In many ways, a thriving company culture is its own reward. When employees feel connected to each other and to the work at hand, the office is simply a friendlier place to be.
Yet, there’s no shortage of positive side effects: increased customer satisfaction, employee retention, boosted sales. At TempWorks, our managerial team shifted aspects of our culture from default mode to something that feels more intentional, and we reaped the benefits in less than a year. Here’s what worked for us:
- Recognize shared interests.
Do you sense a shared love of Star Wars in your office? A mutual love of disc golf? Or crockpot cooking?
This year, we built company events around the aforementioned interests, (all of which are true). Managers hosted backyard BBQs with lawn games, video game nights (with takeovers of company equipment) and cooking contests. We even bought everyone tickets to see Star Wars and played hooky en masse.
When you go beyond a company-sponsored happy hour, your employees realize you appreciate them, quirks and all — and they just might stick around another year, or five.
- But challenge comfort zones, too.
Once you figure out your company’s “personality,” don’t feel obligated to stay within that bubble. You might think I’m contradicting No. 1, but hear me out.
At the client conference we sponsored last July, our employees (many of whom self-identify as “nerds”) pulled off a choreographed flash mob. We encouraged all skill levels and even offered different “tiers” of involvement so as not to intimidate the less-coordinated crowd (including myself and our CTO, who barely managed more than some “spirit fingers”).
If you’re still not convinced, you should know that our customers raved over the performance on their post-conference surveys. A little spontaneity, humor and humility go a long way.
- Be inclusive.
When customers come to visit, you might be tempted to limit mingling events to your inner circle (a.k.a. management). I recommend loosening up the reins.
For instance, after the aforementioned flash mob, our guests chatted and danced with everyone from payroll clerks to software engineers. Inviting all levels of staff shows you appreciate them and trust them.
In turn, your customers will see your company isn’t fragmented at all, but united toward a common goal — helping them succeed.
- Be a boomerang company.
Career experts advise employees not to burn bridges when they leave. I want to stress that the same applies to employers. No matter how attractive your salary, benefits, perks, or culture are, you can’t escape the threat of the two-week notice. Treat it as an opportunity.
Over the past year, we’ve had several employees return to TempWorks after stints at other companies. This “boomerang” effect is a testament to our open-door policy and the good will that follows them after they leave.
- Make generosity part of your company culture.
Volunteerism is good for the collective soul of a company (no ’90s band reference intended). This year, I made it a point to expand opportunities and outlets for the generosity I knew existed among our employees.
We all want to feel the glow of having helped someone. And once that feeling starts flowing, you can be sure it flows back to the customer, too.
You’ll notice that I haven’t listed “increased sales” as a direct result of any of these culture adjustments. By focusing on the success of our fellow employees, the success of our customers and the strength of our product, our financial statements will take care of themselves.
David Dourgarian is CEO of TempWorks Software. He joined TempWorks full time in 2006 as a software implementer and has served as president since 2008 and CEO since 2012. Helaunched the company’s payroll funding and payroll processing divisions in 2008, engineered the company’s large software partnership with Sterling National Bank in 2010. Email him at [email protected].