The other day, I stumbled across a Huffington Post list of 100 Tweetable Business Culture Quotes. As a self-proclaimed ‘workplace culture geek,’ I loved reading through the inspiring musings from leaders like Jim Collins, Hilary Clinton, and Mark Zuckerberg.
Here are five quotes that especially rang true for me:
- “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.” @simonsinek
- “Celebrate what you want to see more of.” @tom_peters
- “As a leader, you have to be authentic and constantly connecting with employees.” @JeffImmelt
- “Too many rules will stifle innovation.” Sergey Brinn
- “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” @warrenbuffett
A big part of what inspired me to start Cadence Consulting was seeing first-hand how powerful a corporate culture can be – how much impact it can have on employee retention, workplace morale, and the bottom line.
I joined ExactTarget mainly because of the ‘Orange’ culture and the leadership at the heart of that culture. Employees at every level of the organization – from the people restocking the free snacks in the kitchens to the C-Suite – displayed a unique passion for serving customers and one another. The level of teamwork, excitement, and flexibility I saw in day-to-day work is almost unheard of in corporate America.
One of the first things I did after joining ExactTarget was to network with the culture geniuses at Zappos. In fact, it was after a particularly inspiring visit to Zappos’ corporate headquarters that I decided to create a dedicated HR role for employment branding, culture, and creative. I wanted every program, communication, and interaction with my team to be infused with Orange culture. I wanted to brand the employee experience at a level of quality that we would brand the customer experience.
From employee recognition kits (that made it easy for managers to give kudos) to programs like ExactTarget Cuties (that celebrate our new parents), from our Open Enrollment parody video campaign (read more here) to ten-year anniversary celebrations, we put employees first.
In return, our employees gave 110% every day. They treated each other – and our customers – like family. The company experienced meteoric growth around the world, and we did it in a very ‘Orange’ way. And, boy, did the culture resonate with employees.
Case in point: A few weeks ago, an employee decided to form a closed Facebook Group called Orange Crush. Though the employee was leaving for a new opportunity, he still loved the company and wanted a better way to stay connected with current and former employees.
That’s when things got crazy. Word about the group spread like wildfire – all through word of mouth, friends inviting friends. Former ExactTarget employee Kyle Lacy described the frenzy in a recent blog:
“The group currently stands at 1,179 members with over 1,050 photos being uploaded since January 30th. Check that date. We are talking about a massive amount of activity in three days. That’s organic growth of nearly 1,200 current and former ExactTarget employees uploading memories and lessons learned on their own time because they love or loved working for the company. They LOVE the brand. They love the idea of orange. Something else to note — the group also includes customers of ExactTarget.”
It’s that last line that really gets me. If that’s not a testament to powerful culture, I don’t know what is.