What is company culture? It starts with great ideas from great employees — like Kazoo Solutions Consultant Shawn Bell, winner of Kazoo’s Culture Code award for Q4.
Every quarter, Kazoo celebrates our company’s culture by highlighting employees who make Kazoo a great place to work. We took a few minutes to chat with Shawn about how to build workplace culture, plus, how all companies can crack the culture code.
How is great company culture created? Does it come from the employees or the company?
At Kazoo, the culture starts with the employees, because we’re the ones living out our values and injecting our viewpoints into the platform every day.
I have worked in other organizations where it wasn’t necessarily that way. And it can feel kind of stifled — a top-down thing from leadership who don’t necessarily understand their people. While you want to have support and some kind of overarching theme from the company itself, people are the ones who drive positive culture forward.
What advice would you give employees who want to build company culture?
Actions speak loudly. It helps to find a tribe of people who share some mutual feelings or interests and create a groundswell. It can start with something as trivial as sports or TV Shows and morph into company-related initiatives. That might be cross-functionally, or directly in your department. But being able to create some commonality, and to infuse that in everything that you do, is so impactful.
We went through a major M&A last year. How did our corporate culture transition and thrive?
Our two former companies both had a great culture, and we had the opportunity to kind of tie into each other once we joined forces and rebranded to Kazoo. As employees, we had a unique ability to be the experts on what we wanted, and make our voices heard.
One thing that was really impactful was figuring out our new core values as a company. Employees led the decision-making exercise, and I served on the subcommittee. Many companies have core values — but you may only seem them during orientation, and never again. There’s really no way of being reminded of what the company values most.
When we were trying to figure out what our common core values were for Kazoo, we leveraged our product as the guiding light. We could be reminded of what people were recognized for, what those values looked like when they were put into action, and overall, what we value the most as a company. Finding examples of our culture in our platform during that exercise is something that I found really impactful.
How would you describe the culture at Kazoo?
It really is people-led. That’s part of what’s interesting about Kazoo. Our platform enables everyone in the company to appreciate one another, whether that’s peer-to-peer, top-down, down-up and every which way in between. It allows us to get a good sense of what others are working on. That cuts down silos and makes us feel connected. We all have an air of appreciation around us, which is so important.
What’s your favorite part of coming to work every day?
The people! In any job I’ve ever worked at, I’ve always said the people. But here, we’re all kind of a unit, because we’re all tied together by this platform. Everybody gets the opportunity to shine with each recognition. That leads to people being happier at work, and wanting to see each other, and connect with one another. It’s really impactful, and one of the best parts of our job.
Any final tips? How do you build great organizational culture?
Listen to your people, and see that culture grow from the ground up.
Shawn’s not alone
Human resources thought leaders are increasingly turning an eye toward the link between strong company culture and employee engagement. The consensus is clear. Whether you’re running a small business or a huge organization like Google, culture matters.
Let’s transform your organization’s culture together.