Presented by TriNet
How do you create a company culture that empowers your employees to keep growing and gives you a competitive edge? Learn about what makes a successful company culture, how to strengthen your culture to align with your organization’s values and goals and more in this VB Live event.
“Company culture is unbelievably instrumental in driving your top-line and bottom-line goals,” says Deepa Gandhi, co-founder and COO of the handbag brand Dagne Dover. “Often people get too focused on hitting KPIs and target revenue goals and forget that the people are the ones who actually drive that.”
For Gandhi, it’s a simple equation: If you have happy people, workers who are excited to come to work, and excited to work at your company, then they’re going to be that much more motivated to do their best job. Customers feel that energy, sense when a brand’s external image is matched by the energy of its people, she says.
“We started our company saying we wanted to make sure we didn’t just sell great handbags, but we also wanted to build a company with great culture, female-forward, and flexible,” she says. “And we hire for culture.”
That, she says, is the number-one rule. Of course, table stakes for recruitment is ensuring a candidate has the requisite skills to do the job. But a job interview should focus on establishing the relationship and culture fit from the start. You want to know who this person, is, what they care about, and what they value. You want them to know about your company, who you are, and how you like to work, and ensure there’s strong cultural affinity.
Even somebody who doesn’t have as much experience, but seems really promising can be a strong cultural fit. “You could have the most experienced person out there, and if they’re not a cultural fit, they can end up being toxic for the team,” she says. “Hire for culture, because if you don’t bring in people that support what you’re trying to build internally, it’s all going to break down in the end.”
To create a positive company culture that attracts and retains that kind of talent, listening to your employees, to your teammates, to your co-founders, is pivotal. You may have a specific perspective on what you believe is a positive culture or a positive workplace experience, but that might not be what your employee finds important or what they’re ultimately looking for in a career.
“Being able to listen and then adjust and evolve your team culture accordingly — that makes a massive difference,” she explains.
Another piece is incentivizing people based around culture. For performance evaluations, it’s not enough to look at an employee’s technical or job performance – it’s critical for Gandhi and team to look at how they contributed to the culture.
“The ones that go above and beyond to build a better, stronger culture for us, we reward them for that, and it becomes a motivating factor,” she says.
This kind of environment, in which your people feel welcome, accepted, and valued, directly contributes to innovation. A flat hierarchy should cast a wide circle in the brainstorming and creative process, where everyone’s voices hold equal weight and purpose – as Gandhi says, you never know where a great idea will come from.
Contrast that with organizations that have built stiff barriers between cross- functional partners. “I’ve worked at other companies where the design team did not want to hear from anybody else at the company,” says Gandhi. “Especially in retail companies, your creative and design team hardly interface with the more analytical business and financial side of the company. As a result, you end up often having an imbalance where one overpowers the other, and one feels undervalued.”
At Dagne Dover, the finance and analytical side of the business don’t dictate to the design side about what to make and how to sell, but share data and analytics with their counterparts, and make decisions together. Creative partners bring new ideas to the business side for input on making them work from a revenue perspective, and launch products in a way that optimizes not just for creative and brand goals, but also revenue goals.
“Our thesis is, let’s empower each other through the decision-making process,” she says. “It’s a great conversation, and one you don’t see often enough.”
To learn more about why a good company culture is so essential, what makes a culture great, how to encourage employee passion and buy-in, and more, don’t miss this VB Live event.
Register here for free.
Attendees will learn:
- The importance of culture as a driving force for competitive advantage.
- Actionable tips for creating a more inclusive and connected culture that can help you attract and retain employees.
- Strategies that you can use for reinforcing and sustaining culture that helps create ownership and shared accountability.
- Deepa Gandhi, Co-Founder and COO, Dagne Dover
- Kristine Gunn, Executive Director, Talent and Organizational Management, TriNet
- Stewart Rogers, Moderator, VentureBeat