Got Culture? Company Culture that is.

By Kathleen E. Murphy

I have had the fortune of working at two of the best companies in the US when it comes to outstanding company culture, and I credit Lou Shipley, CEO at Black Duck, and Gail Goodman (former CEO) of Constant Contact for their support of allowing their company cultures to be genuine and not contrived. This is not easy to accomplish, and it’s not by chance their corporate cultures are impressive, as they work on developing their culture every day, with the help of many others. At Black Duck, Tim Kenny has the title of Vice President of Culture, and he embodies how to practice and make a company culture that even Google would be jealous of. Here’s a link to a YouTube video of one of Tim’s famous office antics, accomplished while the person was out of the office. This should give you a good sense of Black Duck’s culture.

Are technology companies the only companies who understand and embrace the importance of having an amazing company culture? I hope not, but there are also industries who are well known for their lack of a healthy corporate culture, and they know who they are. Is this a badge of honor for them? I certainly do not think so, as the benefits of having a strong and positive corporate culture cannot be underrated, as outlined in an article and infographic by Eric Siu, Contributing Editor at Entrepreneur.  Sure there is a cost to creating and maintaining a corporate culture, but I would argue there is more evidence to support why you should invest in “upgrading” your corporate culture, than not investing in this area.

There are varying degrees of what effort it takes to create a corporate culture, and if you think of creating corporate culture from an analogy perspective, and as a way to remain fit and visiting the gym regularly, you are on the right track….pun intended. Some examples of creating a corporate culture would be to start slowly, and by forming a small group of people in the company who are genuinely interested in making it a better and more fun place to work. Next, this group can brainstorm on ideas they can apply to help develop their corporate culture on a monthly basis (e.g., Black Duck employees make waffles every Wednesday, and call the event “Waffle Wednesday”). The company invested in some commercial grade waffle irons, assign people to procure the ingredients, cook and clean up each week. It is a really fun activity, and most of the employees in the company participate in the activity at some point during the year. Another idea would be to capitalize on inviting some food trucks to your parking lot, especially if you are in a large building complex. Or, perhaps you could have a monthly themed activity which everyone can rally around (e.g., Cinco de Mayo), or Pizza Friday’s or Potluck lunches once per month. You could also have sports themed days, where people wear their favorite professional or college team’s shirts or hats to work.

The bottom line is, corporate culture does not have cost tens of thousands of dollars to support, and it can make a significant contribution to helping your company retain employees because they are happy working at your company. Reach out to me if you would like additional “free” ideas on what type of low-cost corporate culture ideas I can recommend for your company, or if you have ideas to share with me. It delights me to see other companies working on improving their company culture, knowing how much fun it can be to work at a company with an amazing corporate culture. As I shared earlier, I’ve been at them, so I know this for a fact. Don’t delay and start today on making your corporate culture the one everyone wants to work at.

This blog is dedicated to Tim Kenny, who I admire for his amazing creativity and talent to create a corporate culture which both Disney and Google would be impressed with.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

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