Published: June 17, 2019 | Comments
Business guru Peter Drucker's famous quote, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast," has been floating around LinkedIn and in CEO circles for years. In the contact center world, leaders and stakeholders are well-aware of the importance of company culture, but defining and cultivating a positive culture requires thoughtful execution.
As the CEO and President of Callzilla, not only do I embrace culture eating strategy for breakfast, cultivating a better company culture is what I think about while eating a breakfast that includes a super-sized portion of bacon and pancakes, inspired by friend and colleague @SeanBHawkins. (Sean is well-known for his contact center pancake breakfasts) As a contact center, we set goals to increase our QA scores and performance metrics, among other initiatives, but what I have often been pondering over my breakfast every morning is how we can better define and cultivate Callzilla's culture.
We're scrappy, hungry, diligent, and dedicated, and we want our team to feel empowered and engaged every single day. Here are some ways we've gone about actually boosting our company culture.
Culture Through Communication
A few months ago, I rediscovered how meaningful communication drives meaningful culture at Callzilla. I visited one of our nearshore contact centers for informal, unannounced chats with our agents and managers. I sat down in the break room and simply spoke with team members as they took their breaks throughout the day.
Employees were hungry to learn more about Callzilla's roots, what makes us different from other contact center employment opportunities, and where the company was headed. They wanted to know more about me and the state of the contact center industry. The one-on-one setting made them feel comfortable sharing ways we could improve procedures, communication, and of course – company culture. My team was curious, engaged, and optimistic, and it just took sitting down and giving them face time to hear their thoughts, questions, and suggestions.
If we as leaders don't commit to communicating with our employees, openly and honestly, company culture will most definitely still be there, but it might not be the culture we're proud of.
Consider these tips when leveraging communication to boost company culture:
- Hold regular town hall meetings. If you have multiple offices, be sure to mix it up and hold these meetings in different locations, so you're not favoring one office over another.
- Hold small chats. While town hall meetings are critical for sharing company news, wins, and expectations, don't forget the importance of conversations in a small-group setting. Some team members feel uncomfortable speaking up in big groups but are vocal in a small group.
- Understand the two-way benefits of communicating with employees. Spend as much time listening to team members as you do talking to them.
- No matter the communication initiative, be sure to keep it consistent. Scheduling town hall meetings, small-group chats or newsletters, then canceling them will make employees feel like they're not valued.
Your HR Team Should Reflect the Rest of the Team
The Human Resources Department shouldn't just be responsible for hiring, firing, and benefits. This department has the power to bring your company culture goals into fruition. Whether you have a robust HR department or manager for the whole organization, the people or person making up this department should understand the needs, desires, and challenges of the rest of the team.
In Callzilla's case, we made sure our HR team was able to relate to the needs of Millennial workers since most of our agents fall into that demographic. And I'm not talking about throwing a ping-pong table in the break room and calling it a day. I'm referring more to an HR team that speaks on our employees' level, shows interest in their interests, and truly values their concerns and desires. As a contact center, we focus so much on relating to the needs of customers. We took that same level of empathy and applied that to our staff.
Culture Starts Before Contracts Are Signed
It's no secret forming a positive culture starts with the hiring and onboarding process. It was imperative our HR team knew and embraced Callzilla's culture goals while seeking out and interviewing future employees. Our HR team focused on hiring employees who were hungry, diligent, and dedicated because those traits align with our company culture.
During the hiring process, the HR member should be asking candidates about their life experiences in addition to their work experiences. Ask what challenges candidates overcame in and outside the workplace. Figure out if they complement the employees already at your company by having them complete a personality test. At Callzilla, we realize there's no "ideal personality." Instead, we understand a successful team is made up of a variety of diverse employee personalities. Keeping diversity and inclusion in mind before contracts are signed is the best way to build a company culture.
Positive Culture Is On-Going
We understand achieving an outstanding company culture is a constant quest. It's not something to cross off the to-do list so we can move on to other initiatives. Instead, fostering an ideal company culture should be enveloped into every company initiative. We will continue to focus on our contact center culture more than ever. We can't wait to share the short-term and long-term results and how it better serves our clients, customers, and employees. Stay tuned!
Is your team focused on improving culture this year? I'd love to hear what you're doing. Leave a comment.