Now more than ever, companies need to create cultures centered on employees. Strong cultures create effective working teams that attract top talent, while weak cultures can quickly lead to burnout or employees heading for the exit.
Companies facing these high stakes are eager to create a place where employees want to go to work. But they can struggle to find the right person to own culture. Who will invest in leading their organization's unique blend of people and purpose?
Latane Conant, CMO of 6sense, an account engagement platform, sees the tie between a company delivering great customer experiences and having great employee experiences. She has made it her mission to develop an employee-centered community unified by a common purpose.
Conant shared with me four key perspectives on how leaders can build meaningful company cultures:
1. Build trust through transparency
Companies need trust to create a productive community and culture, which derives from honesty and openness. While leaders may be forthcoming with each other, Conant says that transparency should be extended throughout the organization.
Conant advises executives to create a clear and transparent vision and detailed plans, and then revisit the company strategy regularly.
Conant also says marketing teams and its senior leaders must embrace and champion strategic transformation. "Marketing has to evangelize new strategies and set the tone for everybody else," she said. "They have to wear it proudly, nail the pitch to their coworkers and be the cheerleaders your company needs to make the transformation work."
2. Prioritize connection
In companies, connection happens constantly, and Conant says good cultures prioritize communication and connection. To foster healthy connections, she recommends shoutouts and public feedback recognizing employees working the strategic plan. She is also a firm believer in the all-hands meeting.
"Do not skip your all-hands meeting! It should be treated as a sacred space, where your employees gather to talk about what matters most," Conant said. "Once you start blowing off the meeting or rescheduling it constantly, you lose your chance to keep everyone focused on the company's strategic plan and vision."
3. Lead by example
While leaders work to agree on company direction, Conant says they should also gather feedback on how teams perceive their leadership. Like the all-hands meeting, she encourages leaders to conduct at least biweekly one-on-one meetings with employees to have two-way conversations and help employees achieve their own career goals.
Conant also believes leaders show trust by providing examples of their own experiences -- both successes and failures -- when they talk with employees. While it's scary to start, she says leaders who model the openness they preach will find it happening organically within their teams.
4. Have more fun
Conant encourages leaders to ask their employees what they enjoy doing, then incorporate fun into the day job. Make work a place people want to be -- beyond perks like a snack-filled fridge.
Conant is also using data to evaluate her office's "Fun Factor." Her team deploys a biweekly survey asking how much fun employees had. She reviews the results and determines what changes to make to bring more fun into the job.
Most importantly, she says, leaders have to model fun. "If leaders want their employees to take part in trivia nights or karaoke, then they have to get up and sing along, too."
Whether it's championing the strategic plan, creating open and collaborative spaces or having fun, intentional planning and commitments to community help companies create a place employees want to be.