Recently, YEC spoke with Brandon about his employee management and company culture experience. His best advice is below.
What interview question do you always ask potential hires and why?
“What did you love about your previous job?”
I’m hyper-sensitive to the answers a candidate gives about their most recent employer. Any question that leads them to speaking, hopefully honestly, about their last boss or their old co-workers is one I want to ask. I’m looking for insights into how the candidate may or may not fit into our culture, and always on standby for any red flags like completely bad-mouthing a previous colleague or boss.
What makes your company culture unique?
PolicyZip is a relatively young company, but we’re trying to continue with the relaxed culture my partner and I had with our previous businesses. I think what makes us unique are our choices on where to invest in our culture. Here’s an example: our employees are likely to be given the cheapest desk that Ikea sells, and they’ll have to assemble it, too. But come Friday? We’ll rent out a beer garden and the tab is unlimited. That’s our culture.
How can you make sure team outings or activities appeal as best they can to all employees?
It certainly changes over time. When you have 10 people, it’s easy to know what everyone’s personality is, and you don’t have to worry as much about planning or even liability. At 40 people, you need to be more aware. We make sure our company activities appeal to everyone by constantly taking stock of who makes up our team, and keeping an open door policy for communication directly with management.
What’s your best tip for keeping a personal touch to onboarding and training as you grow?
Every new employee should interact with management or the owners. Let them know you are accessible, and let them know you are a human. Laugh about something. Break the tension, and remove any form of unnecessary bureaucracy. Last week, we played pickup soccer and my team was all the interns. That sort of thing.
What’s one quick, easy way any company at any stage can invest in their company culture?
A daily huddle. Or any daily ritual that involves everyone at the company. At our previous company, we created a company pledge (all in good fun). Every day at 3 p.m., we’d stop what we were doing and all go to the roof and recite it. It was a joke, really, but it broke up the day and created an opportunity for everyone to chat and catch up.