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Shaurya Jain, Samurai Marketers

In our agency, Samurai Marketers, since most of our people are remote, clear and constant communication work for us.

We make sure everyone is heard, and no one is left behind.

We also value the work-life balance.

When it comes to delegating tasks, we make sure one is not so loaded that he won’t be able to attend to his personal matters anymore.

Acknowledging work.

We give bonuses as a token of appreciation, and to motivate our people as well.

Paul Posea, Superside

Many people assume that company culture is all about meeting at the watercooler to share ideas or work perks like free lunches and holidays together. Other people assume it’s all about the hussle and providing value.

However, in my opinion it’s more about values, than providing value. So here are our guidelines for creating a great company culture that stands the test of time:

1. Defining a core value

The core value should be something that most people can see as valuable in their lives that goes beyond performance or making money for the company. Things like “being Kind”, “Honesty” and even selling “ideas or solutions” instead of products can propel your company culture to new heights.

2. Working normal hours

Company culture should resonate with the experience people have while working and not working. I recommend banning weekend work and overtime and implementing “Summer Fridays” when people can leave early or take a day off at the end of the week. This might provide some unexpected positive results and create an engaged workforce.

3. Stop Micromanaging

While maintaining target objectives and keeping everyone on track is useful, micromanaging is another story. If you manage to hire great people and mentor them properly, you should be able to trust them to do their job without giving too many details. If they don’t see you trust them, a culture of fear and incapability will start developing.

David Morneau, inBeat Agency

Building my company culture was deliberately intentional. From the very beginning, I knew it is not a given asset to an online business and that I have to focus on improving it. 

Positive reinforcement is something we have been working with for a while and experiencing a visible growth in productivity. What we do differently from a general reward system is that we set personalized monthly goals for each team. It is then more likely they feel supported and motivated.

Once the results are delivered on time, we reward all the team members who contributed to the result. Encouragement for actions aligned with the culture will go a long way.

Chris Thomas, Talkative

When it comes to creating a great company culture there are a lot of moving parts to get right – from supporting your employees personally to providing the team with a sense of unity via shared goals. 

That said, for SaaS businesses, one really useful tactic is keeping your team up to date on the progression of all leads, partnerships, and customers.

 Having transparency about the deals being discussed and the opportunities that arise remind all team members – from sales to marketing to development – that you’re all working to the same end. What’s more, it creates a great sense of camaraderie – especially when you land a new deal or customer!’

Roxana Motoc, SocialBee

Any leader who wants to improve the culture inside the company has to start by connecting people to a purpose.

Employees need to know where you’re headed, your reason for being, and how you’d like to make an impact in the world while helping others. You can have the best mission, strategy, or values set in place, but if your people do not know WHY they show up each day, then, you’ll be stuck in a never-ending loop of hiring new people each quarter.

More than that, employees will stay longer with you if they know in what ways their work is meaningful. If you want loyal employees, communicate your purpose often and loudly. Many times ignored by so many leaders or people in management, internal motivation is a deal-breaker for so many employees, across all multiple layers of a business.

The vision can come directly from the founder or even the CEO, both people who understand the company on such a deep level that they’re able to bring sense to all departments, whether it’s marketing, sales, customer support, HR, and so on.

Lydia Sims, Pearl Lemon

Improving company culture starts with pulling everyone together. Being in a remote environment it can be difficult to have a firm company culture without the water cooler talk. 

Part one is leading by example, if you want an energetic and excited team, speak with excitement and show it. Provide opportunity to “break the ice” as well. Before meetings, allow for intermingling and chatter for people to get to know each other. 

Opportunities to come together helps reinforce company culture and helps the team get excited to interact and in turn follow in the company’s foot steps.

Lynn Fraas, Terakeet

Regardless of whether employees work remotely or under the same roof, the way people are treated filters mainly through managers, so they’re critical to keeping a culture consistent, healthy, and growing.

Managers must understand specifically what their employees need for success while in-office, remote or hybrid. To get personalized feedback, send surveys or host one-on-one calls that check in on your team, with questions about their stress levels, what’s going well, and what they need more support with. For example, at Terakeet, we regularly ask for feedback through surveys, and in-person calls. We listen for and pay attention to global and directional themes: things we should keep doing, things we should change. This helps ensure our culture is not stagnant, but rather evolves as the organization grows and changes.

– Terakeet Chief People Officer Lynn Fraas

Nia Bruno-Gibson, MASV

Practice inclusion and belonging: Value and appreciate the strengths and experience of employees by building systems and processes that allow all voices to be heard. Creating and nurturing a sense of belonging allows employees to feel like they can bring their authentic selves to work. Focus on employee development, openly encourage and share feedback and ensure that everyone knows how they are contributing to the business’s success.

Create a flexible work environment: Whether in a physical office setting or collaborating remotely, people work differently. Empowering people with the flexibility to work when and how they work best can relieve stress and foster creativity. Understanding that there are differences in employees’ individual situations can cultivate a sense of belonging and allowing people to work their way will in turn make them feel valued.

Practice transparency: Transparency builds trust. Clearly communicating the company’s vision, goals, and revenue throughout the organization leads to higher productivity across the board. Communicate frequently and engage employees in organizational decisions when possible. Encourage transparency and communication by developing a process for open dialogue throughout the organization.

Focus on employee wellness: A recent report from Indeed revealed that employee burnout continues to rise, with over 50% of workers feeling burned out—an increase of close to 10% compared to “pre-COVID”. Now more than ever, it’s critical to invest in employee wellness programs; both physical and mental.

Dusan Stanar, VSS Monitoring

It’s not easy to improve company culture – it can’t be done with just a single act or change over a short period of time. Instead, it requires consistent efforts over periods of time and now can be even more difficult due to COVID and the prevalence of remote work.

Our favorite way to do so is to have a virtual (though in person is better) company happy hour every Friday at 3:00. At this point, work ends and everybody is expected to have a drink and hang out with colleagues for at least an hour, after which people may leave. We log attendance and everybody who shows up gets a $5 “bonus”, to cover their drink(s) during the happy hour.

This improves company culture for a number of reasons. First of all, who enjoys working on a Friday afternoon? Anybody who says they do is a liar! But seriously, most people check out shortly after lunch on Fridays.

Secondly, it allows our employees to talk to each other and have regular access to leadership. It allows leadership to be seen as normal people and to actually interact with employees in a non-professional manner. Since implementing this in June of 2020, 3 months after COVID was declared a pandemic, we saw an increase in productivity and collaboration. It really goes to show alcohol & coffee really does bring people together.

Kalo Yankulov, Encharge

As a small bootstrapped business, company culture was not always a priority for us. Stretched out between development, marketing initiatives, and other more tangible things, we weren’t talking much about inner-team communication, building relationships, and the overall happiness of the team. We quickly realized that had an impact on our employee retention and the performance of the team. To improve the culture in the workspace, we decide to focus on a few key practices:

Autonomy – we give our team as much autonomy as possible and provide the self-governing power they seek. We’ve seen that this skyrockets the team’s productivity and overall motivation.

Align the team around a revenue goal – autonomy without accountability is anarchy. When we align all team members around a common company-wide revenue goal, people become more team-focused and revenue-driven.

One-on-one meetings – regular conversations between the founding team and employees is the easiest way to keep a pulse on the team’s happiness and implement changes to keep employees satisfied in the long term. And, no, team meetings are not a substitute for one-on-one talks. We are talking about personal, transparent conversations between the CEO (or another C-level person) and individual team members.

Tarun Gehani, Pure Visibility

As the SEO Director of Pure Visibility, I’m not only responsible for managing the SEO strategies for our client accounts, but also for managing the SEO team. Before this position, I ran my own marketing consulting company. In both of these roles, having a strong and consistent company culture was vital to the success I have seen.

Here are some areas I’ve seen work first-hand in setting the stage for good company culture, which, in turn, contributes to company growth.

Align the work to a larger purpose. Making the connection between the day-to-day work and the larger business goals or what the company stands for as a whole helps to not only align each individual’s efforts, but helps everyone to feel they are contributing to something bigger.

Highlight the human side of business. Too often, companies treat employees as replaceable. Perhaps to a certain extent they are, but you’ve hired them for a reason (and hopefully more than just their skill set or experience). Each individual is unique and contributes their unique perspective and ideas to the business. Have one-on-one check-ins with your employees or teammates to allow for open and transparent communication (and not just performance reviews).

Encourage growth and recognize success. Most times, people tend to focus on mistakes or only talk about what can be improved. This is important, but shouldn’t be the only conversations you have with your team. Positivity breeds positivity and a happy team that feels seen and heard is more likely to engage, give it their all, and produce at higher and more efficient levels than those who are just doing enough to “get by”.

Simon Everest, Thriiver

Embrace diversity

Here at Thriiver we 100% believe in embracing diversity, and in particular, neurodiversity. Awareness of hidden disabilities has been growing rapidly and the impact of the pandemic and the lockdowns faced by the UK’s population has also seen a spotlight shone on mental health and wellbeing too.

Yet the awareness and understanding of neurodiversity is sadly lacking. In the UK roughly 1 in 7 of the UK population are neurodivergent, but less 50 of those people actually know it.

Our focus is on what it is people excel at, everyone has things they are good at and things they find more challenging. For those who are neurodiverse the difference between their strengths and weaknesses tends to be far greater than those who are not.

Whilst they may struggle with reading comprehension to a level where they need instructions told to them not written down, they may have genius level spatial reasoning ad that allows them to envisage an entire building in their heads and draw the blueprint.

Often those who have a neurodiversity have skills that would be extremely beneficial in an office but are untapped because employers don’t take them on! Neurodiverse teams are capable of coming up with more creative solutions to problems and are better at addressing the, from different angles. How can a team think outside the box if all its thinkers think the same way?

It’s good for business too

The 2016 Cone Communications Millennial employee Engagement Study found that just two thirds of millennials consider companies social and environmental commitments when they are deciding where to work, a many as 64% stated that they only wanted to work for an employer with strong corporate social responsibility values.

What often prevents employers from seeing neurodiversity as a strength is both anxiety over what they won’t be able to do ad over how much effort and money reasonable adjustments will cost them. What many employers don’t realise however is that the average cost of making reasonable adjustments for an employee is just £700, compare that to your companies recruitment costs.

Erman Ergun, Jotform

Embracing different opinions and respecting each other’s ideas is the first stepping stone because you cannot build a strong culture without a strong foundation. This foundation comes from the employees acknowledging each others’ opinions and trying to create a synergy with the different ideas rather than fight about them.

Justin Herring, YEAH! Local

1. Incorporate Transparency

Transparency benefits everyone, not just employees. A transparent business culture has a positive impact on the entire organization and results in highly engaged personnel.

A successful company culture is built on the basis of trust. If you want your firm to have an open and transparent culture, the first step is to make sure that your employees have access to current communication and collaboration technologies.

Outdated communication technologies may be a huge roadblock to openness, especially if you’re working with remote employees and offices.

It’s critical that your staff be able to communicate with one another and share critical information quickly and easily.

Another important step to take, in addition to strengthening your communication and collaboration tools, is to just default to transparency.

This is more of a conceptual adjustment than a logistical one. Ask yourself, “Is it definitely necessary to reveal this?” rather than “Is it absolutely necessary to hide this?”

It’s that simple.

2. Share Your Difficulties

There’s a reason you recruited the best and brightest people in the room. You’re offering possibilities for the team to come up with solutions together by being transparent about the issues you and your firm are facing.

This doesn’t imply you have to disclose every detail of every logistical obstacle, but when it comes to addressing complex problems, multiple heads are better than one, especially when those heads come from different backgrounds.

Rhianna Robertson, Dyspatch

What’s one of the most important aspects of building a strong company culture? Allotting time for your team to have organic, personable interactions. Think about ways you can prioritize getting to know unique interests and then leverage them. Making this a focus helps create deeper interdepartmental connections, gives visibility to different skills and backgrounds, and opens up opportunities that exist within your organization right under your nose.

Some activities that are popular at Dyspatch include impromptu crossword breaks, scheduling small group “coffee” chats with employees who may not have the chance to connect naturally, and internal lunch & learns. The ability for an employee to share a passion while taking on an educator role builds confidence, communication, and better working relationships. Try reaching out to some highly engaged employees who can act as advocates for your events and even facilitate an event or two.

Rhianna Robertson, Culture and Community Coordinator at Dyspatch

Steve Hawky, Digital Silk – A creative digital agency

If you want to improve company culture, you need to make meaningful relationships with the people you work with. It’s no secret that getting along with your coworkers is important. At its most basic level, it means you’re going to enjoy spending time with them every day and feel comfortable asking for help when you need it. 

But positive office relationships can go beyond what’s essentially a very selfish desire, which is why investing in improving your company culture can benefit everyone: by creating a positive environment, office harmony and team spirit will foster more creativity and better communication within groups. The result? Better work and less drama. It’s important that you make sure everyone at work is on board with one another and knows what they’re doing. Whether it’s posting a quick status update or making sure you have regular meetings to go over things, being proactive about communication can help ensure that no one feels left out or confused. 

If a job isn’t getting done, take time out of your day to find out why instead of assigning blame after-the-fact. It also helps if you set up a weekly (or daily) team lunch or happy hour so everyone can bond together and talk about their week. Good communication saves time for yourself and for everyone else on your team because everyone will know exactly what needs to be done when tasks arise.

Rachael Bassey, Databox

Undeniably, investing in company culture is crucial for attracting top talents and retaining existing employees, boosting employee morale, fostering open communication, and so much more.

The question however is how do you get to this point? Here are some strategies that have worked for us at Databox:

1) Creating a team nickname: Databox playmakers

We’ve found that by having a team name that everyone connects to, we’ve been able to create a sense of purpose within ourselves (in a way that reflects our spirit and how we work and grow as a team) and attract individuals that share the same values as we do.

2) Open communication and Transparency:

At Databox, transparency is very important to us. When it comes to team activities and performance, everyone is kept in the loop, thanks to tools like Slack and Asana, we share weekly updates, post wikis, and we also have channels that encourage team members to freely share their ideas, concerns, feedback, etc.

3) Regular Team building events

We’re a remote-friendly company, distributed across various countries, but we never fail to schedule physical and virtual team bonding events regularly. This we’ve found to be very effective in getting team members to relax, and connect deeply with each other.

4) Providing room for growth and improvement

We have a channel on Slack called Quickwins, where we share small wins, big wins, give shoutouts to team members for doing great work, share client feedback, etc.

This we’ve found to be a performance booster. Asides from that, we have career plans mapped out for most teams, which makes it easy for team members to set their Databox career goals accordingly.

Additionally, we have a book club, where we encourage playmakers to take personal ownership of their learning.

Matt Redler, Panther

Improving company culture can be a tough nut to crack, and when you add the extra layer of remote work (with employees logging in from different parts of the world) it can be even harder. One of the most important ways to build a solid work culture is to make sure your team is bonded and that each person develops trust with both colleagues and management.

Here’s one way to make that happen:

Use your meeting times wisely. At Panther, we’re huge proponents of asynchronous communication. But as a remote team, we also know that there is a time and a place for meetings (like team building activities, virtual water coolers, or manager one-on-ones).

Diving a bit deeper into the latter, when you do have a one-on-one, never cancel it. Take advantage of this time to bond with your team member and find hidden issues your remote employees might be dealing with like productivity, energy levels, whether or not they’re happy with the team, etc. All of this can affect the team as a whole.

Avoid using these meetings to take care of business that can be done asynchronously, like distributing tasks. When you run effective one-on-ones, they can be one of many ways to help build trust, and in turn, an engaging company culture.

Irma Chachanidze, Clario

In 2022 (at a time of lockdowns, globalization, and other processes that change the life and thinking of the entire planet), corporate culture’s level directly impacts whether a business can grow, compete, and remain sustainable.

According to my observations, the key to creating a strong corporate culture are the following statements:

– values common to the whole company will work if they are true and not invented in a vacuum. Therefore, it is important to conduct research, involve as many employees as possible in creating values, abandon abstract formulations, and be specific and consistent in what the company voices as the basis of corporate culture and how the company ultimately operates.

– the most motivated are those employees who create something for themselves or feel that they are part of a significant process. This is what should be kept in mind at all stages. Hire those who share your values, your dynamics, and those who can be your potential client. Involve employees in creating a product, support and develop the ability to leave feedback and bring something new. Pay special attention to how you part with employees because former employees also broadcast your corporate culture.

– corporate culture should adjust to the present. In the times of remote teams, focusing on personal freedom and shifting focus on life in the work-life balance, it is important to take this into account and meet the needs of employees, creating the most comfortable, transparent, and fair working conditions.

And summing up, I want to highlight that the corporate culture is a rather complex and continuous process that needs to be built on all team members’ principles of environmental friendliness, openness, and co-authorship.

Evgenii Pavlov, flair.hr

Firstly, figure out what’s your current company culture is and make improvements based on that. At flair.hr, we believe it’s all about fostering connections between the people. If there’s no connection, it’s hard to do anything else. Once you improve on that and get people talking, collaborating, and paying attention to one another, you’re halfway there.