Company culture matters—to your current workforce as well as your future hires. A landmark Glassdoor survey found that nearly 80% of workers “consider a company’s culture” before applying, and over 50% feel that a good workplace culture is “more important than salary.”
As part of our newly launched SogoX Business Leadership Forum, we recently explored this issue during a 45-minute roundtable discussion titled “Why positive corporate culture is critical for marketing success in 2023,” which can be watched here in its entirety.
The roundtable was led by Laurie Flanders, Sogolytics’ VP of Strategic Sales. She was joined by a panel of experienced credit union leaders, which included Kathy Scarbrough (VP of Marketing at All In Credit Union), Lynsey Thrash (HR Supervisor at Gulf Winds Credit Union), and Hampton Sipper (Marketing Specialist at All In Credit Union).
Laurie and the three panelists had an enlightening discussion about the importance of corporate culture, the role of leaders in shaping that culture, the best cultural initiatives to pursue, and many more related topics.
For a taste of the discussion, here are a few of the questions and key takeaways that were discussed:
What is corporate culture, and why should leaders care about it in 2023?
We talk a lot about the importance of a strong corporate culture, but what does that really mean? And moreso, why does it really matter?
- “Our culture is our character,” says Kathy. “It’s the personality of your organization, and it’s really what makes you unique.” She argues that a strong corporate culture can be a big differentiator from your competitors, an asset for attracting talent, and a huge revenue driver.
- Lynsey says Gulf Winds Credit Union’s culture is oriented around the values of care, innovation, integrity, and growth. “We want to keep quality employees, and we do that by creating an environment that people want to work in,” she explains.
- Laurie says that one of the best questions to include in an employee engagement survey is “Do you have a best friend at work?” While it might seem like an odd question, it can be a good gauge of company culture. People who are genuinely engaged often find a “work bestie,” while those who are less invested are less likely to form meaningful relationships with their coworkers.
What are some real-life examples of successful company culture initiatives?
Even if you recognize the importance of a strong corporate culture, you may not know how to go about building one. What sort of actionable items should you prioritize in order to enhance employee engagement?
- Lynsey says that Gulf Winds Credit Union’s CEO hosts regular “meet and greets,” taking a small group of seven to eight employees to lunch so that they can directly share their thoughts and opinions. The meet and greets alternate between groups of VPs, assistant VPs, and lower-level employees.
- Kathy says that All In Credit Union’s volunteer program has been their most successful cultural initiative. “We actually pay employees eight hours a year to give their time to something they’re passionate about,” Kathy says. The credit union also provides grant funds to some of the organizations where employees volunteer, helping build bonds with the community.
- Hampton adds that All In has an “idea exchange,” which allows employees to submit any suggestions they have for the credit union. Every idea is reviewed by the executive management team, and then shared with the rest of the company. If an idea is adopted and ends up saving the credit union some money, the employee is reimbursed!
How can you inspire leaders throughout the organization to focus on corporate culture and employee engagement?
Culture changes typically come from the top down. So how do you get the leaders at your company to buy into cultural initiatives?
- “We really put an emphasis on our mission, our vision, and our values,” says Kathy. “We actually have small little pocket cards that everyone can carry around to learn what those core values are.” By reinforcing those ideals across all levels, the credit union ensures that everyone is “speaking the same language.”
- Hampton says that All In Credit Union’s 12-month leadership training academy was a great way to learn leadership skills, and also connect with people across separate departments. It’s a professional development opportunity that teaches future leaders the importance of culture (among other things).
- Lynsey says that Gulf Winds Credit Union requires all of their leaders to conduct monthly one-on-one meetings with their team members. During those meetings, employees establish goals that tie into the credit union’s vision and mission statement, which they then regularly revisit.
More ways to build a stronger company culture in 2023
Though we’ve listed multiple action items above, you probably have more questions. For example, how do you decide which cultural initiatives to deploy in order to have the greatest impact? And how do you track the success of those initiatives?
You can hear the answers to those questions and more by watching the full roundtable discussion here.
Future SogoX forums will focus on a variety of topics, including high inflation, escalating customer expectations, and a job market in constant flux. The forum will feature lightning talks, roundtables, webinars, and other opportunities for professionals to engage with like-minded peers. To learn more about upcoming live sessions, view recorded conversations, and find opportunities to get involved as a speaker, click here!