Defining a Winning Culture
Organization had grown rapidly fueled by strong product/market fit and charismatic visionary leadership. Culture was positive, diverse, and inclusive - but the differentiating strengths had never been committed to words. As increasingly busy schedules and the necessary introduction of middle managers began to distance individual contributors from the inspiring co-founders, certain high performers became less engaged, and the company experienced its first cases of high performer resignations.
Peter drove a structured cross-functional process of documenting the positive culture in the form of carefully validated data-driven company values. The company values language was deployed in job postings, interview questions, goal-setting frameworks, etc. - touching all stages of the employee life cycle. New peer recognition programs publicly honored those who were helping the positive culture scale by living the values.
The values language quicky became part of the company vernacular, providing all managers and their reports with clear expectations of what winning behavior looked like at the company. Scaling the culture became far less dependent on regular contact with the inspiring co-founders. High performer resignations dropped to near zero, employee Net Promoter Scores increased, and employee referrals went from providing <25% of hires to >50% within a 6-month period. And this trend accelerated the process of the already diverse team rapidly become materially more diverse!
Scaling and Promoting a Winning Culture
Organization had achieved a strong internal appreciation of the positive culture, but the company didn't have a strong external employment brand. Business was booming, resulting in a desperate need to quickly hire more staff and make hay while the sun was shining. The company's discerning talent selection process, having a strong commitment to hiring for cultural fit, meant that they needed to fill the funnel with a much higher volume of candidates to meet hiring needs. Absent the necessary inbound applicant volume, staffing agency fees were adding up fast.
Peter secured organizational commitment to building a reputation as a Great Place To Work. The first steps he facilitated were: investing in regular employee engagement surveys, sharing the survey results with the entire team, and having the company devote resources to addressing the most significant opportunities for improvement flagged by the team. Targeted solutions were communicated to the entire team by the most senior leaders in all-hands meeting settings. These solutions were promptly implemented. Then, having demonstrated a commitment to openness to feedback and driving solutions, the company requested that the current team tell the company's story on social media: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Word spread quickly on social media that things were mostly very, very good at the company. Monthly inbound job applications soon doubled. When growing pains (the ugly) were highlighted on social media, the company was quick to respond with solutions to the issues. The engaged staff soon caught the attention of the career sites - adding external validation to the employment brand. One executive was amused to hear from a stranger on a plane that she had no idea what the company did, but she knew it was an awesome place to work. Hiring needs were soon met in key markets with no use of search firms.