Jalinda Franke June 8, 2023
Whether you’ve got years of work experience, or are just starting out in your job search, “company culture” is something you’ll experience and will likely influence your decision to stay with a company or look for other opportunities.
A company culture typically refers to the shared values, beliefs, attitudes, practices, and behaviors in a workplace. You can think of it as the personality of an organization, which influences the way its employees behave and interact with each other. A strong company culture creates a sense of belonging and purpose among its employees, which (research shows and from personal experience) leads to increased productivity, higher job satisfaction, and lower turnover rates.
At Nuvalence, we demonstrate a commitment to company culture, which leads to highly engaged Nuvaliens (see, we even have a clever moniker for our team members, they aren’t just “employees” ?). Read on to learn some of the secrets of our success.
Five Keys to a Stellar Company Culture
There are many factors that contribute to making a company an employer of choice – competitive compensation and benefits, professional development and growth, commitment to DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion), community involvement, to name a few – but having a strong company culture is usually top of mind.
So what exactly makes some companies stand out more than others when it comes to culture? While the list can be very long, I’ll highlight some common characteristics that I believe are most important to a positive company culture.
- Transparency. You hear this over and over and it seems so simple, yet it’s one that a lot of companies struggle with. They use the word, but don’t follow through on their execution. Having open and honest communication is crucial to contributing to a positive company culture. You should feel comfortable and supported to express your opinions, ideas, and concerns.
- Work-life integration. Supporting work-life balance (and integrating that into allowing space for both work and your personal life, so that you can feel fulfilled in both aspects) is crucial to increasing engagement, reducing burnout, and improving overall happiness.
- Collaboration and teamwork. A culture that promotes collaboration and teamwork creates a sense of unity between you and your teammates, and helps to foster a supportive work environment. With many companies being remote-first these days, collaboration and keeping everyone connected remain even more important.
- Recognition and appreciation. Having your contributions recognized and rewarded fosters a sense of appreciation and motivates you to continue performing at a high level.
- Strong values. These should set the expectations you and your teammates have for each other, and the behaviors that should be role modeled.
How Nuvalence Brings the Five Keys To Life
Earlier in this post, I mentioned that Nuvaliens are highly engaged. How do we know that? We average 90+% on our engagement surveys (eNPS, new hire onboarding, DEI, exit interviews, etc.), and while our score is important, so is the amount of participation we receive. Our goal with every survey is always 100% of the team, to ensure all voices are heard. Feedback is the best gift we can receive as an HR/Ops team: it helps us focus on continuing to do what’s working and changing what’s not, and most importantly, the feedback helps us understand WHY things work or don’t.
But HR/Ops can’t do it all alone – it’s a team effort, and one that starts with leadership commitment.
Leaders Who Set The Tone
Another key component around culture at Nuvalence is our highly engaged senior leadership team. This ties directly into the first characteristic I shared around transparency. It starts at the top – those who lead by example are demonstrating that they value their team’s work and are invested in their initiatives. You want leaders who guide and inspire others to do the same as they do. Transparency leads to trust, accountability, and open communication.
Here are some ways that our senior leaders promote transparency at Nuvalence:
- Demonstrate an investment in culture with our company OKRs. “Maintaining a Great Culture” is one of our company-wide OKRs – we measure this by eNPS surveys (employee happiness) and engagement at social events (in-person and virtual), as well as assessing our employee referral rate. These events all focus on creating positive experiences for our Nuvaliens and allows us to make adjustments where necessary to adapt to their needs.
- Share information in a judgment-free way. Our leaders continuously provide relevant information on a regular basis (i.e. company biweekly meetings), including financial updates, company OKRs and progress updates, project team demos/updates, and answering Nuvalien questions. The leadership team wants to be fully transparent and understands sometimes employees are too nervous to ask questions – this is why we provide an anonymous link which allows anyone in the company to ask ANY question they want. 100% of the questions get answered no matter what the topic/question/feedback is! This not only helps Nuvaliens feel more invested in the company, it gives them a platform to share what’s on their mind.
- Encourage feedback. Nuvaliens are encouraged to provide feedback on company policies, products, and services – they can also make recommendations to implement new processes. This feedback contributes to improving operations and building stronger relationships throughout the company. In fact, several current initiatives we have in place today are from suggestions internal team members have made. For example, we recently reframed our traditional Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) as an Outcomes Realignment Plan (ORP). Senior Staff Software Engineer, Scott Hochman, suggested we shift away from the negative connotations of a “PIP” and use a naming convention that better reflects our commitment to building our teammates up and giving them what they need to be successful. It sounds simple, but the impact it made was significant! Our leaders trust Nuvaliens and believe building an exceptional company is done by hiring great people with big ideas!
- Develop clear policies. Clear policies help build trust and provide guidance for Nuvaliens, and (hopefully) eliminate any uncertainty and confusion. There is no shortage of policies or information at Nuvalence! Whether a team member is looking for information on any of our internal systems, onboarding and benefits details, or design and marketing collateral, we have built out a robust Confluence space that houses everything you can think of!
- Create an open-door policy. Encouraging Nuvaliens to communicate with management (across all levels) and providing feedback or raising concerns without fear of retaliation promotes a culture of openness and mutual respect.
- Be honest about mistakes. Our leaders show courage and vulnerability. They take accountability for not only their actions, but for their team’s actions. They don’t point fingers and place blame; rather, they stay humble and provide constant support to help everyone stay committed to learning and improving.
So as you interview with companies, really dig into their culture – ask about their values or company principles. The culture of a company is an essential factor to consider. You want to work for a company that has a positive and supportive work environment that aligns with your values. Research the company’s mission statement, values, and company culture to see if it’s a good fit for you.
Alternatively, think about why you stay at a certain company – what do you place most value on – collaboration and teamwork, work-life integration, company values? A strong company culture is essential to creating a positive work environment where employees feel supported, engaged and motivated to contribute to the company’s success – all things we take very seriously and commit to daily at Nuvalence.