)
These core values are inculcated within the organization at every step—from the very first day a new Rockstar joins the team for as long as they are with us.
In most organizations, qualities like appreciation are one directional from a top-down approach. Someone arbitrarily decides, at the end of the month or the quarter, who is worth recognizing and why. That’s not how we do things. For us, appreciation flows in all directions: top down, bottom up, peer to peer. And we don’t wait for the month to end for someone to be recognized. We incentivize frequent expressions of gratitude and appreciation within the company.
3. Culture is the time and attention you give reflecting on customer feedback.
Who is really your boss?
“There is only one boss. The customer.” – Sam Walton
At Hanu, we continuously reinforce that your manager is not your boss. All of us only have one true boss—and that’s the customer.
Our job collectively is to make the customer happy, so we prioritize spending time with them, understanding what makes them successful, and asking, “What do you want to accomplish in the next 6 to 12 months?” All of this works toward providing what we call a “Wow Experience,” making them happy, making sure they meet their priorities and accomplish their goals.
You can track progress of this by using a mechanism we call QTC: Quality Time with Customers.
We expect every leader to meet a certain level of QTC and listen to what customers have to say. We also pay attention to other parameters such as feedback, satisfaction, and how we are making a difference in customers’ lives.
All these efforts together are what define company culture.
So, if you are a leader within an organization and want to get the most from your team, you need to put the most into your team. Create a culture of high engagement, and high retention will follow. Treat your rockstars well, and profitability will follow.
The data is clear: culture matters.
So, ask yourself: are you doing everything you can to create a strong company culture?