Building a Strong Cornerstone of Company Culture

Posted on December 06, 2017

By Joe Terry, HHS CEO 

As individuals in the workforce, we typically spend more hours of the day with our colleagues than we do with our own families. Because our lives are very much intertwined with our careers, it’s important to be in a job that you enjoy and a place where you can fully exercise your gifts and talents — life is too short to be stuck where you cannot flourish and grow. And as leaders, it is our responsibility to provide a positive atmosphere for our teams and build an organization with a unique identity that encourages a positive environment; a place where individuals can feel that they are both personally vested and invested in. This task is not simple, it takes continual perseverance and a strong sense of direction, but it can be done.

Throughout my tenure within the support services industry, I have learned that building a positive company culture does not happen overnight and is something that, as a leader, I must be personally driving — there will be setbacks, successes, and challenges— but you must always continue to find ways to improve and develop as an organization. There isn’t one right way to accomplish this goal, but there are steps that can be taken that will help organizations move forward with initiatives and help build a culture of positive outcomes.

Make culture a sense of your company’s identity.

First and foremost, have a strong sense of direction regarding what your company stands for. Without direction, people lose their way. A company’s culture in many ways is similar to an individual's personality, so your culture should influence everything you do. How does the company handle challenges? What’s your decision making process? How does the company develop goals and move forward with completing those goals? How do you pursue recruiting and retention? Company culture is much deeper than just creating mission, vision, and value statements; it’s continually working to incorporate those into every level throughout the organization and using those as guide to operate the business. Having clarity around what those non-negotiables are that you want to stand for is a good place to start for any organization.

Create an organization built on trust and accountability.

To establish a positive culture, everything you do needs to start with open communication and trust. If there is not trust or transparency, sustainable improvement will not happen. A way we have strived to improve in these areas is more frequent communication to our teams in the field. We communicate the good, the bad, and are open and honest about everything. With 16,000 employees spread across thousands of miles this can be challenging, but we bridge this gap through sending out messages on electronic messaging boards, newsletters, and monthly podcast. Another thing we have started is conducting in-person meetings during the onboarding process between leaders and new employees to specifically outline accountability, ownership, and the roles for each individual. We highlight this in a partnership letter, which is an agreement two people make with one another about how they will show up for each other and their team. Additionally, identifying leaders and key influencers throughout all levels of the company who exhibit the values you strive for in their everyday lives and charging them with driving change is a good way to create a grassroots approach to making effective change within the organization. These various initiatives have helped us in establishing trust within the company and creating platforms for improved communication.  

Learn from and listen to the feedback of your team.

Leaders often times do not have the time or resources to personally get to know every individual within the company, but they do have the opportunity to create best practices based off feedback received from their team. An efficient way this can be done is by utilizing actionable surveys, exit interviews, and social media posts to tangibly measure the outcomes of the company’s efforts to improve culture. You can learn a lot from employee feedback and especially from former employees, and by honestly reviewing the data you can create action plans that address the issues being communicated. In 2018, HHS will update our approach by implementing quarterly action plans rather than annual ones based on reviews and information that we have received through our various survey processes. Our developed action plans will be rolled out at each of our accounts and team members will be re-surveyed to discern if the plans are aligning with our goals and are conducive to the team members’ feedback.  All feedback we receive is also shared in full transparency to our local and regional teams, so we can ensure issues are continually being addressed appropriately and new best practices are being developed in reference to the information that we receive.

At the end of the day, business leaders should strive to grow a culture where everyone feels a sense of personal ownership and that each member of the team is aware of their individual responsibility in achieving the desired culture that is being pursued. Although this will not happen overnight, it’s a pursuit that should never be lost or fall by the wayside. Digging deeper to identify and hone the traits of the company will result in improvements for employees and customers and will help build a strong cornerstone for the company to expand upon for years to come.  


To learn more about HHS' approach to company culture and service offerings, contact us.

Joe Terry, CEO, leads the strategic direction of HHS, focusing on integrating service line offerings and laying the foundation for its expansion efforts into new service offerings, industries and markets.