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Top Q&A from webinar: 7 steps to build a great place to work

Earlier this week, we hosted a webinar with TINYpulse on how to build a great place to work. The engaging presentation was led by Limeade Chief People Officer Dr. Laura Hamill and TINYpulse Head of Customer Happiness BJ Shannon. The webinar concluded with a lively Q&A session with Laura and BJ answering HR leaders’ questions.

In case you missed it, we’ve got the 7 steps along with the top questions and answers.

7 steps to build a great place to work:

  1. Invest in employee well-being
  2. Give employees a voice
  3. Value the manager-employer relationship
  4. Actively support growth and learning
  5. Provide regular feedback
  6. Enable and encourage peer recognition
  7. Use all of your HR tools to reinforce your mission


Q&A recap:

Q: What’s your first step in hoping to tackle defining a culture?

Laura: Ask yourself: “what's your aspirational culture and why?” It’s what has to happen for the norms, values and beliefs to succeed. Establishing values is saying: “I want to focus on a small set of features that’ll help define us and become successful.” The next step is to behavioralize them so you can reinforce these values. Limeade had focus groups so everyone had a stake in it and it wasn't top-down. Overall, if you can articulate the culture you want to have and how it connects to your business strategy, that’s a great place to start.

BJ: One question we like to recommend companies ask their employees on TINYpulse is: "eyes closed, fingers crossed, can you recite the company values?" If the response is low, ask yourself, is this something we need to reinforce? Is this something that resonates?


Q: Can you define company culture? How do you go about setting a company culture?

Laura: Culture is the values, norms and beliefs of the company. It’s the root of what’s going on. It’s why we do what we do. Companies that have a big gap in what happens and what they’d like to happen is a big opportunity. I’d recommend having an aspirational culture and then measuring to see how your culture matches up.

BJ: At TINYpulse, we use DELIGHT as an acronym for our company values. Delight customers. Elect to spread positivity. Lead with solutions and embrace change. Increase communication with transparency. Go the extra mile with passion. Hold oneself accountable. Treasure culture and freedom. We try to live and reinforce our values through coaching.


Q: How can HR effectively get leaders and management on-board with these steps? How do I get a CEO to care?

Laura: It’s really hard to do this right if you don’t have leaders who fundamentally value people. If they think of employees as cogs in the system, it’s hard to build a good culture. I recommend figuring out what matters to the leader. If the leader is a relational-type leader, getting employees’ voices heard is a good first step. If it’s a data-driven leader, there’s plenty of research that connects employee engagement and business outcomes to show them.

BJ: I agree. Empathy and caring deeply for employees doesn’t come naturally to everyone.

Laura: Help leaders understand that cultures shapes behavior. Are the shared norms, values and beliefs in place for what you need to be successful? Here’s an example of what that means: A new employee joins an organization the week of a big company meeting and asks “I’ve heard a company leader recently left, can you tell me why?” Right after the meeting, the employee’s manager tells her “Why did you ask that? You embarrassed the CEO!” And because of this interaction, the new employee quickly learns at this company she needs to keep quiet, work with her head down and not ask tough questions.


Q: How does a company on a shoestring budget go about setting up an employee recognition program?

BJ: If you have an all-hands meeting on a regular cadence, have nominations for employee of the month. Or consider starting every meeting by sharing other employees successes out loud. You can also leave employees thank you cards at their desk.

Laura: Think of different levels of recognition. Company-wide and leadership level recognition is great, but also team-wide company recognition is equally important. At Limeade, we want our managers to understand what their individual employees care about so we can provide meaningful rewards. We have each employee take a survey that asks what their preferences are for coffee, restaurants, sports teams, etc. Managers can then send rewards unique to the employee for a job well done. And on a daily basis, we use TINYpulse’s Cheers for Peers.

Also check out low-cost ways to recognize employees for more ideas.

Looking for more? Check back soon for the recorded version of the webinar, see the presentation slides below and download the companion e-book to the webinar: 7 steps for building a great place to work.