After recently joining the Kelton family in April, I’ve been challenged with the daunting task of preserving our values-based culture as we continue to expand and thrive as an organization. Most companies view their ‘culture’ as critical for internal purposes: to attract and maintain the best talent. Kelton has excelled here (making my job a tad bit easier). Perhaps equally important, however, is for a company to understand how their culture can permeate outside of the company – to market and their clients. A successful culture trickles down to the foundation of our company brand in the marketplace. Like the classic aphorism, “happy wife, happy life,” satisfied employees = satisfied clients.
I know what you’re thinking: organize a couple of team-building sessions, buy a few office snacks, throw in the occasional happy hour, and you’ve got yourself a stellar work environment – right? While all of these perks are certainly appreciated by employees, they are not nearly as important as a conscious effort to foster empowerment, passion, and trust in the workplace.
Power to the People
Kelton boasts a deep bench of data-lovers, designers, strategists, marketers, and journalists. At first glance, it seems as if we are a well-oiled machine, segmented by job roles. Many wonder how a group with such diverse backgrounds can form an environment with collaboration and common interests. The answer: contagious passion for the work that we do. Devoting time to share and appreciate one another’s knowledge allows us to grow within our personal areas of expertise, and approach client projects with a unique, entrepreneurial mindset.
Sometimes encouraging employees to tap into the diverse talent that surrounds them requires an extra push. Thought-sharing over bagels, just-for-fun presentations, or randomly pairing colleagues for company-sponsored lunches keeps your team curious while fostering professional development, personal fulfillment, and cultural innovation. Note: free food = more participants (especially at Kelton).
Trust + Communication = Results
The best work arises from a team that trusts each other and is accountable for the same set of goals. Focusing on only traditional, extrinsic motivations (such as commissions or quotas) is a sure way to compromise your company culture. These incentives might get your fast results from your employees in the short term, but they stunt organizational growth over time. Instead, acknowledge the other drivers that motivate your workforce, such as growth or project ownership. Emboldening the power of autonomy and creating a shared vision across an organization is the best way to motivate from within.
This starts with a clear, honest, and direct communication style from the highest level of an organization.
- Avoid passive aggressiveness and assume the best intentions from each other in all circumstances. This creates room for constructive feedback when it’s necessary.
- Set aside time to reflect upon mistakes, and work through failure together.
- Don’t forget to recognize and celebrate successes as a team.
Your Culture is Your Brand
The impact culture has on client relationships is exponential, fostering a transparent, efficient, and positive project process from all angles. Recruiting talent that utilizes and appreciates the values of trust and passion within the workplace will turn a temporary client relationship into a lasting partnership. Understanding the balance between personal growth and company success is ultimately what constitutes an exceptional culture.