Hidden Corners: Commit to People and Culture and Take It to the Bank
At ShelfGenie, we recognize the importance of company culture and core values. Culture is critical to our success, both in what our team members believe and how they work together at headquarters, as well as the ways in which our way of doing business is manifested in our franchise partners, and in how they and their employees do business.
“Culture” is not a touchy-feely, intangible concept at ShelfGenie. Nor is it a matter of putting a few ping-pong tables out and providing happy hour on Friday. And it’s more than JUST adjusting internal communication and using Slack (even though, Slack certainly has helped).
Our real culture is central to our mission, to our strategy, to our tactics, to every interaction and transaction. It communicates our standards for treating customers and one another the right way. It carries the tenets and values that continue to help ShelfGenie grow and prosper as one of the most scalable and successful business models in the home-improvement business these days.
And our culture will become only more important going forward. One reason is that the millennial generation has higher expectations in this area than their predecessors. They want to work for, and buy from, companies and executives that have a higher purpose than the mere bottom line, one that is expressed not only in how companies treat their customers and suppliers but also in what it’s like to work there.
Treating employees well is key for millennials. Forty percent of millennials recently surveyed by Morning Consult said they would like a company more if it was known to be a place people liked to work.
And how do they define treating employees well? Millennials in the Morning Consult poll rated these highest among 22 different commonly appreciated values, from integrity to spirituality: Honesty, with 77 percent saying it is important; reliability, 74 percent; helping family, 74 percent; compassion, 72 percent; and commitment, 72 percent.
At ShelfGenie, we learn about culture building from every good source we can. For example, we’ve adopted a lot of the thinking behind culture from a great book on company-building, Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, written by Gino Wickman. He calls his concept the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), and its goal is to help leaders run better companies, more effectively, with less stress and more satisfied employees. The way to do that begins with a strong culture.
Allan Young, the CEO of our parent company, Noble Brands, first embraced the philosophy in Traction and has been sharing it with the rest of us. It has been very helpful in building a culture at ShelfGenie based on specific, closely held beliefs, and key enacting principles, to which we are committed – and on which the performance and fit of every employee are evaluated.
Our three core tenets are Honesty, Integrity and Respect. Built on those tenets are our core values: Entrepreneurial Thinking, Courage, Candor, Reliability, and being a member of One Team. Notice how these tenets and values happen to parallel the principles that are most important to talented younger folks we’re seeking to attract as employees and customers. In any event, if you work at ShelfGenie and you can’t live by these tenets and values, it won’t be a good fit for either party.
Earlier this year, our ShelfGenie culture got some attention in the Wall Street Journal in a story about office communication tools like Slack, an instant messaging software program that is popular with millennials. Let’s just say it took me a while to warm up to Slack, but now it’s mission critical to our operations.
A strong culture puts pressure on everyone, young and old, in all positions to adjust their actions/priorities for the greater good. We’re proud of what we’ve built at ShelfGenie and we’re constantly trying to improve on all levels of our business.
If only building a great culture were as easy as using Slack. But as Jack Welch, the legendary former CEO of General Electric used to say, “The soft stuff is the hard stuff.”
It’s also the good stuff. And that’s why we’re so committed to it at ShelfGenie.
Are you interested in learning more about our culture and the ShelfGenie franchise opportunity? Download our free Franchise Information Report here.