The difference between a high performer feeling validated and empowered to be their best in their job and that same high performer lacking motivation and losing their edge could very well be the culture of the company they’re operating in. As the VP of People at Forcura, I know corporate culture is a magical mix of many factors: alignment to the business’s core values is right at the top of the list, because so much else cascades from there. And as I shared with the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce’s Health Council on October 2, here’s another hard-earned insight: your culture is only as strong as your hiring standards. Forcura’s hiring managers can all easily recite my mantra, “if a candidate isn’t a hard ‘yes,’ it’s an absolute ‘no.’” That gut-check can save you, and the candidate, the heartache, time and expense of correcting a wrong hiring decision.
Here are more thoughts to keep front-and-center if you too want to cultivate a killer corporate culture.
Connect to your people, especially while remote
At Forcura, you’re part of the team from the minute you’re hired. We survey our new colleagues to discover their favorites, and not long before their start date, new team members receive a box of Forcura swag with some of their favorite goodies sprinkled in. We also connect the person to a “Forcura Friend” who may not even be on their immediate team, but are there to help make introductions, answer questions, and get our new hires into the groove.
Our entire team has been remote since mid-March, and our team building activities haven’t just accelerated, they’ve gotten more creative. Not everyone wants to do everything - some people are devotees of our seasonal competitions (Fall Scavenger Hunt, anyone?), while others are more inclined to join our Mindfulness Monday meditations or virtual yoga classes. The idea is to create moments, or diverse experiences that will appeal to everyone at some point. Do like we do at Forcura, and invest in an employee-led Culture Team who can assist with the brainstorming and execution. And be sure to fund them as generously as your budget permits - more on the ROI of this tactic later.
When we all went remote, video conference calls were probably about as popular at Forcura as they were at your business… not everyone’s favorite. But our CEO, Craig Mandeville, was wise enough to mandate that cameras remain on not just for team meetings, but our all-employee Friday huddles, small group meetings and everything in-between. We can be counted to be the ones with our cameras active when we meet with clients or other stakeholders. No one cares much if your hair is perfect but we all want to see - really see - how you’re doing.
Our People team extended this outreach to include multiple one-on-one phone calls with every single employee to capture responses that gave us a better sense of that collective health. Managers meet with every direct report weekly. And Craig maintains an open door policy, even if that door is now virtual. Our decision to remain remote through year-end, even though our new office HQ will be ready this fall, was based on feedback from our employees. Validating your workforce through active listening and taking action is a huge step towards building the loyalty (and employee retention, Net Promoter Score and recruiting referrals) we all hope to earn.
Keep focused on a brighter future and celebrate your wins
No one needs to be told this has been a year for the books. But for your employees’ sake, be that reliable source of calm conviction that things will get better. Use your weekly gatherings not just to focus on losses but the wins for that week. Every Friday, Forcura’s leaders nominate and select an MVP, or an employee who exceeded their goals, made a positive change, or otherwise is worth holding up as an example of awesomeness for the entire company. All employees can nominate an MVP for the quarter, and winners and runners-up are celebrated and monetarily recognized at our quarterly kick-off. Projecting ahead with business opportunities and giving employees something fun to look forward to in the short term are motivators that remind everyone that hardships are best overcome together.
It’s more than lip-service
We like to say that a career with Forcura is the hardest job you’ll ever love, because we sincerely, actively and stridently invest in our culture so that our employees can perform at the top of their talents. We have earned some pretty thrilling awards this year - including being named a finalist in the North American Most Inspiring Workplaces Award. Beyond the outside recognition, our clients consistently rate our service at 93% or greater. We rose nine points in the most recent Employee Net Promoter Score survey and retained 97.56% of our employees. We rose 28 points in this year’s Net Promoter Score survey sent to clients. And in just the third quarter, we had 975 job applicants for roughly ten postings, not bad for a company of just 82 FTEs. All of this is to say, the ROI of investing in your people, making your corporate values come to life, and adding a healthy, unexpected dose of fun along the way, will yield hard benefits. Put the hard work in, and I promise, you are well on your way to a thriving, killer culture.
Jocelyn Donahue enthusiastically oversees the People Team at Forcura and has designed and implemented an infrastructure where the development, retention, and recognition of the value of the people behind the technology has positioned Forcura as best-in-class on a local and national level. She enjoys Broadway shows, reading cookbooks and occasionally cooking something from them while exploring Jacksonville with her family.