Start-Ups Now Setting Themselves Apart with Culture

Check out the NYT article about the Amazon-competitor, Jet.com. To be honest, their ubiquitous commercials with people's heads exploding in purple dust were really annoying to me, but maybe I'll take a second look now that I've learned about their culture:

  • They believe in transparency, including making salaries visible within groups
  • They focus intensely on employee needs
  • They hire for collaboration skills

As the economy heats up, culture will matter more (and as I've said many times, regardless of the economy, culture will matter more as the Millennials become the largest segment of the workforce too). And you don't create a strong culture unless senior leadership pays a LOT of attention to culture. You have to invest time and energy in understanding how people experience your culture. That's why all of our consulting projects start with the Workplace Genome to give you some real data to work with.

Real results are on the line here. The article cites research that claims worker happiness can generate up to 12% more productivity. One organization I spoke to recently saw employee turnover fall from 38% to 15% in a year after working intently to get rid of a fear-based culture. They also achieved their strategic goals about a year ahead of time.

But it's going to take a year, particularly if you're shifting a culture. The longer you wait, the greater opportunity you're providing for your competition.

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