Creating a Good Company Culture

7 months ago
Creating a Good Company Culture Image

Our culture is one of our most valuable assets. Fourteen years ago, we set out to create a safe, open environment for employees to grow and thrive. We committed to hiring a diverse staff that represented and embraced our core values, and we listened to them. This year, our work paid off with an official Great Places to Work ®  Certification™ validated by our fabulous team.

Strong company culture can give your company an advantage by fostering loyalty, creativity, and motivation. But what are the ingredients of positive company culture?

In the past 14 years in business, InspiringApps has matured from a flat organization to one with an outstanding leadership team. In InspiringApps’ infancy, our culture was driven by the personalities of the relatively few people involved. But as the company grew, we were careful to emphasize the characteristics that fostered a positive work environment and eliminated any contrary to the things we’ve come to value— empathy, inclusion, and personal growth for our employees. It is much more challenging to make cultural changes with an existing team. So we aim to hire people who share those values from the start. 

What is Company Culture?

Every company has a culture. While it may form organically, greater success will come from consistent cultivation. Intentional company culture combines organizational values and mission with the rewards of employment that come in four main categories: Loyalty-based, performance-based, opportunity-passed, and lifestyle-based. No style is better than the other; it’s dependent on the company and the employees hired. For instance, if your staff prefers lifestyle-based culture—flexible work or other perks—over performance-based culture, including raises and promotions for a job well done, the employees may stay dissatisfied and leave to find a company culture that suits their preference.

The best cultures dovetail perfectly: employees and leaders focus on the same mission and encourage rewards. Discovering the perfect combination, however, doesn’t happen overnight.

Why Do Your Employees Need an Intentional Company Culture?

The job market is booming, with qualified candidates searching for a better way to spend their work hours. A recent survey found that 79% of employees who left their jobs did so because of a lack of appreciation, and 50% said they were more motivated by appreciation than money. This sounds like a job for company culture!

In an ideal world, company culture and performance should work in tandem. Employees who are happy with their jobs have higher satisfaction rates. However, lousy work culture can hurt employees, bringing high turnover rates, burnout, and subpar work. 

Consistency and time are part of the formula for creating an intentional company culture. There’s no shortcut. Influential leaders seek to understand what employees appreciate, what causes them pain, hear their suggestions for improvement, follow through with promised changes, and repeat that process frequently. Intentional company culture benefits from open minds and a commitment from everyone, especially the leadership team.

Quote from anonymous employee:

InspiringApps understands this fundamental truth and implements practices that demonstrate that. An InspiringApps employee explains it best:

“I've never been part of a company or even heard of one that not only prioritizes production and quality for the client(s) but also functionality and comfortability of the work environment. InspiringApps has mastered the balance between keeping the clients happy and keeping the employees happy. For me personally, hours are flexible because of my schedule, and the entire team is always open to communication when I need assistance or have a question. My bosses check in on me to ensure I'm doing okay with my work even when I have not reached out for help. Every other employee and my bosses are truly excited to have me on the team, and make that clear to me everyday, which is why I feel so comfortable and open to expressing my thoughts and ideas on projects.”

How to Develop and Maintain a Good Company Culture

Engaged employees are critical for business success. Experience is the best teacher, and we’ve learned plenty of lessons regarding things that keep our employees a happy part of the team. 

We built our culture slowly and methodically over the past 14 years, and these are some of the most successful initiatives that have inspired more than 40% of our staff to stay with us for more than five years. 

Promote from Within 

Today’s employees are looking for a company with opportunities for career advancement and appreciate roles with a clear path to growth and promotions, as they give them personal goals to work towards. 

Along the employee journey, InspiringApps offers professional development opportunities that help our team stay on top of their skills, expand their capabilities and incorporate new and developing interests. By doing so, our employees are able to have long tenures at InspiringApps, while still remaining competitive. At the same time, we’re able to hire the best candidates for our growing positions, right from our own team.

“I’ve been able to get help in building new skills, speak at conferences, and grow within the company throughout my time at InspiringApps,” said an InspiringApps employee.

As the InspiringApps client roster scaled, so did our team. We promoted long-time employees into our development team lead roles, recognizing their wisdom and honoring their commitment to our team over their tenure.

Offer Excellent Benefits 

Many start-ups, including InspiringApps, may be resource-constrained in the early days. Health and retirement benefits are expensive, so we focused first on benefits that didn’t require a direct cash outlay. Establishing a two-day-per-week remote work policy over a decade ago, accommodating part-time employees, and offering flexible work hours were all low-cost ways to treat our team with respect.

“We’ve had a hybrid remote-work model for many years. Pre-pandemic, this was something that very few companies offered,” said an InspiringApps employee. “It was one of the reasons I chose this company.”

Anonymous employee quote:

As InspiringApps matured, we also added more traditional benefits. In addition to a 401k with match, profit sharing, and a generous and flexible PTO policy, we recently increased the company’s health premium contribution from 50% to 100% and added company-paid vision, dental, disability, and employee assistance (EAP).

Be Inclusive

Inclusivity is a mandate kept top-of-mind in the projects and clients we take on and the staff we hire and promote. In a historically homogenous industry like tech, inclusivity can be a challenge. Through intentional recruiting and a focus on providing opportunities for traditionally underrepresented groups to join the field, InspiringApps is working to build a more diverse team that reflects the users we serve better.

Promoting women in tech is one way we’ve made strides in our company. At InspiringApps, women make up 40% of our leadership team and more than a third of our employees—20% more than the U.S. average.

Promoting diversity and inclusion provides various perspectives, which is essential for the challenges we’re addressing in our consumer apps. We consider it a competitive advantage as we continue to innovate for our clients.

Additionally, we’ve made a concentrated effort over time to welcome new employees. Years ago that welcome included a team lunch on Pearl Street. Since our team has grown, that lunch is now digital – and the efforts to stay be inclusive extend much further than that. Communication and connection is ingrained into the way we set up projects, make progress on initiatives and more.

Anonymous team quote:

Communicate Consistently

Secrecy and unexplained decision-making from leaders lead to unengaged employees. Transparency is the name of the game. About 85% of employees are most motivated when they know what’s happening and why. 

“They place a great deal of trust in their employees,” said an InspiringApps employee. “Even to help make product decisions or suggestions to customers.”

Anonymous team quote:

Open and frequent communication, including stand-ups and all-hands meetings, project or team demos, company newsletters, and social media, encourages employees to gain trust in leadership. Share company goals regularly so that your employees feel confident in knowing the direction they’re working. The more your employees see open communication from leaders and are encouraged to participate in decision making, the better communicators they’ll be with your clients, modeling the positive communication behaviors in everything they do.

Technology is your friend when it comes to employee engagement—offering a Slack channel or other internal chat features, an employee app, or an intranet site where employees can share and talk directly to leaders can inspire a transparent culture.

Conclusion

We’re honored to be recognized as a Great Place to Work. But that recognition is only a small window into the little things that our team is doing every day to reinforce the culture we’ve been nurturing for years. It defines our expectations for the way we treat one another and anyone who interacts with InspiringApps. It certainly makes InspiringApps a pleasant place to work, but we think you’ll also see the results when you work with us and in the apps we create.

 

Building award-winning apps starts with a language that’s foreign to many of us: code. For more than 14 years, our development team has built easy-to-use iOS, Android, and web applications for more than 100 companies in a dozen industries. See our work.

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