A strong culture should be substantive and authentic, differentiated and visual. By visual, you should be able to see employees in various work scenarios that unquestionably embody company culture. While hiring teammates for cultural fit may feel burdensome or lengthy during the recruitment process, it ultimately pays off in the rapid assimilation that is created by shared values.
Here at RichRelevance, our shared values come down to three basic phrases: Own it. Keep it simple. Get it done. Weaving all three together is communication—every step of the way, in every direction, through rank and file, horizontally and vertically. Every individual should know “what are we doing every single day to make this company great?”
This may appear obvious to the casual reader but over the years, time and again, I have seen many smart individuals, competent teams and entire companies (from small to large) miss these three basic concepts.
Each of us at this 200-person small company is effectively running the company. You run your own show and hopefully if things go well, your domain continues to grow. Rather than waiting to be told what to do, be self-motivated and self-disciplined.
A great example of “owning it” was the launch of Relevance 2.0—a complete re-positioning of our company. While the concept was born last October, serious strategy, preparation and groundwork were laid out during the holiday season. Marketing owned the overall re-positioning; but sales owned pricing; technology owned the road map; finance owned the revenue recognition aspect; legal owned new customer contracts; our partners co-owned strategy. Every executive on the team assumed a piece of the effort, and communicated succinctly to all parties from concept to refinement to preparation to full execution.
When we own it, the combined power of phenomenal skills and execution ensures that we will get a lot accomplished. We leveraged the momentum of Relevance 2.0 across additional programs in the new year—at the NRF Big Show, our global Customer Advisory Summits and Partner Summits. All these events continued what we referred to internally as “rolling thunder”—an ongoing volley of product demos, training and public positioning to further promote our most important initiative of the year.
Keep it simple
There is no single scenario where complexity is good.
As an example, for a couple of years, it was evident that we needed to re-vamp our customer-facing dashboard. It was unwieldy and non-intuitive for customers; they were limited to looking at reports and creating rules. More complex tasks like setting up MVTs, modifying layouts and managing strategies had to be handled internally—costing money and creating friction and challenge for our support staff. This forced the realization that we needed a self-support dashboard that could automate and streamline workflow.
So we dug deep into the most commonly used features with aim of reducing complexity, and eliminating repetitive tasks. In one case (creating a new placement), we were able to combine several independent systems into one workflow. We transformed a tedious task that typically took 5 minutes down to 10 seconds. This new UI was easier to understand, and produced more accurate results, as the user could see everything on one screen. Cutting through the layers of complexity to simplify workflow not only achieved the goal of sustainability and self-support, it also more than doubled customer usage, allowing our team to support more sites with same level of staff.
Get it done
Politics are not acceptable at a company of this size.
Continuing with the dashboard, our product manager knew that it would prove a challenge to convince many employees it could be done. The revamp had been tried in the past but absent properly allocated time and resources, it had floundered. But that didn’t hinder him—he went to battle armed with a plan. Using attractive mockups and a deck that detailed the numbers, he proved that the time savings by itself would be a huge internal win. Slowly but steadily, he convinced the rest of the team that not only was the new dashboard possible; it could be accomplished in a short amount of time without having to rebuild everything. By completely redoing the most commonly used pages, and ensuring that less frequented pages could match the look and feel of the new dashboard while remaining functional, he moved the team from tentative buy-in to whole-hearted endorsement. Giving the keys to the kingdom to the customer resulted in client empowerment while reducing internal challenges, creating time savings and enabling re-direction of resources to more strategic initiatives.
We have been going through significant change at RichRelevance over the last couple of years. This has been very demanding to all employees and the amount of work in front of us can sometimes seem overwhelming.
So in case of doubt—own it; keep it simple; get it done. Phenomenal things happen when our shared values and communication ensure that we can always answer the question “what are we doing every single day to make this company great?”
De quoi a besoin tout créateur de start-up pour survivre aux angoisses nocturnes et pour que son entreprise prospère au grand jour ?
« Tu accordes trop d’importance à des choses qui n’en valent pas la peine. » Voilà ce qu’avait répondu James Hong (business angel, endurci et fondateur de HotorNot) à un de mes articles sur la solitude des entrepreneurs, écrit il y a maintenant deux ans. J’avais écrit cet article en réaction au battage médiatique de la Silicon Valley et aux histoires hors du commun de ses entrepreneurs, avec l’intention de rompre avec l’idée reçue selon laquelle les créateurs d’entreprise sont toujours des individus «hors normes ».
You’re worried about all the wrong things.
That was how James Hong (angel investor, badass, founder of HotOrNot) responded to an article I had written two years ago about the loneliness of being a founder. The piece was a response to the hype engine of Silicon Valley and its larger-than-life founder stories — and an attempt to break through the founder norm of business always being “great.”
David Selinger is in a business where mining data is crucial to delivering a personalized shopping experience. Yet, the CEO and co-founder of RichRelevance says that one of the most important lessons he’s learned as an entrepreneur is to listen to his inner voice even if facts and logic suggest a different direction.
San Francisco, CA – Jan. 14, 2014 –– RichRelevance, the global leader in omni-channel personalization, today announces its recognition as one of the Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces™ in the United States. This annual award recognizes top employers that display leadership and innovation in engaging their workplaces.
“We strive to create an environment where our employees are challenged and positioned to be successful,” said RichRelevance’s Sr. Director of Human Resources, Mai Ton. “The cornerstone of our success has always been the drive and passion of our employees around the world. Our team is incredibly humbled and honored to receive this recognition.”
The Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces™ Awards panel of judges evaluated each applicant based on the Eight Elements of Employee Engagement™: Communication, Leadership, Culture, Rewards & Recognition, Professional & Personal Growth, Accountability & Performance, Vision & Values and Corporate Social Responsibility.
The panel of 14 judges included various academics and thought leaders on employee engagement, and included representation from organizations such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA), and Human Capital Institute (HCI) and Northern California HR Association.
“The Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces™ understand that employee engagement is not just a buzz word, but that engaged employees provide businesses with a unique competitive advantage. Companies that focus on employee success have better engagement and alignment with business objectives and company values,” said Achievers CEO, Patrick D. Quirk. “These companies serve as role models for other businesses to engage their own employees and build success.”
RichRelevance will be honored alongside other recipients of the Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces™ Award at the awards gala on April 2, 2014 in San Francisco, California.
RichRelevance is the global leader in omni-channel personalization. More than 160 international companies use RichRelevance to turn data into actionable insight, which delivers the most relevant experience for consumers as they shop across web, store and mobile. RichRelevance drives more than one billion decisions every day, and has delivered over $10 billion in attributable sales to its clients, which include Target, Marks & Spencer and Priceminister. Recently, the company opened its cloud-based platform to allow clients to easily merge disparate data sources and build real-time applications tailored to their specific business needs. RichRelevance is headquartered in San Francisco and serves clients in 40 countries from 9 offices around the globe. For more information, please visit www.richrelevance.com.
Achievers delivers the only true cloud-based Employee Success Platform™ that enables remarkable business success. Designed specifically to meet the complex needs of today’s changing, modern workplace, it is the most engaging software specifically designed to engage, align and recognize employees. It is software employees love to use every day in over 110 countries. Achievers is a privately held company headquartered in San Francisco. Learn how your company can change the world works at www.achievers.com.
Working for a San Francisco tech start-up is the dream summer internship for many undergraduate business students like myself. Little did I know that RichRelevance would exceed all of my expectations.
I expected my job to entail lots of research, data entry, and other classic intern duties. But my manager Christine saw potential in me, and soon, I was knee deep in several key account opportunities. For example, on day one I was asked for my input on a slide deck that my CEO David Selinger was to present to one of our top customers.
Under the tutelage of Christine, Janet (the VP of Global Accounts) and the rest of the Global Accounts team, I knew I was on my way towards a busy and exciting summer.