Great Place to Work has released their 2022 lists, which in total represent the voices of over 500,000 Canadian employees. At the average Canadian workplace, roughly 60% of employees consider where they work to be “great.” However, this figure rises to 90% among the “Best Workplaces in Canada.”
There are four categories based on size of company. Great Place to Work notes that it is midsize firms (100 to 999 employees) who best hit a “sweet spot for sustainable growth, efficiency and innovation.”
Waterloo’s Axonify, which ranks second in the sweet spot category, is a shining example. Indeed, Great Place to Work gave the company a Spotlight feature, in which Axonify CEO Carol Leaman offers nuggets of wisdom on developing and maintaining an award-winning company culture.
Below are nine key points that stuck with us.
1 . Lead by Example
Proving authenticity matters, Leaman swears that “it all starts with the top.” How she behaves and speaks about her company’s culture makes a difference. The leadership team “is critical for modelling behaviours that are reflective of the culture we want to promote and addressing those that do not,” according to Leaman.
2 . Hire Well First
One of the most determining factors of any company’s culture is of course the sum of its employees. Hiring the right people in the first place makes cultivating the correct culture much more feasible. Leaman recommends looking for “diverse perspectives.” She seeks out those who “exhibit the values and culture that we want Axonify to represent.”
3 . Market Your Culture
One thing you can do to help hire the right people is to be vocal about your values, suggests Leaman. She and her team ” regularly spread the message about Axonify’s remarkable brand and culture, so we’re very public about the kinds of people we want to work here.”
4 . Quality Communication is Key
According to Leaman, “consistent communications are absolutely critical to keeping our priorities clear to everyone,” a point she notes becomes even more important during periods of growth. This is partially achieved through “a number of recurring programs focused on frequent communications and updates related to company objectives.”
5 . Reward the Good
Rather than punishing workers for subpar performance, build a culture that incentives productivity by celebrating great work. “Through our culture of recognizing and celebrating accomplishments, we strive to reinforce company-wide that the team’s hard work not only adds value to the business, but is also highly valued by the business,” says Leaman.
6 . Give Employees Purpose
Leaman says that she aims to provide “every single Axonifier with a clear understanding of our business targets and how their role adds value and contributes to the achievement of company objectives”—information which is reinforced regularly.
7 . Be Adaptive but Anchored
The mission Axonify has 10 years ago is different than today, even though their values remain consistent. Leaman notes how the blistering pace of change today “is so rapid that setting a mission and vision and thinking that that is going to last and inform culture for any length of time is a challenge.” Be “nimble,” she offers, with regards to the market and customers—while still anchoring to your company’s core cultural values.
8 . Invest in Culture
“We have a large People & Culture team for our size of business and that’s intentional,” notes Leaman. Its Axonify’s way to “proactively support employees and evolve our people-programs to ensure our external messaging aligns with the true end-to-end employee experience.”
9 . Allow for Evolution Around Core
Leaman admits that any culture is due to change over time. However, “as long as the core values are accurate and anchored within the business then they shouldn’t change substantially over time,” she says. To ensure this, Keep values in check, no matter how big you grow.
And there you have it. Nine great tips one of the best in the business. Thanks Carol!