"5 ways a CEO can help build a sustainable company culture: Guru’s Rick Nucci"
Below is an article originally written by Guru cofounder and CEO Rick Nucci, and published by Technical.ly Philly on October 24, 2019. Go to Guru's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.The image above shows Guru's company values. We view them as our lifeblood.
When done well, company values guide us on how we truly want to operate both as a company and individually as we do our daily jobs. They should be a part of every decision made, which means they must have room to grow and change as a company matures. By treating your values as a set of living principles, you'll be in a position to build a sustainable, flexible and growth-oriented company culture.
When we decided to formalize our values at Guru, it was because we'd reached a point where we were about to start growing rapidly. Before that point, we were able to look around the room to reach a consensus, but we knew that going forward, we needed to identify our north stars around how we wanted to make decisions holistically. How did we want to interact with each other? How did we want to interact with our customers? Who were the kinds of people we wanted to bring on for the long journey?
Here are the five major things we realized as we worked toward a sustainable company culture:
1. Define values that symbolize your great team.
Protecting company culture is one of the most important jobs of a CEO, but no CEO exists in a vacuum. Observe the way your team interacts and identify patterns. Those patterns are clues to what your culture is, and some of them can be defined as company values.
Tap those people who have passionate opinions and views, but don't lose sight of values you feel are not negotiable. For me, those were "don't take yourself too seriously" (because those who do tend to debate out of a desire to be right instead of a desire to learn) and "embrace the journey" (because burnout cultures never endure).
It's also critical to revisit your values over time so that they can evolve as the company grows. Not only does that give you permission to not burden yourself with trying to find the perfect set of values the first time, but it allows you to recognize that A.) what works for a company of 30 people may not work for a company of 300 (or 3,000), and B.) you're probably going to get something wrong the first time out.
2. Values aren't perks.
I believe that trying to out-perk other companies to attract the best talent is a losing proposition. Perks get copied (in a way, they're just another feature set), but the identity of your company — how you define it, measure it and reinforce it over and over and over again — is something that can't be copied.
At Guru, we want to compete for the best talent based on values, not on which perks we offer — and I also know that that means we're going to lose some candidates. At the same time, that means that those candidates who do end up joining are driven by more than just a paycheck (or gourmet chefs, onsite dry cleaning and climbing gyms). They tend to be more mission-driven and more excited about the cause.
3. Be intentional about reinforcing them.
Once defined, celebrate employees who live out your company values. It's a way to show newer employees what behaviors help you live a value.
At every one of our monthly company town halls, we have a segment called "Values in Action" where we thank individuals who embody our values through their contributions. To integrate our values into our workdays, we designed custom Slack emojis for each value, making it easy for team members to recognize each other. Our standard employee review process also includes a score for each value, allowing peers and managers to rate and have a discussion with the employee about how they live them and where there might be opportunities for improvement.
When not a daily part of the conversation, it's too easy to forget values, which can lead to culture dissolving. By keeping these principles at the forefront of everything, you can naturally promote your company culture by showing instead of just telling.
4. Avoid the growth-at-all-costs culture killer.
If culture is one of the last great corporate differentiators, and your hiring process ignores it in favor of "rockstar software developers" (or simply hitting hiring targets for the sake of hitting hiring targets), you're going to lose your culture before you have a chance to even build it.
We use the scorecard process defined by Geoff Smart and Randy Street's book "Who," and our scorecard includes a culture interview component. After defining our values, we break them down into interview questions so we can test for compatibility. The result is an inspiring amount of team compatibility, with a strong ability to collaborate, figure out tough problems and execute effectively. Oh yeah, and they are more likely to be here because they feel connected to the company and the mission, not just equity.
5. New leaders should make culture a top priority.
If you're new to a company that has a strong existing culture, understanding and attempting to demonstrate it should be a top priority in your first six months. Again, this shouldn't solely be a top-down approach. You're going to be working with people who have been functioning — and hopefully thriving — under the current culture.
The better way to approach it is to look at it as you would an existing product with a strong brand. Talk to your coworkers and understand the way they think and operate and learn what they're experiencing and seeing. Look to codify the positives in what you observe and then explain why you've decided to incorporate those into your company values. This will ensure that everyone understands that it's coming out of listening and learning from those around you and that you're responding to what they care about.
Remember that culture trumps strategy. Defining, iterating, celebrating and hiring for your values will go a long way toward creating an enduring company.
This article originally appeared on LinkedIn via the Forbes Technology Council.
Kiana Labuhn, Recruiter at S&P Global, shares an exclusive take on the most important tips to keep in mind when preparing for an interview.
How Bumble’s Director of Engineering Learned to Be Herself at Work—and Encourages Team Members to Do the Same
Rose Hitchcock found out she was pregnant with her third child halfway through the process of interviewing to be Director of Engineering at Bumble.
She told the team at the social media and dating app and that didn't change their plans to hire her. "They were completely fine with it, really supportive," says Rose.
You've met some of them—maybe they're your family, friends, classmates, or coworkers, or perhaps you identify as neurodivergent yourself.
Sharing inclusivity, not stereotypes, at Raytheon Technologies<p><br></p><p>"Raytheon Technologies and our Raytheon Alliance for Diverse Abilities (RADA) Employee Resource Group (ERG) is committed to trying to bring focus on invisible disabilities, as they are among the most misunderstood. Autism/neurodiversity isn't a mental illness and we recognize how important it is to bring awareness, be inclusive of everyone and avoid stereotypes. During Autism Awareness Month RADA is featuring a multi-regional presentation about Autism Awareness & Acceptance, as well as neurodiversity overall. The presentation is focused on educational information, including what Autistic people want in terms of inclusion and meaningful work, as well as dispelling common misconceptions."</p><p><em>Learn more about </em><a href="https://powertofly.com/companies/raytheon-technologies" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Raytheon Technologies</em></a>.</p>
Hiring a world-class workforce at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency<p>"The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency recently launched the Neurodiverse Federal Workforce (NFW) pilot program, a collaborative effort between NGA, MITRE, and Melwood. The NFW pilot aims to help government agencies hire neurodiverse talent for U.S. Federal Government agencies. 'NGA mission success is contingent on a world-class workforce with a wide diversity of opinions and expertise,' said NGA Deputy Director Dr. Stacey Dixon. 'Neurodiverse talent can bring new perspectives to the NGA workforce and make important contributions to the mission.' The pilot is a great learning opportunity for NGA to continue to grow and improve our first-class workforce."</p><p>Learn more from the podcast "<a href="https://www.podcastone.com/episode/The-National-Geospatial-Intelligence-Agency-takes-workforce-diversity-in-a-new-direction" target="_blank">The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency Takes Workforce Diversity In A New Direction</a>"</p><p><em>Learn more about the </em><a href="https://powertofly.com/companies/national-geospatial-intelligence-agency" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency</em></a><em>.</em></p>
Supporting each individual's preferred environment at Elastic<p>"We distribute anonymous surveys that allow anyone, including neurodiverse folks, to address potential barriers that we should address.</p><p>Our accessibility working group acts as an employee resource as well as an equity-seeking team that works to create and develop a disability inclusive workplace at Elastic.</p><p>The majority of our Elasticians work from home. Our hope is that this empowers neurodiverse employees, including those who may be on the spectrum, to have more control over their environment so that they can manage noise and light sensitivity, control their personal space, and manage their own schedule to reduce anxiety."</p><p><em>Learn more about </em><a href="https://powertofly.com/companies/elastic" target="_blank"><em>Elastic</em></a><em>.</em></p>
Pioneering neurodiversity at Freddie Mac<p>"Freddie Mac values the insights and different perspectives that result from employees bringing their authentic selves to work. Our Office of Inclusive Engagement works with several organizations to identify qualified candidates, consider them for suitable roles and pair them with mentors who can help them adapt to an evolving new normal. In 2020, we evolved our neurodiversity internship initiative into a more robust training, education and hiring process called 'Neurodiversity at Work' to directly place candidates with Autism Spectrum Disorders into full-time roles."</p><p><em>Learn more about </em><a href="https://powertofly.com/companies/freddie-mac" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>Freddie Mac</em></a><em>.</em></p>
Decoding inclusion at MongoDB<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTk0NzE2OC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMDY3MTY2MH0.Q-ko6g65MC-epHBrx_vr6k9v-lSawHH5jfhPWOVTozI/img.png?width=980" id="a4487" width="1112" height="626" data-rm-shortcode-id="a686a88d639ff3a91a5a4f6b455ce0cc" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p>"MongoDB supports the neurodivergent community through interview accommodations, providing new hires the opportunity to select equipment and denote special requests, and onboarding checklists broken down into useful sections. To raise awareness about neurodiversity in the workplace, we have a learning and development (L&D) platform which has content on collaborating with different working styles. Our L&D Program focuses on building skills in managing teams inclusively. We also host Decoding Inclusion, a series of events aimed at building community and sharing foundational knowledge about D&I topics, including neurodiversity, to further our understanding of differences."</p><p><a href="https://www.mongodb.com/blog/post/why-now-cool-time-different-steph-johnson" target="_blank">Read more about how MongoDB celebrates difference in this interview with their VP of Corporate Comms</a></p><p><em>Learn more about </em><a href="https://powertofly.com/companies/mongodb" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>MongoDB</em></a><em>.</em></p>
Encouraging allyship at Folsom Labs<p>"At Folsom Labs, we are passionate about building a culture of acceptance and inclusion. Our goal is not just to spread autism awareness but to strive to be allies and elevate the voices of those with disabilities. Now more than ever, this is important as many are facing the added weight of mental health and wellness challenges due to the pandemic. Encouraging allyship throughout the community and building a culture where everyone can thrive are at the forefront of our current initiatives. We are proud to celebrate Autism Acceptance Month — to set a stage where we can celebrate our differences and continue to create a space of inclusion and support."</p><p><em>Learn more about </em><a href="https://powertofly.com/companies/folsom-labs" target="_blank"><em>Folsom Labs</em></a><em>.</em></p><em><br></em>
Recruiting for diverse problem solvers at Dell Technologies<video controls id="7ebf6" width="100%" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d5c114fad218a953432630dfe99716b2" expand="1" feedbacks="true" mime_type="video/mp4" shortcode_id="1617842842194" site_id="17377755" url="https://roar-assets-auto.rbl.ms/runner%2F23124-Neurodiversity_Shortform_0325.mp4" videoControls="true"> <source src="https://roar-assets-auto.rbl.ms/runner%2F23124-Neurodiversity_Shortform_0325.mp4" type="video/mp4"> Your browser does not support the video tag. </video><p>"Dell's Neurodiversity Hiring Program provides professional development training, internships, and full-time career opportunities for neurodivergent job seekers. The program rethinks the traditional interview process by removing barriers that may limit an individual from fully showcasing their skills and capabilities. Additionally, program participants benefit from job coaching and mentorship provided by our community partners and True Ability ERG members.</p><p>A variety of critical positions across the company have been filled through the program. In doing so, we are bringing in diverse perspectives for problem solving that have helped us differentiate ourselves within the marketplace all while cultivating a culture of inclusion."</p><p><br></p><p><em>Learn more about </em><a href="https://powertofly.com/companies/dell-technologies" target="_blank"><em>Dell</em></a><em>.</em></p>
Supporting professionals with autism throughout their talent journey at Deloitte<p>"At Deloitte, everyone contributes to our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Our inclusive culture, empowers all of us, including those with diverse abilities, to connect, belong, and grow. Deloitte's Autism@Work program supports our professionals with autism throughout their talent journey. A customized, autism-friendly assessment process helps draw out our candidates' strengths. Our employees have an internal Coach, an Onboarding Advisor, and access to external job coaching. Our Onboarding Mentor/Buddy Program pairs professionals with autism with other Deloitte colleagues/allies. Through Neurodiversity Training, our professionals can help support and manage our differently-abled professionals. We also have our Abilities First Business Resource Group for people with disabilities plus allies."</p><p><em>Learn more about </em><a href="https://powertofly.com/companies/deloitte1" target="_blank"><em>Deloitte</em></a><em>.</em></p>
Sharing stories to support awareness at Lockheed Martin<p>"Lockheed Martin shares employee stories internally to help others understand Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and hosts internal events to support ASD awareness and education. The Able & Allies business resource group, whose mission is to build an environment that empowers employees with disabilities, has recently partnered with ASD advocacy organizations to offer resources to assist with managing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic with persons who have ASD and their families. Missiles and Fire Control (MFC) is a member of the Florida Ability Inclusion Network and strives to educate employees and leaders on disabilities and recommend best practices to promote a disability-friendly workplace."</p><p><em>Learn more about </em><a href="https://powertofly.com/companies/lockheed-martin" target="_blank"><em>Lockheed Martin</em></a><em>.</em></p>
Kate Jhaveri does one thing every day that she suggests you try: belly laughs.
The EVP and Chief Marketing Officer at the NBA credits her two kids with much of that levity—"They're very silly and they, at least once a day, make me laugh out loud," she says—though she seeks to make those lighter connections with her team at work, too.