With the marketplace in a constant state of change, workplace complexities are at an all-time high. Business leaders have concluded that the only way to truly combat this sort of disarray is through culture. Aligning culture with business objectives and cultivating an agile workforce is the secret behind organizations’ success.
No doubt, this is easier said than done.
Often times Human Resource executives are tasked with architecting culture but have a difficult time envisioning what that will look like in the context of their own organizations. Is it values? Is it perks? Or Is it programs? It is difficult to identify what works and what doesn’t. Comparably’s ‘Best Places to Work’ award recipients are a great source of inspiration. Here are a few of CultureIQ’s favorite culture stories that led to both culture awards and profitable margins.
The Not So Normal Culture
Phenom People, the world’s leading talent relationship marketing platform, has built an entire enterprise around being 'Not Normal.' They also found themselves ranked 5th on Comparably’s ‘Best Places to Work’ List.
For Phenom People, culture starts at the first interaction. During an initial interview, they will ask a candidate what is not normal about them. This question usually leads to some interesting conversations:
"I put ketchup on everything savory - even cottage cheese!"
"I've escaped death twice"
"I eat apples whole, the only thing I leave is the stem... I also eat orange peels."
"My husband and I build our house from the ground up, one nail at a time"
"I have a big family—32 first cousins and I am really close to all of them!"
"I have a tendency to try and trash pick things people throw away to repurpose into really cool and unique pieces."
"I do cryotherapy sessions twice a month."
These are all sound bites that can be overheard in the average Phenom People interview. Not only does this approach keeps things memorable, this ‘Not Normal’ concept shows the candidate this organization is willing to welcome differences and embrace every facet of their employee, even the things others would consider strange. It’s certainly comforting to know your potential employer has your back no matter where your life journey has taken and will be taking you.
The abnormal doesn't stop there…
Day one, all new hires are entered into a 'Phenom Phundementals' program. This is a three-day onboarding program where new hires are celebrated with streamers and high fives, put on scavenger hunts to learn the layout of the office and must introduce themselves with their ‘Not Normal’ facts.
These 'not normal' facts continue to play a significant role in their all hands calls every Friday and are even introduced to their clients.
Ask any Phenom People stakeholder and they will genuinely agree that the company culture is nothing short of phenomenal. It is evident that this plays a strategic role in their thriving bottom line and what makes their mission to “Help a billion people find the right jobs” no far out of reach.
The Eclectic and Customer Centric Culture
Nextiva is pioneering the ‘UCaaS’ or ‘Unified Communication as a Service’ industry by offering everything a business needs to communicate with customers and internal teams in one single, cloud-based platform.
Similar to Phenom People, Nextiva prides itself on the eclectic and eccentric workforce they have.
Nextiva works assiduously to cultivate a culture that brings out what makes their employee unique while also guiding these differences to contribute to the company’s greater purpose. For example, Nextiva has adopted a progressively matrixed work environment. Having a half dozen offices and a healthy percentage of remote workers can be difficult for any organization but Nextiva keeps every stakeholder aligned with ease through a few strategies listed below:
'North Star' Metric
Every employee is given one unique ‘North Start Metric’ to reach. An individual may have many more goals to meet throughout the year. However, this one north star metric carries more weight in terms of performance and keeps all team members aligned to the company’s strategic objectives.
While every Nextiva employee has one metric to place their focus, the entire organization has a true north as well: Customer Centricity. Delighting their customers is at the heart of the Nextiva enterprise. With this overarching strategic objective in mind, transparency, honesty and empathy are demonstrated daily to create not only a positive experience for their customer but a culture built on trust above all things.
In keeping with the theme of transparency and trust, it is important to mention Nextiva’s barriers to leadership, or lack thereof. At first glance, when walking into a Nextiva office it would be a challenge to identify who is a member of the leadership team is. This is by design. In an effort to establish collaboration and transparency, there are no barriers between the C-Suite and all other members of the organization. The level of trust an atmosphere of this nature produces is critical to Nextiva’s bottom line. When employees feel valued, innovation spreads like wildfire and it shows by the quality of their products.
The Raconteur Culture
Wibbitz has architected a culture around storytelling. The premier online video editor has flawlessly aligned their offering with their culture. In doing so, they have structured an environment for open communication and growth. When speaking with employee of Wibbitz they are likely to tell the story of a rocket ship for 3 primary reasons:
1. Growth Mindset
Wibbitz acknowledges the importance of growth through collaboration. They have implemented a ‘taskforce’ program where other teams are encouraged to work on at least one communitive project within the year. Stimulating innovation, the company benefits from the collaboration of its employees. But it was the employees this program was built for. The taskforce enables opportunities for learning and discovering new interest in the hopes of achieving individual personal growth within their role.
2. Stellar Support System
Employees at Wibbitz are supported every step of their journey. They are given total transparency from the financial performance to all hands calls to the overall strategy. Thus, keeping everyone aligned to the goals of the organization. Goal setting also doesn’t stop in the board room. Both teams and individuals are encouraged to set quarterly and annual goals. Keeping everyone on track for their own personal success as well! In addition, Wibbitz is all about celebrating that success. Check out “Wibbitz Fest” where they hosted a company-wide trip to Greece!
3. Sights set on the Stars
In a relatively short amount of time, Wibbitz has achieved tremendous success. Founded in 2011, they quickly became the leading solution for quick & intuitive visual storytelling. They are now located in numerous countries around the world including New York, Tel Aviv, Paris and the UK and were ranked 12th on Comparably’s ‘Best Places to Work’ List.
All three organizations vastly differ in terms of offering, structure, and size. However, it’s the overlapping commonalities that may spark inspiration. All three organizations prioritize aligning culture with their strategic business objectives, invest in their people, and experience a profitable bottom line in a short amount of time.