A positive, inclusive culture in an IT organization can increase employee retention and establish longer, more profitable client partnerships.

4 Ways to Build a Positive Company Culture

  1. Treat your employees well.
  2. Have a company purpose that includes more than profit.
  3. Stress organizational excellence.
  4. Give back to the community with donation and volunteering programs.

Fostering a positive culture, however, is challenging. Although every IT company interprets culture differently, I suggest four pillars that, if maintained properly, will contribute to a higher employee retention rate and client satisfaction.

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Pillar 1: People

What makes a company are the people in it. And they deserve to be in the spotlight. 
 

Hiring

Be selective about whom you hire. Place a high value on both technical and cultural compatibility, and have a rigorous interviewing process to ensure you draw in people who are a match in both aspects. 

Engage existing team members in the hiring process by implementing strategies such as employee referral programs. These programs, where current employees actively participate in referring candidates and even take part in the interview process, foster a sense of responsibility. This approach enhances the quality of hires and contributes to increased employee retention.
 

Professional Development

To achieve sustainable business growth, your team must evolve both professionally and personally. Foster a culture of continuous improvement as you encourage and invest in both the soft and technical skills of every team member. Recognize and reward those who excel in their efforts. This elevates the collective professionalism of the team and instills a personal commitment to the company’s growth among all members.
 

Promotions and Dismissals

Elevating an individual through promotion inspires the team to aim for great behavior and achievement. Similarly, the dismissal process when letting someone go sets boundaries of acceptable behavior within the organization. It’s a crucial step in shaping the team’s expectations and contributing to a strong and united group.


Pillar 2: Purpose Beyond Profit

Clear purpose that is beyond profit drives your business forward. It helps attract the right talent and clients and keep focus during hard times. In fact, now more than ever, businesses with a clear purpose beyond profit do better, inspire trust and are sustainable. 

When organizations deviate from their intended purpose, it can result in significant costs, including a decline in brand trust and an increase in legal repercussions. Also, employees may leave if the management’s position fails to align with their individual values.

Therefore, having a social and/or environmental purpose as a business helps build a sense of belonging among employees, whether they work from the office or from the other side of the world. When team members recognize themselves in the shared purpose and values, they are enthusiastic, proactive and have ownership of tasks, especially when things get tough. In the service industry we operate in, working with professionals so devoted to their work makes an enormous difference. 

Having a clear purpose also means being deliberate about the businesses you work with. Partnering with companies with similar worthy causes sets the stage for a long-term partnership. 

 

Pillar 3: Operational Excellence

Improving a business goes beyond merely boosting efficiencies or ROI. In today’s global economy, adapting to evolving markets, conditions and technologies is crucial. 

Operational excellence serves as a strategic approach for organizations towards continuous improvement across all aspects of the business. It creates a culture in which leadership and staff are invested and empowered to implement change. And, it helps to spot operational flaws early enough so they can be fixed without any disruptions. 

At the core of operational excellence are the Shinigo Guiding Principles, forming the foundation for a sustainable organizational culture. Leading with humility, for example, creates an environment where leaders value input, actively listen and encourage team members to contribute creatively. Examples of ideal behavior include leaders consistently engaging where the work happens and employees feeling confident in reporting issues, knowing they will receive a positive response.

Another aspect of the operational excellence model in the context of software development services is delivering business value rather than just code. Examples include scaling up clients’ delivery processes or building their software products from the ground up, etc. A staff of professionals that aligns with the company’s purpose, think critically, feel respected and freely ask questions ensures deep investment in understanding the client’s business.

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Pillar 4: Giving Back to Society

Giving back to society is extremely beneficial both for you and your community. Studies show that regular volunteering improves physical and mental health and can lead to longer and more satisfying lives. Beyond the health perks, volunteering provides a sense of purpose that comes from giving back and making a positive impact on society.

Initiate a donation program within your organization, allowing employees to suggest and contribute to worthy causes. Additionally, set a positive example by having the organization itself donate a fixed percentage of its annual revenue to benefit society.

Aside from donating, encourage employees to support tech communities via sharing knowledge. Teaching, for example, benefits the company and the involved employees as it builds credibility and brand awareness. Teaching also brings real value and support to the community. 

Another way to share knowledge is to organize tech conferences, write thought leadership content in tech and business media, interview top experts on industry trends, etc. 

Building and sustaining a positive, inclusive culture in an IT organization is core to high employee retention and long-lasting client partnerships. People, purpose, operational excellence and giving back form a holistic approach that has proven successful over the years. By implementing them properly, organizations can lay the foundation for a robust and sustainable future.

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