Komen year 4 – today our BuzzBack Gives Back program sauntered to Central Park for the Annual Komen Race. We were there to support an important cause but also to support each other. One of us wears a pink number, and we are proud to run with her. That’s just one reason we join together. That’s what teams do.
To build a business you need to build a team – and when you build a team like ours, the passion, focus and commitment is on fire. It fuels growth and contagious energy clients want to experience.
Our team (shown) might have been dwarfed in size by our clients’ walking/running side by side with us today – Team Pepsi and Team Pfizer to name a few- but definitely not our spirit. It’s loud and evidenced by the work we do every day in key innovation initiatives for them. And it’s super obvious in our dynamic culture.
And when you really do it well the team takes over. They organize the effort, design great research, and exceed client expectations. Every day. My mentors told me that would happen – build a great team, an award-winning culture, and your business will really grow. They were spot on.
And then it all becomes just a walk (or run) in the park.
Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg’s installment last week to their NYT series Women At Work seems to have gotten more than average attention and social chatter. “Speaking While Female” focuses on why women stay silent at work – whether because of institutional, corporate cultural or societal norms that discourage them to vocalize their opinions and ideas. This is especially true in male dominated organizations – for example, it seems to be more magnified in the technology sector where women represent only 17% of the population.
As a long time career woman, I totally get it. In my previous life, I had found myself the only woman in corporate meetings or on leadership teams where my gender and youth stifled me. I often wonder if on some level this frustrating smothering is what pushed me towards entrepreneurship and the embrace of a non-traditional (read: male dominated) organization, determined to challenge cultural and workplace paradigms.
As a woman-owned company and with employees who are predominantly women, I like to think BuzzBack is not like that. I was reassured just the other day when a colleague referenced the article this way to me: “Have you seen that piece about ‘Manterrupting’, Carol? It’s just not like that here at BuzzBack.” Phew!
But that doesn’t mean we aren’t in danger of some other biased-based bad behavior. When focusing on engaging and empowering employees, company leaders like me need be conscious that the floor is open to all comers. It’s my job to make sure everyone – not just the ladies – has a voice. This includes men, millennials, mature workers, what have you. Just like market insights, multiple perspectives provide richer understanding, more creative solutions and opportunities for innovation. And, at the end of the day, we’ve seen that when our team brings their whole selves to their job, and are actively heard and included, it absolutely results in a stronger company providing the best service possible.
Nota Bene: We are expanding our team so send us your resume… we’re listening.
In case you missed it, there was a great article about HubSpot and the importance of corporate culture. The headline alone reflects how I feel about a company’s culture and how important it is to maintain your culture as you hire and grow, and I think Brian Halligan hits on all the key points. Your culture is who you are and it can be a competitive advantage.
At BuzzBack we have 5 core values that depict our corporate culture. I didn’t make them up, we came up with them as a team. In fact, collectively, we all arrived at the same core words through brainstorming about 3 years ago, and we formalized these as our Core Values. For BuzzBack, it’s about the team. More than 35% of our employees have been with BuzzBack for 5+ years. And 40% of new hires are employee referrals. Can you imagine how powerful that is? When we hire, one of the things we make sure is that candidates fit this ethic; and when someone leaves, it’s usually because they reach a point when they don’t fit with our culture any more.