"How to Build a Great Company Culture in 2020"
Below is an article originally written by Kristy Friedrichs, Chief People Officer at PowerToFly Partner New Relic, and published on January 27, 2020. Go to New Relic's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
Before I became Chief People Officer at New Relic in early 2017, I worked in management consulting for more than 15 years. That meant I got to work in a wide variety of corporate cultures—the good, the bad, and the truly unphotogenic. I've come to understand that while approaches differ, the best ones always focus on this core goal: How do you create an environment where employees are excited to show up every morning and do their best work?
I believe there are three main things leaders need to get right. They are simple in concept, but tricky to achieve. You need to provide a clear and exciting mission and create an environment that helps employees learn and grow. And you need to foster a sense of belonging. Said another way, most people want to contribute to something important, grow their careers, and have fun.
1. Connect people's work to a broader, meaningful mission
In my experience, nothing is more powerful for employees than knowing that their company has a positive impact on the world. Paychecks are great, as is camaraderie, perks, and other trappings of corporate life. But having that higher purpose is huge.
I see it all the time at New Relic, which—fortunately for me—has just such a mission: to help our customers create more perfect software and digital customer experiences. While many people think a great mission has to involve nonprofit work or contributing to lofty, altruistic causes, we are proof it's not so. At a time when software is core to how businesses interact with their customers and how humans get things done in their lives, the people who build, sell, and support our products have a clear sense of the impact they have on the world.
2. Help employees learn and grow
While each of us has our own definition of what it means to build a career, one common element is the desire to learn and grow. Everyone wants to know that their current job will expand their skills and experiences, and position them for the next step on their career path—and that they won't have to wait decades for it to happen. Fortunately, as a fast-growing company, we have the opportunity to do just that. Over the last three years, we have celebrated over 1,100 promotions, 600 department changes, and 100 geographic moves. And we are just a few thousand employees.
Don't just leave such movement to occur on its own. Think strategically. For example, many of our department switchers came out of our tech support group. Five or six years ago, we had a problem with people leaving the company because they felt their career paths were blocked. Now, around 20% of the group transfers every year into new departments.
This is good both for these employees, and for the company. While turnover from one department to another leaves a department with a hiring challenge, we call that "good attrition" because it keeps the talent at New Relic. Promoting or moving people is a far better result than losing them. And these employees are often particularly valuable to the company as they see problems from new perspectives. In the case of tech support, our employees have experience diving deep into customer issues and solving problems, so they know the products cold. They also have deep empathy for customers and the challenges they face. Whether they go into sales, marketing, or anywhere else, such experience is invaluable.
3. Create a sense of belonging for all
Everyone deserves to feel like they belong at work and to make this a reality, you need to meet employees where they are. While people have different reactions and needs, everyone benefits from a sense of community—a place and culture that has your back.
Creating a great community starts with the recruiting process. While there's something to be said for culture fit, we think it's more important to think about "culture add." Rather than look for people who will immediately fit in, be on the lookout for people who can bring fresh perspectives. That's why one of our five corporate values is "authenticity." We believe that people can only do their best work if they feel safe about bringing their full selves to work.
Diversity is a key part of the solution to building this sense of community. Our leadership team and our full employee population are committed to learning and growing to ensure our team shares that sense of belonging, so it permeates everything we do.
It's a new year and a chance for new beginnings. What will you do to build a great culture in 2020?
I sat in front of my CEO to discuss several complaints of racism. I was new to my role as a Culture Director. I was nervous about his reaction to the complaints. But I also knew he strongly supported developing this new department; I knew that he would take the right steps. So I was shocked when I heard him say sheepishly, "I don't know, Noelle...all of this stuff about racism. I just don't see it. I don't even see color. I'm pretty much color blind."
Living in the midst of a pandemic has brought about a whole host of changes and challenges for workplaces and employees. One of the most notable? Virtual interviewing. With most on-site interviews on hold for the foreseeable future, it's important that you be prepared to make a great first impression—virtually.
A five-step framework for addressing systematic racism at work
The world has changed in the past few weeks.
We're watching corporations and organizations across the world come out in support of Black lives in droves. Many of those organizations are doing so for the first time in their history.
Women Founders & CEOs Share Their Tips
If you're anxious about looking for a new job right now, you're not alone. We've talked before about how you can land a job in the midst of COVID-19, but today we wanted to share advice from some of the experts who spoke at our inaugural Diversity Reboot Summit.
If you're struggling with perfectionism:<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="824ce73e30a279a266a5dd91047dd6f5"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/y58Luzbv_vw?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><em>Reshma Saujani is the Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, the international nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and change the image of what a computer programmer looks like and does. Since her viral TED Talk, "Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection" resonated worldwide, Reshma has been on a mission to inspire women to leave socially-ingrained perfectionism behind and rewire themselves for braver, bolder lives. Reshma talked with Zeryn Sarpangal, Chief Financial and People Officer, Code For America, about how women can work to be brave, not perfect, as they look for new opportunities. </em></p>
If you're looking to pivot into tech (and land a remote job):<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="80353e84513d2d043db309aaa94d457a"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZaPMxG_5C40?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><em>Adda Birnir, CEO of Skillcrush, shares her tips for getting the skills you need to land a remote job, even if you don't have a tech background. Skillcrush is an online tech-education company that helps their women make a career change into tech. </em></p>
If you need an inside connection:<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e38baadbe67361bff0eb4b95a5d2ade3"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/gjK8kjosZe8?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><em>How will we connect with others professionally as social distancing continues? During this session, Kristy Wallace, CEO of Ellevate Network; Natasha Green, Sr. Local Communities Manager at AnitaB.org Initiative; and Dee Poku-Spalding, Founder and CEO of WIE (Women: Inspiration and Enterprise) share their expert networking advice with Organized SHIFT CEO Landi Spearman.</em></p>
Since the brutal murder of George Floyd, the demand to take a strong stance against racism has swept the nation.