“Why do we need to work on our company culture if everyone’s already so happy?”
Companies with the best culture: What do they do?
Companies with the best culture is an interesting group to learn from. What is the key to their success?
When the office vibe is great, many managers don’t invest in their company culture (until trouble shows up!). Here’s a startup that works preventively to maintain their great company culture:Yann Lechelle joined Snips as COO eight months ago, as the 8th employee. After raising a lot of money the French company today has 35 people, and are close to launching their new project:
“We have an ambitious goal: to put Artificial Intelligence in every connected device, and create beautiful interfaces and user experiences that blend seamlessly into our daily lives. We’re not just creating another photo app.”
A mindful company culture
“We hire people that are like the founders: passionate, skilled and creative”, says Yann. “We’re all deeply curious, even idealists you could say! Half of us are data scientists with 7 PhD’s, all very senior staff. We’re very ambitious. Our average age is 30, we have Google salary standards, full perks… employees have very little to complain about”, he explains and points to his colleagues, in casual clothes.
The company culture at Snips is carefully tailored to address the type of people that join them, to make sure spirit stays high. Everyone contributes to the culture which is described as mindful, with a non-hierarchical and organic structure.
“In France, people forget how good things are”
That they take things for granted:
“I’m very aware of this so I remind people of the conditions. About us being a startup and the challenges that come with that. That everyone needs to be fully committed to our goals. Never take things for granted! The company will be in serious trouble if we don’t produce a product that people LOVE!”, he says with passion.
Company culture – how can we sustain it?
“It took a while for people to get it though. I was asked why do we need this if everyone’s so happy at work? Why do we need to be happy? Well, we’re building the future!”
Dissatisfaction reflected in the happiness at work statistics
“I paste screen shots of our Employee Mood KPI on Slack. People also ask me what’s up, and I’m very happy to share our results. And I’m including the Mood KPI on our upcoming company dashboard”, he continues.
“We started with a very high percentage of green. We got a drop a few months back as the heating system broke down and it was almost impossible to work, causing a lot of dissatisfaction in the day to day! This was clearly reflected in the employee mood graph.”
“There’s a lot of empathy among our teams, they share day to day stuff in their retrospectives. We produce code on a daily basis and we have tools that measure commits, the code our engineers submit for review. My next step is to correlate the commits to our employee mood – our percentage of green – to see what we find.”
Companies with the best culture: What makes us press green?
Yann uses the popular question “what makes us press green?” to dig into what the Snipsters feel can be improved.
He qualifies the feedback as very interesting and mature:
“Our employees press green when they feel they are able to fulfill the mission, when they do what we are meant to do. People look forward to creating beautiful code! And we press red when meeting lasts too long. Or when people get a feeling that we don’t advance after a meeting, that creates red.”
The COO feels happy with the overall results:
“We’re launching our project soon and the teams are getting a bit tired. We do have struggles as we’re growing as a team and the complexity that comes with that. We’re trying to fix it”, he says with enthusiasm.
Preparing for the future
“We reorganize the teams fairly often when there is a problem, we’re very proactive. People appreciate that when we spot an issue it doesn’t linger.”
“So I’m preparing for future downside, I want to be ready. I wanted to have a global view of the team mood and be able to react when and if we fall.”
“We do internal hackathons and probably would have built a similar system ourselves if we hadn’t found the Celpax device. This tool is simply perfectly aligned with our introspective efforts and the sort of company we are building”, Yann concludes.
Like the idea of improving employee mood with the Celpax device? Companies with the best culture establish a baseline (Mood KPI) of how employees feel at work, then talk to employees, analyze and optimize to drive the company culture forward.
Measure. Talk. Improve. Repeat.