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Culture Code and How Communication Plays a Role

Regardless of the size of your company and your position within the company, culture comes into play. It shapes the way you work, the people you hire, and your general life within the office. For some, it’s the deciding factor of joining (or leaving) a company.

Some of the best examples of a strong corporate culture include Amazon, Salesforce, Zappos, Apple, and Netflix. Three out of the five include “transparency” and “communication” in their values.

From my own experiences, I have always appreciated working for companies that keep its employees informed; people like to be kept in the loop so they feel a greater connection to the work that they are doing. Whether it’s through one on ones with your manager, weekly team meetings, or regular company-wide town halls, there is something about being updated on company goals, progress tackling top issues, and upcoming events that make employees feel like they are an integral part of the company’s success.

At Fuze, we’re in the middle of defining our core values but we’ve already made progress on opening the curtains and improving internal communications through the use of departmental newsletters and regular town hall meetings with our executive team using our video conferencing technology to connect each office, no matter the location.

Earlier this month our Director of Talent Acquisition, Nell Heisner, participated in a panel on this very topic alongside Eric Trickett of TripAdvisor, Sarah Lawless of LinkedIn, and Mike Hebert of edX at LinkedIn’s TalentConnect event in Las Vegas. The panel was a great mix of maturity in the lifecycle of defining corporate values.

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Here’s a recap of the discussion:

It’s never too late to get started. TripAdvisor has been around for 16 years, but only recently rolled out its core values. Upon its start, the company followed a simple mantra of ‘speed wins’ but over time the phrase didn’t necessarily speak to the full culture of the company. After surveying its 3,300 employees, the company was able to zero in on what mattered to current employees and get buy-in on the process. The same message relates to our progress at Fuze. After being in business for 10 years, we’re focusing on defining our values with our team of Fuzers. Prior to our explosive growth, our CEO Steve Kokinos interviewed each candidate to ensure there was a good culture fit.

It’s not a one size fits all approach. Each company described a different path to defining its core values. One jumping off point was a mantra from the CEO. Another began its core value project early on during the company’s inception and now, 18-24 months later, are beginning to review and tweak the initial values so they better match the company culture today. And at Fuze we are utilizing employee surveys and small internal focus groups to bubble up key ideas and themes which will be presented and voted upon. There are also consultants who can come in to help companies formally define core values.

Values are measurable and trackable. One theme of the panel was how attributes/characteristics/experiences are predictors of future performance and how to align them to core values which may be a mind shift for recruiters and hiring managers. Instead of focusing on assessing skills, it’s time to think about how to source and assess for values and competencies. To make this actionable, the panel recommended pre-populating new interview questions around each of your values so you can start to collect some data on your candidates. For example, if “Relationships Matter” is a core value one of the questions could be “Tell me about a time when you had to put your needs aside and help a co-worker or classmate” or “Tell me about the best working relationship you’ve experienced and what made it so great.”

Overall, defining core values isn’t a linear process. It’s not a one and done type of project and it can happen at any time during the maturity of a company. Whether or not, “communication” makes it into our final list, we’ll be sure to share the progress on our core values initiative once the project is rolled out along with sharing more #FuzeLife experiences.

Amanda Maksymiw

Amanda Maksymiw

Amanda is responsible for setting and managing the Fuze content marketing strategy including creating, producing and publishing engaging content. Throughout her career, she's worked with fast-growing tech companies and VCs on developing content marketing, influencer marketing and social media strategies. Amanda received her BBA in Marketing from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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