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How We Built Our Company Culture

How We Built Our Company Culture
How We Built Our Company Culture

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*This article was originally published on The Center for Sales strategy blog.

Having a great company culture in today’s economy is not just a luxury, it’s a necessity.

The Center for Sales Strategy (CSS) is known both internally and externally for our incredible culture especially as a fully remote company. In fact, we believe in company culture so much that we built an entire division on it Up Your Culture.

How do we do it? How did we build our company culture?

This LIVE broadcast is from our annual staff meeting in Dallas, TX. Host Matt Sunshine discusses topics with a few team members from The Center for Sales Strategy, LeadG2, and Up Your Culture, around how we built our company culture and how we now help others improve employee engagement and company culture.

Tune in now or keep reading for a brief overview.

What is Company Culture? How Do You Know if You Have an Engaged Team?

Infographic: Top 15 Reasons Your Employees StayCompany culture and employee engagement are some of the most common words thrown around in the business world.

With this in mind, Matt asks the panel to describe company culture and how business leaders know if they’re on the right path with an engaged team.

Beth Sunshine, Employee Engagement Specialist and Culture Coach replies, “Company culture is the personality of the organization. It’s the vibe you feel when you work there. You know when a culture isn’t right for you because it doesn’t feel like it fits.”

If you’re looking for ways to measure employee engagement, Up Your Culture offers a survey that directly measures engagement. However, you can also know if you have an engaged team by simply observing your team.

  • Are people showing up to work happy?
  • Are they bringing their themselves and their full potential to the job?

Beth went on to explain, “After focusing for years on developing talent, we found that some people who were highly talented were not engaged. And because they were not engaged, they didn’t reach their full potential – they didn’t activate that special talent they have.”

You know you have an engaged culture if people are reaching their full potential.

Do All Companies Have a Culture?

Culture is powerful, and you’re going to have one whether you like it or not.

“It’s frustrating to take the time to hire the right people, train them the right way, and invest in the right systems and processes if they’re not engaged.” explains Deborah FulghumEmployee Engagement Specialist and Culture Coach. “If they’re not showing up to do their absolute best; they’re not invested. You’re wasting money.”

When relating company culture to sales performance — its about generating revue and driving performance – if you don’t have an engaged staff, you’re throwing away a lot of resources.

The Four Engagement Elevators eBook

What Are Key Components of a Good Company Culture?

Companies that make a substantial investment in employee engagement have 2x the revenue and 4x the average profit of those that don’t. So, this is an investment that pays off for both the employee and the organization.

Researchers have learned that companies with the highest levels of engagement have four things in common, and at our company, we call these The Engagement Elevators because when a company commits to improving in these four areas, they are able to successfully lift—or elevate—their levels of employee engagement.

1. Shared Mission

Organizations with highly engaged employees have a clear sense of where they are going as a company and why. Employees feel as though they are on a journey together and their shared mission is like a flashing beacon guiding them along the way.  

2. People Development

Top managers hire the right people and set them up for success by clearly communicating expectations and providing the right balance of support and autonomy. Managers show that they care about their people, build individualized relationships, transparently share information, coach both strengths and weaknesses, and provide meaningful feedback.

3. Valued Voice

Employees trust their coworkers and leaders, participating in open, two-way communication. They allow others to talk as they sincerely listen and, in turn, they share information and concerns.

4. Earned Trust

Highly engaged employees describe their company as authentic because they are who they say they are. They live their core values, rewarding those who demonstrate them and not tolerating those who don’t.

What Are the Results of a Toxic Culture?

Matt asks the panel, ‘What happens when there’s a toxic culture in an organization and leadership doesn’t fix it?”

Managing Partner, Jim Hopes replies, “First, regrettable turnover happens. If you have a sales staff of 100 people and turn over 30 every year – 1.5 times the annual salary – do the math – why not put half a million dollars as a line item in your budget next year and that be the cost of regrettable turnover? With a toxic culture, you’re doing this anyway!”

Jim also adds that with a toxic culture, companies lose their recruitment hedge and don’t retain customers or clients as good as other companies with better cultures. “We hear a lot of leaders say that as soon as business gets better, they’ll begin investing in culture. But it will never get better until culture improves.”

Does Company Culture Affect ROI?

  • Multiple studies show that strong company cultures leads to:
  • 5x times more revenue to your bottom line
  • 3x more likely to retain employees, reducing the cost of replacing people
  • Your company is targeted by 94% of job seekers as the place to work, which makes recruiting top talent so much easier

Additionally, companies with strong cultures see a 20% increase in profitability and a 20% increase in sales.

An eye-opening company culture statistic that Beth presents is, “65% of employees are disengaged, and 40 of those people plan to stay in their jobs.”

Many ask, “What if I train people and they leave?” What if you don’t train them and they stay?

Over the last year, we’ve personally spoke with sales managers who are changing companies or job titles, and many say they feel bad leaving their team, but it’s easy to leave the current company. If you have a great culture, it should NOT be easy for people to leave.

3 Ways to Prove the ROI of Company Culture

Will a Positive Company Culture Attract Candidates?

According to several surveys, employees are ready to leave both pandemic restrictions and their current jobs.

We’re entering what many call “The Great Resignation.” With research showing 53% of employees want to keep working from home, and 70% of companies will have to adopt a hybrid work schedule, not every organization will do so and not every job will qualify. 

This means within the next 6 to 9 months, people are going to be switching jobs and descending whether they should stay or leave their current company.

Company culture could be the factor that makes them want to stay. If you want to keep your employees and stay ahead of the competition, culture must be priority.

“At Up Your Culture, we have leaders work through the four engagement elevators, and once they complete an elevator, they earn a badge to share on LinkedIn,” explains Deb. “This shows people that they’re a people developer and it’s a great recruiting tool.”

Can You Have a Good Company Culture as a Remote Team?

Sunshine asks the panel, “With new working models – virtual, remote, and hybrid – is it possible to have an engagement team?”

As a fully remote company, CSS has one of the best company cultures. Take a look at our culture video. And as Matt states, “You have to have a good culture to create a video. A culture video does not make a great culture. Culture makes the video.”

Culture Video - 2021 version

Describe Our Company Culture

Digging into the culture at CSS, VP/ Senior Consultant Stephanie Downs, asks the employees of CSS, LeadG2, and Up Your Culture to describe our company culture in one word. These are just a few of the responses:

  • Genuine
  • Inclusive
  • Awesome
  • Caring
  • Collaborative
  • Inviting
  • Authentic
  • Fun
  • Family
  • Special
  • Transparent
  • Committed
  • Alive

A mistake that many people make is thinking culture is an event. Matt asks the panel, “What are examples in our company where we bring culture to life every day?”

LeadG2 VP/ General Manager, Dani Buckley responds, “It’s everything we do. We’re intentional about culture every day from building onboarding plans to making people feel comfortable and welcome every day.”

Stephanie Downs also adds more tactical ways such first of the month culture calls, and high-five Friday’s and Touchbase Tuesdays on our private company Facebook page.

Culture and Engagement Content Specialist, Stephanie Stoll also adds how she creates personalized welcome baskets for every new employee.

A few ways we incorporated company culture tactics into our annual staff meeting was having everyone add their “leaves” to our company timeline – which was built as a tree. These leaves were big events in our employees’ lives, both personally and professionally. As Dani mentions, “It’s OUR timeline. We care about our people beyond the job.”

Other fun tactics we included in our meeting were:

  • Guessing fun facts about each other.
  • Campfire stories
  • Team building activities – creating a square with a jump rope while blind-folded and forming a large web amongst us with yard.
  • Collaborative book club session

 

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About Author

Amanda Meade
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