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Leadership Blog:
A High Performance Culture

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How Do You Create a Strong Culture?

by Jeff Gau on September 8, 2017

To mark six years of my Leadership Culture Blog, I thought I would try something new – a live streamed video blog. I’ve done lots of videos, but this time we were live and unscripted.

At Marco, we’ve built a culture around high performance, keeping score and attracting and retaining good people. So, in case you missed the live video, here’s the recording with Sara Lommel, our director of human resources, joining me for a conversation on building an effective culture.

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Every company claims to have a good culture, but few can actually prove it. This year marked our 29th annual employee survey that helps us validate our culture. It identifies opportunities for us to improve and confirms the things we should keep doing. 

Here’s what we’ve learned:

  • Performance matters.
    In my opinion, the foundation for a good culture is strong, consistent financial performance. If you’re not performing financially, it’s very difficult to gain traction with the soft things. There seems to be something people like about working for a growth company versus a stagnant company.
  • Endorse and share.
    A set of shared beliefs and expectations define a culture. Our vision, mission and value statement need to be more than something we hang on our wall or post on our website. You actually need to be accountable by endorsing and communicating them. At Marco, this starts on day one during new employee orientation. And it continues in all customer presentations as well as in customized employee training such as Business Ethics, Finance 101 and LEAN continuous improvement, to name a few.
  • It goes beyond employees.
    Our culture starts with our team members, but it also needs to be felt by our clients, our vendors and communities. At Marco, we’re becoming more deliberate on how our culture is shared with each of them. For example, every client presentation incorporates some of the elements that contribute to Marco being a great place to work.

  • Share it in new ways.
    We continue to explore new ways to share our culture with our employees, our clients, our vendors and our communities. In the past year, we started a Culture Squad, led by two of our millennial team members, to help bring our culture to remote offices and new markets. You can feel our culture when you walk through the doors of our corporate office. Our goal is to have this same feel in all our locations.

Building and sustaining an effective culture isn’t easy, especially as a growth company. Replicating this in all markets is one of our top corporate initiatives in 2017 and will be again in 2018 – it’s a work in progress. Selfishly, building a good culture has helped us attract and keep good people, which contributes to a high-performing company.

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Topics: Leadership, Culture, Work-Life Balance, Professional Development