Here’s the thing most experts are hesitant to admit about creating a great culture in any organization: There is no one-size-fits-all formula for doing it. In fact, what looks like a recipe for success in one organization may fall flat in another.
That’s because culture is alive. It’s a living, breathing collective of individuals, each with their unique—and diverse—points of view and life experiences. As a group, we share a mission and a common set of values, but we also share resilience and the ability to adapt to constant change.
So how can you build a healthy, inclusive culture when things will—and should—keep changing?
At SurveyMonkey, our answer is to start by admitting we don’t have all the answers. Instead, we engage with our employees to find what’s working, what’s not—and why. And we don’t just ask for feedback once a year. We check in regularly so that we build an ongoing dialogue with the people who matter most to us about the issues that matter most to them.
In honor of National Employee Appreciation Day, I want to publicly celebrate everyone at SurveyMonkey not only for the excellent work that they do—but also for contributing their voice. Just yesterday, our employees’ opinions helped name SurveyMonkey as one of the 2018 Best Workplaces in the Bay Area by Great Places to Work and FORTUNE.
Employee feedback is what helps us improve as an organization. I love that our employees hold me accountable for any missteps. I know they trust me enough to give it to me straight and that they care enough to push.
We actively gather their opinions on everything: from how we should furnish our HQ, to what values guide how we define ourselves and treat one another, to whether every member of our troop feels a true sense of belonging at work every day.
I’m constantly reminded of where we can allocate more time or resources, and where we can be better. Employee feedback helps us understand exactly how we’re growing and changing, when we should stay the course, where we should focus, and when we should pivot.
The voices of our employees define who we are and how we show up. It inspires industry-leading programs, such as our policy of 16 weeks of paid parental leave for both mothers and fathers, extended bereavement leave to grieve and heal after the loss of a loved one, and the “Take 4” sabbatical, which is four consecutive weeks to recharge after four years at SurveyMonkey.
I’m proud of what we’ve built together. Building a great culture truly happens brick by brick. There is no top-down strategy that works. I don’t code or design any of our products, and our experts in customer service and sales are way better than me in their respective fields. My job at SurveyMonkey is to help our employees do the best work of their lives, and that starts with using the superpower we all have: curiosity.
If you want to continue to motivate, inspire, and support your employees, I’d encourage you to start asking questions. And when your employees respond, make sure you take action! To build a diverse, inclusive, and healthy culture, keep asking questions. Stay curious.