Every business promotes their great culture. So how do we stand out? For starters, we constantly have to remind ourselves that our culture is not better or worse than others. It is based on our unique set of Core Values. Our culture is ours and it is evolving.
Here’s how we make sure our culture evolves with our company.
As a business owner, I can’t create or define culture but I can look for ways that it impacts our work and our relationships. My favorite data point is our 100% employee retention in 2016. More than a #humblebrag, that’s a sign that we are doing something right for our teams. As an owner, high employee retention rates and engagement make it easier to grow a business while simultaneously avoiding the costs and lost productivity while replacing lost employees. Our employees’ trust and commitment is the best indicator of this. That is empowering and encouraging for all of us. Our culture also landed us a spot on the list of "Best Places To Work In Virginia” and we took home the ChamberRVA’s “IMPACT Award."
Much of this internal success is built on the strengths and universal acceptance of our Core Values:
- We are ethical.
- We are accountable.
- We are transparent.
- We are empowered to be awesome in work and life.
- We are eager to learn and willing to be wrong.
Putting our Core Values to work
We try to make all of our decisions and review our performance through the lens of these values. Weaving these values into our work and relationships ensures that we share these priorities as we go about our daily business and when we plan for the future of the company.
Admittedly, sometimes we swing too far in the direction of celebrating our culture at the expense of focusing on our work product. Let me explain how that can happen and why we are calling 2017 “the year of maturity."
All of our existing core values focus on the work environment and creating a great place to work. Those are worthwhile goals but we don't exist without our clients and we sometimes forget to include their voices in our internal discussions. Our core values do not need to change but they do need to be reframed in the context of doing great client work.
Each of these statements reflects our attitudes and it becomes easy to see how our principles can be reframed around our work and clients’ successes:
- We hire great people…that create meaningful outcomes for our clients.
- We aspire to do great work…to grow our clients’ businesses.
- We have the tools and resources that we need…to score wins for our clients.
- We support each other…and need to challenge one another.
- We do challenging work…that gets great results.
Time to shake things up
We felt that after a year and a half of having five core values it was time to explicitly create a new value that speaks to our client work.
Now we can speak to each other and review each other's work based on adherence to this client mandate. Without it, we don't have a framework to review our performance based on client results and can’t hold each other to the high standards that we expect from each other and that our clients expect from us.
I am looking forward to more invigorating discussions in 2017 and I am certain that our newest Core Value will fit right in with the others. I can’t see that far into the future but I know we will remain on course by staying true to our Core Values. Living these values daily is the most important success metric we can have.