Culture is one of the most talked-about concepts in business today. Companies are offering a wealth of culture friendly benefits, including ping pong tables at work, fitness trackers, office snacks, and dog-friendly offices to compete for engaged talent. How important are these, though, and do they genuinely make an overall difference to employee happiness and in turn, client satisfaction? The answer is ‘sort of.’ They often deliver short-term satisfaction, but to be a true leader in this space, much more is required. The first step is for leaders to stop talking about culture and promptly follow with its influence on the bottom line. Yes, it can impact this, but it should not be the priority. First and foremost, create a positive culture because it leads to enhanced happiness and satisfaction for both employees and clients.
Here are four ways at TPC we have sought to create an authentic culture:
VP of Talent, Culture, and Happiness
Our Co-Founders, Keith and Subir, were so resolute in their want to be different to other Consultancies that in spite of being a small company, they appointed a role that devotes part of its responsibility to doing just this; to ensure we do not fall into the corporate, hierarchical trap as we grow. It’s unusual to see this title in a company as small as ours, and it shows our employees we are serious about the importance of culture. It is my responsibility to hold Keith and Subir accountable as the Company grows to ensure we don’t deviate from their original promise to have employees at the heart of the Company. I have regular one to ones with the team, and I help eliminate barriers and create paths for employees to build a fulfilling career. One of my primary goals is to create a safe workspace where employees can be open and vulnerable without fear of being ridiculed.
We launched a ‘Culture Committee’ made up of five passionate employees who volunteer their time each month to consider how we can make TPC a more enjoyable place to work and one where employees succeed. The Committee creates and executes unique experiences for the team and provides a touchpoint for morale so that we are continually checking in on the culture and making changes as required. The Committee endeavours to promote the importance of wellbeing by setting an example that ensures other employees are confident in prioritizing their own.
An important role of the Culture Committee was to create a set of clearly defined values, which employees love, live, and breathe. The second part is where companies often fall down. After a highly collaborative three-month exercise, TPC employees collectively decided on five values that are at the heart of our team;
There are several ways in which we ensure we are instilling these values daily. Cultural fit is just as valuable, if not more valuable to us, than technical skills. During the recruitment process, if someone is not a fit for our clients and us, regardless of their other skills, we will not hire them. Also, employees who exhibit these five values consistently and to an exemplary level are financially rewarded each quarter with a bonus.
Listening, hearing and understanding employee needs
While we are unable to meet every individual employee’s requests, we do address concerns where we can. Recently, we performed a full review of our job titles, benefits, and salary packages, comparing what we offer to other similar businesses. We built an employee-run Remuneration Committee made up of five engaged team members. Their task was to provide a full competitor analysis and design proposals for the Board. We also formed a Senior Leadership Team, where we discuss matters relating to the overall running of the business. Exercises like this make employees feel valued, and it’s also an opportunity to develop their skills and empower them to make decisions that influence the Company.
We believe a positive culture acknowledges that its employees are so much more than their title and role. We are proud of the culture we have created at TPC and are happy to share our success stories in this space. It helps our clients know more about the heartbeat of TPC, our people. The outcome is a thriving culture of enthusiastic, talented, and passionate employees who genuinely care and want to help our clients reach their goals together as a team.
Shoshanna Mitchell, VP of Talent, Happiness and Culture