15 Simple Steps to Great Company Culture

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A look at the 15 steps to great company culture at Rustici Software—one of Nashville's "Best Places to Work" six years running.

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  • -we are a software company that works in an obscure niche, but who has a new opportunity to go huge
    -we set out from the beginning to create a company that we wanted to work at
    -we’re not a SCORM company, we’re not a software company, we’re a place Mike and Tim want to go on Monday morning
  • -we are a software company that works in an obscure niche, but who has a new opportunity to go huge
    -we set out from the beginning to create a company that we wanted to work at
    -we’re not a SCORM company, we’re not a software company, we’re a place Mike and Tim want to go on Monday morning
  • -NBJ best places to work 6 years running
    -been in business 12 years, only 3 people have voluntarily left
    -most revenue is recurring or repeat
    -average >97% positive customer service feedback
    -consistent growth rate >20% every year since inception
  • -5/3 customer *almost* since the start
  • -employees love us, clients and public love us
    -this is our most important asset
  • personal recognition of what we wanted our career to be, but it also just makes good business sense
    it’s not altruism, it’s just good business. as a software company, people are our only asset

    - todd asks for balance sheets every quarter, he should be asking for employee and customer satisfaction reports

    -cost of turnover
    -super smart people @ below market
    -tin can opportunity is direct result of people loving us and more importantly trusting us
  • -taking care of our people, take care of our customers, then everything else
    -we’ve passed on opportunities b/c it is beyond what we could do in a sustainable way
  • -people will always have something more important in their lives than work, give them the flexibility to deal with problems and to have amazing experiences that make life worth living. they will pay it back in spades
  • -when you treat people like adults, they act like adults, when you treat them like children, they act like children
  • -this applies to adult oriented policies, but also to expectations of great work, when you expect it, you’re more apt to get it
  • -attitude first
    -our sweet spot is folks who have had a bad job, they run through walls for us
    -team focused people, people who just want to do great work, who take pride
    -the little things matter - change the TP, take out the trash - if you have people who will change the TP, you have people who will go the extra mile for a customer, even if it’s “not my job”
  • -show us you can do things
    -fight hard against hiring B players - spiral, firing a B+ is the hardest thing to do, but hugely important
    -A+ players do 5x as much as 50th percentile
  • -keep people fresh, 40 hours is enough, don’t burn them out, work at a pace that is sustainable for a decade. innovation doesn’t happen behind a computer screen
  • -both from obvious things like harassment or physical safety
    -but also safe to try new things and to make mistakes. failure is part of innovation. the key is to acknowledge it and learn from it
  • -tim and i have argued over everything under the sun, but we have never fought
    -always assume that other party has positive intention, that they are making an argument that they feel is for the good of the whole
    -for that assumption to work, you need to actually do that
    -defer to reason - logic wins, not emotion, games or power - Tim and I almost never play the boss card
    -this applies both to intellectual arguments as well as social remarks, things are often misunderstood when taken outside of intended context
  • -if you can win the argument, we should probably change what we do, but you need to convincingly win the argument and be willing to walk away from your idea if you lose it
  • -every decision is filtered through the lens of “how will this affect our employees”, does it violate any promises, either explicit or implicit. if it does, sometimes that will be necessary, deal with it head on, openly and honestly, don’t sweep things under the rug
  • -don’t force people to go to lame manufactured corporate events, do real fun things and make participation optional, appeal to a variety of interests. “fun” is designed to let people get to know each other in new ways, introduce some competition and give people new experiences
    -one of my favorite things about RS is that nobody goes out to lunch
  • -jenafits shows we are serious about taking care of our people and helps us stand out. it’s a word-of-mouth recruiting tool as much as an employee benefit
  • -but this doesn’t mean you should have an affirmative action plan for gender, religion, race, sexuality, etc, it means embracing different world views and ways of thinking, that’s where innovation and creativity come from
  • -one that shows we value the people and the work that they do
    -create opportunities for socialization, but give people isolation to do good work
    -it doesn’t cost all that much more compared to a person’s salary
    -include some pictures of the office
  • -why don’t more companies think like this?
    -when you consider each of these decisions in the big picture, they are common sense and so obviously right. when you look at decisions in isolation it’s less clear
  • -why don’t more companies think like this?
    -when you consider each of these decisions in the big picture, they are common sense and so obviously right. when you look at decisions in isolation it’s less clear
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