Corporate culture may be synonymous with perks, free lunches, and gorgeous open office spaces, but according to Greg Schott, it all comes down to hiring the right people. He would know a thing or two about creating a strong corporate culture--Greg is the CEO of MuleSoft, an integration platform company recently ranked by Glassdoor as one of the best places to work. The company has also repeatedly received other awards for being a great place to work.

MuleSoft has seen amazing progress recently; it has doubled the size of the company every year over the last few years. With that comes an increased number of employees and customers and more potential challenges to corporate culture. But for MuleSoft, it all comes down to communication and treating employees and potential employees with respect.

According to Greg, open offices and employee perks are nice, but they aren't what makes a strong corporate culture. No amount of free massages or unlimited vacation can fill in the gaps of a lacking corporate culture. The real crux of a strong culture comes from three things:

  1. Are the right people on the bus? The most important aspect of a corporate culture is the people. After all, it's hard to change the culture once it has been established with a bad combination of employees. Corporate culture is strengthened through team players who can push through problems and solve issues creatively for the good of the company.
  2. Is the culture as transparent as it can be? Everyone in a company should know the goals and progress of the company and how they play a role in its success. At MuleSoft, employees come together for an all-hands meeting after every board meeting to be updated on the state of the company. Nothing is kept secret or done behind closed doors.
  3.  Have employees caught the vision? Employees at all levels need to buy into the vision and mission of an organization to create a vibrant culture. At MuleSoft, employees and visitors alike constantly comment on the enthusiasm and energy in the air, which comes from employees who are passionate about what they are doing.

The basis of MuleSoft's strong corporate culture comes from its great track record with hiring. As the CEO, Greg interviews every potential employee--he racked up more than 500 interviews in a single year--to make sure they fit the mold and are what the company is looking for. MuleSoft even shuts down operations from time to time for a hiring blitz where employees take to their personal networks to refer potential employees. In the MuleSoft model, employees are the foundation upon which a strong culture is build. Without that base of excited, skilled, and engaged workers, everything else falls apart. Greg's management style could be summed up with his idea to think of the employees first because they are what drives the business. At MuleSoft, the goal is to create a pool of strong employees who feel inspired by their co-workers.

Although every organization is different and faces different challenges and obstacles, building a corporate culture from a core of strong employees can set the stage to create a supportive and successful environment that employees and customers want to be involved in.

Taking a corporate culture back to basics and believing in employees can make all the difference--just look at the trophy case of awards at MuleSoft to prove it.