Company Culture is a Mindset

Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first. Why do you go to work?

Is it ONLY “to get paid?” or “to make money”? If so, then my next question is…

Do you ENJOY it? Do you really, truly enjoy what you do? Are you so excited that you can’t stop talking about it?

Should we enjoy our jobs? I say, without a doubt, yes! We should absolutely LOVE what we do every day because it’s such a significant part of our lives. I believe it is possible. It’s possible if we’re willing to search for the place we belong or create it!

What percentage of people show up, glance at the clock every hour, and go home to mentally prepare to do it again tomorrow? I always wonder what happened, because it’s not likely they were always that way. If you were ever one of those people, you may have resorted to “it just has” to be that way. Maybe you didn’t know what was missing or how to fix it. Perhaps you left in hopes of finding something better, only to start looking again in a few short months. But, why? What makes a place a good fit or not for you, and how can you tell before you accept the offer?

Unstuck

I felt stuck at one time in my life. I got up every morning and went to work because I got paid. There was no choice, or so I thought! I was very comfortable after working there for many years, but I felt like everything in my life was “have to.” At one time, I was learning and growing and loving it…and then suddenly I wasn’t learning or growing or loving it anymore. I used to be excited to go to work every day. Slowly the culture changed. I could do my job relatively easily by then, but the opportunities to learn and grow were dwindling. I kept showing up for a long time without realizing that I could get paid almost anywhere.

When I finally snapped out of it one day, I knew that what I was really missing was the passion I once had there.  What I needed were new opportunities to learn and grow, and the opportunity to collaborate with people who were as passionate and excited as I was. I needed challenges SO big that I would have to grow, personally and professionally, to be able to solve them. That, I quickly realized, would be much harder to find than a place where I could get paid a decent salary.

Create It

When I decided that I wanted to own a small business, I knew that I wanted to create a place where company culture was not an afterthought. With the help of my co-founders, my husband and my best friend, we created the company not just for ourselves, but for those who are innovators and pioneers. We created it for those always striving to achieve more, who are driven by a passion for learning. It’s for those who are collaborative and supportive of others’ goals. You may have heard of it. We called it Resonate Learning.

There aren’t many things that are easy when you start a company, this I knew. But company culture – that was one thing I knew I could do well from the start, because it’s what drove me to this entrepreneurial journey. Helping others to achieve their goals and dream bigger is my passion, and that in addition to an exceptional customer experience was the basis of our early vision of our company.

Now that we’ve been up and running for several years, I can say it’s one of the things I’m most proud of: our unwavering dedication to exceptional company culture.

It’s not as easy as I expected. Much to my dismay, passion doesn’t just make things so. But, after seeing the impact of a strong and positive company culture on my team’s development and exceptional level of customer service they offer, it’s more important to me now than ever that as we continue to grow, we stay true to that vision and make a significant impact in the lives of our teammates, partners, and communities.

Belonging

When I conduct interviews, the candidate almost always asks me if they can see a copy of my Employee Handbook. Of course! But…why? What are they looking for exactly?

Is it the benefits? I bet it’s our no tolerance policy about x, y, and z, isn’t it? … You know, the one that every company has, but far too few companies actually implement.

Although we all need benefits, I don’t think that’s why they’re asking for the Employee Handbook. But just in case, I have to say that our benefits are really good, especially for a small business, because our team comes first. We want you to have the best we can possibly offer. And we actually don’t tolerate jerks. In fact, we try our best not to hire them at all.

Recruiting, on-boarding, benefits, perks, compensation, PTO, 401K, professional development, and performance management all contribute to company culture. At least, that’s what you read all about on the websites that rank company culture, right?

I think what people are really looking for when they ask to see the Employee Handbook is to figure out if they’ll fit in. Will they easily feel connected and really belong before they take the leap?

Ambition

Many people that I ask about their career plans don’t yet know exactly where they want to take their career. As long as they are truly ambitious, I get excited to hear they aren’t yet sure. I know that we can help them to grow and create a career that they are passionate about. Some people may not agree with me on this, but I believe the company has a huge role to fill here in developing even the most experienced professionals. We all have room for growth, and that’s the mindset I’m looking for.

When I’m evaluating a potential new teammate, I also look for integrity, humility, and an overall good fit for our company culture. I can train anyone for the skills they need – for crying out loud, we’re a training company! But I can’t change someone’s values, attitude, personality, excitement, passion (or lack thereof). I certainly can’t make them have integrity. All of those things have to already be part of their personal values. When they are, they’ll feel like they belong here and enjoy making new connections with our team.

Company Culture

Company culture is hard to convey in an interview or a blog post. It’s almost never written in an Employee Handbook, nor should it be. It’s so much more than one interaction, more than one written document can convey, and more than benefits and compensation and PTO and flex-time.

Company culture is…

  • A mindset. It’s a set of beliefs and values shared by teammates that leads to a feeling of belonging, connection, and passion for what they do and who they serve.
  • How we treat our partners and customers, especially when they’re not around.
  • Putting your team first, because your team determines the experience your partners and customers have with your company.
  • Being authentic to who you are and who we are as a team.
  • Seeking and valuing diversity of people, opinions, and skills.
  • A willingness to get sh*t done, even if you have to work all night to do it once in a while…because that’s what passionate, committed people do.
  • A willingness to help one another, even if it means that you have to work a little longer.
  • Realizing that people are human and sometimes even the best of us have a bad day, or week, or month.
  • Celebrating successes – big or small.
  • Seeking out challenging and interesting projects.
  • Supporting teammates in their personal and professional development.
  • Living your core values of integrity, ingenuity, collaboration, and commitment to enabling the team to make “it” happen while still being genuinely good people.
  • Choosing partners and teammates who subscribe to similar core values, too.
  • Valuing the ideas of the team – community/collaboration over competition!
  • Feeling connected to people, and knowing that you belong.
  • Celebrating mistakes – they’re proof that you’re trying!
  • Never saying “good enough” – yes, finished is better than perfect, but there is a balance there that this statement doesn’t address; being finished is not good enough – find the balance.
  • Having the confidence to figure it out, because you know that no one will ever criticize you for taking initiative
  • Leaving at the end of your work day with a full to do list and a sense of accomplishment for today.
  • Knowing that someone will share your enthusiasm, because even the smallest wins matter a lot to someone who’s putting forth great effort.
  • Being comfortable that your small business corporate ladder may be short, but the sky is the limit for growth and opportunity for those who are ambitious.
  • Saying yes to most things that are positive – yes to learning, yes to risks, yes to new opportunities and adventures, and yes to celebrating big.
  • The fact that we’re all human. We make mistakes. We own them. We fix them.
  • Knowing that there is not one project or even one task that can be accomplished by an individual alone because you are a team and each individual is made better because of the people around you.

At Resonate, WE define our company culture because our company culture is US – the team.

We’re building this company to make an impact and leave a legacy. We don’t want people to work FOR us. We want them to work for themselves, for their own dreams. Our values, our culture, and our passion play a significant part in teammates pursuing their own passions and achieving their own goals through the work that we do. That’s what our company culture is all about: authentically good people, pursuing our passions, and making a difference in the lives of our customers and users.

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