Marketing software company Percolate uses tech to build a trusting workplace culture.
Employees want to trust that their employer knows how to successfully run their organization. They also want to know that they have the support to be their best, which is why you should focus on building a workplace culture around trust.
The employer-employee relationship is delicate and it has bearing on whether your employees stay with your company for the long term or not. In fact, a 2016 study from Towers Watson found that being able to trust in senior leadership is one of the top drivers of employee retention.
Building a trusting workplace culture isn’t a simple task. However, transparency and integrity at all levels of the organization makes this process a lot easier.
Let’s take a look at how five companies are using technology to build trust into their workplace culture, and how that is helping them to establish stronger employer-employee relationships.
Social media management platform Buffer’s value statement says that their employees at every level should “default to transparency.’’
Technology plays a big role in keeping their entirely remote organization connected and establishing that level of trust. For example, they use Slack to make real-time communications easy and to streamline workflow.
Slack simplifies communication by providing channels that allow employees to organize all of their conversations. It’s a great tool to keep employees engaged, even when they’re off-site.
Buffer also uses a transparent email system. Every employee can see their co-workers’ emails, which keeps everyone in the loop.
Employees create various internal email lists that are specific to their teams, and every email sent is distributed to all relevant list recipients. This way, any employee, even if they’re not directly looped into the conversation, can search with keywords through lists to find any other applicable conversation.
To avoid an overflowing inbox, they use Gmail’s advanced filter options and labeling. This allows them to block irrelevant messages and optimally organize conversations.
This system holds everyone to a higher standard of honesty and productivity. Every team member can see where projects are tied up and who is moving processes along seamlessly. It also creates a culture where helping out is the norm because it enables everyone to work together.
Let’s say an employee needs to leave for a family emergency. A colleague can easily jump in to help with a time-sensitive project. They have chains of emails to access, making it easy to pick up on where the project is and what is needed to complete it.
Leadership even offers free, unlimited Kindle books and hosts monthly book clubs through Zoom, a video conferencing tool. This allows employees to build rapport and share ideas. And when your staff connects on a deep level, they’re more likely to trust one another.
Many employees praise Buffer’s transparent workplace culture, which is why their Glassdoor page shows a 4.5-star rating. But this is a much higher level of transparency than most companies use.
Their extreme transparency policy shows that their leadership team wants their employees to trust them and their colleagues, and it is the cornerstone of their strong workplace culture.
Having a team that is fully remote requires technology to drive business results. Buffer takes it one step farther—they use technology to intentionally connect with one another on a human level. They achieve this through practices like video chatting and internal newsletters that share fun facts about employees.
They also use technology is used to encourage autonomy, not micromanagement. As Hailley Griffis wrote on the Buffer blog, “Everyone at Buffer has to deliver on their goals according to what needs each team has. Their output is a sign of their work, and consistent output increases trust with managers.”
Percolate, a content marketing software company, is known for having a fun, lively culture. One of their core values is ownership. They encourage each employee to understand that they have ownership over their actions and can directly impact the company’s growth and success. This motivates everyone to perform at their best.
When employees adopt this mindset, it’s contagious. Then, the whole team looks out for the company, and everyone trusts one another to keep this sense of ownership in mind.
They started Clubs @ Percolate, an initiative that encourages team members to share interests, learn new skills, and form deeper, more trusting, multi-dimensional relationships with one another. This fuels their sense of ownership.
Each club is organized behind a mission statement and a goal. At the end of the year, if the club achieves their goals, leadership donates to the club’s selected charity.
These clubs bring teams together and fuel professional development. As a tech company, it’s no wonder one of their clubs centers on teaching employees how to code.
Additionally, they host semi-annual “hack days,” where employees team up to tackle innovative projects. One team, for example, built a mobile app to improve the flow of ideas between offices. Another team built a large monitor used to highlight each employee as a way of helping employees get to know one another.
Percolate lives and breathes technology—all employees relate through it. Using culture exercises, leadership brings everyone together to continually brainstorm creative ideas and innovate.
Any growing business can adopt this type of strategy to establish a positive culture. When leadership gives employees opportunities to form communities and work together on projects they’re passionate about, it shows that they respect employees and trust them to build a strong rapport.
3. HCL Technologies
More companies are in need of technology solutions to continue to thrive in a digital world. This is where HCL Technologies comes in. They offer services like IT consulting, enterprise transformation, remote infrastructure management, research and development, and business process outsourcing. Their success stems from their workplace culture.
Leadership encourages employees to take ownership, and they accomplish this through their ideas. The organization highlights the value of “ideapreneurship,” the concept of engaging, enabling, and empowering the frontline to turn their ideations into real value for their clients, and pushes all levels of employees to seek innovations.
To enable ideation, HCL provides internal platforms where employees can collaborate to seed, nurture, and harvest ideas. For example, their Value Portal is an application that captures ideas for customer-focused innovations, enables internal review, and leads the idea to implementation.
Another platform they created for internal use is their Intellectual Property Monetization (IPM). Employees submit ideas they want to be patented to the platform, then the IPM platform identifies opportunities and supports product design thinking for the idea.
Bottom line: Their workplace culture centers around their core values, which include “employees first” and “trust, transparency, and flexibility.”
The organization thrives because their employees can trust that their voices will be heard and leadership will celebrate them for their accomplishments.
For growing businesses that need budget-friendly options to encourage employees to share their ideas, look into the Google suite. Employees can use Google Forms to keep an idea log that they can later share with leadership. They can also present their ideas with Google Slides.
Technology simplifies idea management and makes it easier to share ideas with all levels of the organization. Employees are certain their ideas are being considered, and can trust that their contribution will be recognized.
4. SI Certs
SI Certs is a company that offers online training courses to help people prepare for International Code Council (ICC) special inspector exams. They found a unique way to build trust within their fully remote workplace culture.
The owner, Gabriel Kramer, shared how he and his partner got creative using Slack with their staff.
“We created a channel titled #revenue and added Stripe integration,” he wrote. “Stripe is our payment platform, so every time we get a sale, it shows up as a notification on the channel.”
This way, their employees see the company’s revenue in real time. This transparency helps the staff gauge the success of the business so they’re not worrying about the financial health of the organization.
While other employers may hide declining revenue and surprise their staff with layoffs, Kramer encourages the staff to stay up to date on the organization’s financial stability.
Using Slack and Stripe impacts performance in a positive way. When employees see rising numbers, they feel a sense of accomplishment. If revenue declines, all levels of the staff are aware and can make adjustments to their processes in real time.
As a company that connects business professionals with virtual assistants, Equivity truly thrives when its employees are able to develop trust with their clients. After all, virtual assistants and strategists work with clients they may never see in person. Plus, their entire team is remote, so technology plays a key role in connecting everyone.
They use Zoho Connect, a team collaboration software that simplifies communication and streamlines processes. Eric Wall, the co-founder and CEO, shared how essential trust is to their business model. “It allows employees to communicate amongst each other, ask questions, post helpful information for others to see, and brainstorm,” Wall said. “When people working virtually begin to interact and help each other solve problems, it builds trust.”
Wall also said his team uses Trello, a project management software. When everyone can communicate about projects and see the progress, the software facilitates transparency. It also simplifies collaboration, and as teams successfully work together and execute processes, they develop an even deeper level of trust. With technology like Trello, employees feel a greater sense of accountability. They can visualize how their output impacts others and better manage their deadlines.
Technology is essential for all companies, especially those with remote teams, to stay connected and engaged with one another. Smaller companies in particular often require their employees to wear many hats.
Technology gives team members full visibility into the projects they’re collaborating on. It also gives leadership the ability to see the numerous accomplishments each employee has achieved, making it easier to recognize them for going above and beyond.
Additionally, technology can automate tasks and give employees of smaller companies more time to execute high-impact tasks.
Growing companies should consider investing in various technologies, such as:
- Cloud-based software
- Collaboration tools
- Teleconference services
- Business intelligence platform
- Marketing automation
These technologies help small companies drive productivity, encourage autonomy, and gives employees a sense of accountability, which pushes them to be their best.
When everyone is empowered to work together, and all levels of employees are connected, trust builds, workplace culture improves, and businesses thrive.
Andre Lavoie is the CEO of ClearCompany, the first talent alignment platform that bridges the gap between talent management and business strategy by contextualizing employees’ work around a company’s vision and goals. You can connect with him and the ClearCompany team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.