Recently, YEC spoke with Kelsey about her employee management and company culture experience. Her best advice is below.
What interview question do you always ask potential hires and why?
What is something you’ve taught yourself recently?
Our best employees are those who are incredibly intellectually curious and good at teaching themselves new skills. I don’t care if they have taught themselves inbound marketing or the banjo, what I’m really looking for is how they go about developing a new skill, how they measure their success, and whether their eyes light up when they talk about learning.
What makes your company culture unique?
There’s a level of trust that allows our employees to have open, productive conversations about every aspect of the organization. These conversations result in new service offerings, changes in our organizational structure, team outings to food pantries, and other great things that give our employees ownership and a stake in Influence & Co.’s future. They aren’t just an “employee.” They are part of something bigger.
I truly believe that company culture is simply a reflection of what you reward and punish. Since we reward individuals who respect others, strive to improve the company and are a team player, we’ve cultivated a culture with many of those individuals, which I think is really special.
How can you make sure team outings or activities appeal as best they can to all employees?
- Try to hold events during work hours. After-work activities are good, but making sure you have an equal balance between after work and during work will ensure those who have other commitments, like families, pets, etc. can partake in them.
- Change things up. Happy hours over drinks are great, but there’s a chance some employees don’t wish to hang out with co-workers only over beers. Same with activities that require a lot of physical activity. If you have a field day, throw in some spelling bees or trivia to appeal to a broader audience.
- Lastly, ask your team! Don’t assume that because the most vocal people always want to do team volleyball and drinks that everyone on the team does. Send out anonymous surveys asking for unique team bonding ideas.
What’s your best tip for keeping a personal touch to onboarding and training as you grow?
- Have your recruitment coordinator (or whoever their first POC is) reach out to them after they’ve accepted the job to congratulate them. Have them ask for their address and send them a swag bag so they get it before their first day.
- It’s the time for direct supports to lay the foundation for the employee-employer relationship. Be available. Know your onboarding process and who your trainers are so you can have meaningful check-ins. Ask for feedback. Continuously evaluate your onboarding and training. Make improvements based off of your new hires feedback.
- Make sure you schedule lunch for them on their first day with a few team members. The first day can be so nerve-wracking for new people. Don’t make it worse by having them awkwardly ask others if they can tag along for lunch. Set up a welcome lunch with employees you know will make a new person feel welcome.
What’s one quick, easy way any company at any stage can invest in their company culture?
There’s not a quick fix for culture. It’s about fostering it from the top down. An impromptu happy hour or doughnuts in the morning are nice, but not as impactful or sustainable as building relationships and trust — something that starts before an employee’s first day.
One good easy way to start is by asking your team what they value. Don’t assume that everyone thinks a ping pong table makes for a good company culture, but instead survey the team about what things they are seeking in a company culture and then start to determine your action plan from there. Just asking the question opens up the conversation to lead to a more positive company culture.