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How to build a Bold and Magnetic company culture

May 2, 2018

 

Some readers will totally disagree with this direction of thought. Still, we want to lay it out as it touches fundamental HR issues. 

 

When we meet with prospects, the discussion usually starts with benefits - how we can improve the employee benefits package and deliver it in a more engaging way. But soon after that the discussion usually shifts to company culture. 

 

Why is company culture is important?  

 

Unique employee benefits help stand out in the job market with a unique offering. That’s right. They might help attract candidates and also prolong their stay. But the right company culture is the non-material world which in fact is the main reason why employees tend to stay longer and go extra mile for the company. 

 

It means great company culture helps: 

  • Motivate employees - increase their productivity

  • Improve job satisfaction 

  • Increase retention - employees stay longer with the company 

  • Improve recruitment - employees refer new candidates from their friends' circles. 

 

 

Who are we building the culture for? 

We should think who are our current and future employees. Mainly, these are Millennials and future generations. What are their characteristics? What are they looking for in job and life in general? 

 

From the psychological perspective: 

  • They want to be encouraged often 

  • They strive for instant gratification 

  • They want freedom 

  • They care for the cause

  • Therefore they also want to feel their influence.  

 

From the practical perspective: 

  • They are mobile first, always on their phones

  • Very well informed and educated 

  • Enjoy flexibility in terms of when, where and how to work

  • They are social and want to belong to a group. 

 

 

Bold Magnetic company culture 

We believe that a company culture that answers the needs of next-generation employees, has 3 key driving forces: 

  • It trusts employees as grown people 

  • Therefore it gives power to employees and with power, also flexibility

  • And it puts emphasis on continuous relationship building between team members - create new social ties and strengthen the existing ones.  

 

But what does it mean in practical, execution level? 

 

There are many options how to materialise such approach to company culture. I will list some of them, which, in my opinion, are the most important: 

 

 

1. Ditch the carrots. Grown people are motivated by mission, not carrots

What that means - pay a good fixed salary that provides for human worthy life and take away all financial incentives and carrots for quantitative achievements. You should expect that, with time, this will create a culture where employees will focus on company mission and company goals and strive to achieve them, instead of focusing (or, most often - freaking out) on their short-term quantitative targets, thus killing creativity, innovation, cooperation and long-term growth of the company. 

 

Yes, we would like to say that intrapreneurship is a myth unless you give sufficient shares to the employee. Because, otherwise, it’s just a fake - entrepreneurship is real only when ownership dimension is included. 

 

Do you really mean only fixed salary without bonuses? 

Yes 

 

Even for sales reps? Are you nuts? 

Yes. No. 

Even sales reps, in the long run, will be more productive if driven by mission and company goals, while receiving a good fixed salary. 

 

Set your salaries in a human worthy and competitive level. Cancel bonuses. Cancel financial incentives for quantitative results. Watch people mature. Watch innovations spark. Watch longterm growth. 

 

And watch Daniel Pink’s Ted talk: www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation

 

 

2. Give power and flexibility. Grown people know the balance between private and company interests

What that means - let people make decisions between private and company interests on their own. In practice, we’ve seen great companies doing many things, including:  

  • Unlimited vacation. Yes, that’s right. Employees can have an unlimited paid vacation. Expect your employees to treat this option responsibly as grown people. 

  • Unlimited work time flexibility. Employees can choose when they start and finish their working day, how many hours they work this week and how many next week - as long as it’s 160 a month average. 

  • Unlimited workplace flexibility. Employees can choose where they work - in office, at home or in a cafe - and no permission needed to go continue work at home in the middle of the day, unless in-person meetings are scheduled. 

 

Now, this all starts to look like freelancing, right? Well, yes and no. In fact, you can read many articles that Millennials are going to become mainly freelancers (e.g., here: www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/12/predictions-for-freelance-work-education), but that’s not what they want - people want freedom over freelance. And still, have stability. That’s where companies with the above mentioned culture will win. They will create a culture that attracts employees like a magnet and helps retain them like a magnet! A Magnetic culture. 

 

 

3. Inspire non-financial rewards and gratitude

After all that being said, we still want to talk about rewards and gratitude. But not financial. And not necessarily tied to quantitative results. 

 

Companies need to think about how to reward their employees for culture level achievements and good works. 

 

And how to express gratitude for great attitude and work done. 

 

Knowing Millennials (always on their mobile phones, need instant gratification and often), that comes to a conclusion that companies need a framework, a tool, that answers those needs - a mobile tool that lets share nonfinancial rewards, acknowledge good deeds and do it instantly and often. 

 

 

4. Build team relations continuously, not only once a year in a team retreat 

The reason why employees tend to go the extra mile and stay with the company longer, usually, are peer accountability and great team relations - they like being around those people and don’t want to leave them behind with unfinished projects and unfulfilled promises. But, I think, here I don’t need to persuade you that great relations are, well, great for business - same as that water is wet. 

 

But how to do that? How to build great team relations continuously? I believe, we again need to look at who we are building it for and what are their characteristics. Millennials are social, want fun in their lives, are always on their smartphones. But you can’t build great relations just through a smartphone. Even after a Tinder match & chat you go on an actual date, right? 

 

That means, we need to blend mobile tools and real-life interactions to build and sustain team relations. And we don’t mean here Tinder for work, by no means. We mean mobile tools that are appropriate for business, for corporate culture, but that are sparking new social ties and strengthening existing ones. 

 

What are the typical touch points? 

  • when a new employee joins the company 

  • when we see a loner 

  • when we see closed groups of people

  • when we see a tension between people 

  • when we want to celebrate a team achievement 

  • and many more situations that either call for or are good for relations building. 

 

Our role 

This is where we - Motivio, step in. We provide mobile tools to build a Magnetic company culture, that include: 

  • Build great team relations

  • Inspire non-financial team rewards and peer accountability

  • Provide power and flexibility. 

 

Go to www.motivio.eu to find out more. 

 

 

We will be glad to read your comments about the thoughts expressed here! 

 

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© Motivio 2018