Whether you’re a huge company or a one-person startup, your existence is literally dependent on how you conduct business. This is as true internally, in the way you and your employees do business with each other, as it is externally with the way you engage your customers. Culture matters.
Incentives and perks like flex-work, open floor plans (or non-open floor plans, maybe), milestone bonuses, sabbaticals, parental leave and referral bonuses are all common ways companies use to attract and retain talent. However, none of these things really matter if the internal culture is damaged.

In the 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report, Deloitte shows that the development of a company’s culture remains a top priority for US companies this year. They concluded that “by focusing on the employee experience, HR leaders can improve employee engagement, empower teams and leaders, and develop workforce solutions that will be useful and compelling to employees.”

They propose that “just as marketing and product teams have moved beyond customer satisfaction to look at total customer experience, so is HR refocusing its efforts on building programs, strategies, and teams that understand and continuously improve the entire employee experience.”

Here are some interesting examples on building a positive culture.


Secondment is predominantly used in the public sector, but more and more private sector companies are implementing secondment programs — where employees leave their roles to take temporary roles in other areas of the company, usually from 3 months to a year.
Envato, a design and e-commerce company from Australia, who is revered for its commitment to company culture and incentivising employees, implemented “Sprint Secondment” where members from one team can serve as skillset benefactors to another team for a two week period, enabling the team to capitalise on intellect and know-how outside of their own.

In-house courses are becoming more and more popular.

Employee training
Like, secondment, implementing training programs, in-house courses and access to online courses that enable employees to proactively improve themselves and their knowledge base benefits your company overall. Building knowledgeable staff, mentors and leaders, can decrease attrition and attract higher quality talent.

In Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, only about 40% of respondents felt they had opportunities to learn and grow within their company; something Catherine Avendaño, Sr. Manager, Learning and Organisational Development at MuleSoft addresses in her recent guest post for Entrepreneur.

According to Catherine, MuleSoft, an SF-based enterprise software company, tackles employee development challenges “by giving employees the freedom to innovate outside of everyday operations,” encouraging positive discomfort through a number of events, programs and processes centered on both personal and company development.

How does your culture encourage cross-border engagement?

Encourage cross-border engagement
In the recently published article from Harvard Business Review, author Tsedal Neely points to the importance of “interactions with other, geographically distant subsidiaries” as a key factor to working across international offices and distributed workforces. She says “This behaviour is important to global work orientation because, my research finds, in general, when interactions are high, there is a greater ability to develop trust and shared vision among international coworkers.” But how can you maintain cross-border engagement remotely? Through technology.

Encouraging the use of Zoom, Skype and even Facetime for 1–1 meetings outside of the conference room setting is a start. Having team members travel to other offices also helps. Productivity platforms like Jira and Trello, communications tools like Slack and HR management softwares like People and BambooHR enable smoother operations and better communication too.

However, most of these, save for maybe team travel, lack the core social functions that employees enjoy through social media “outside” of the office (we see you posting. It’s cool. We all do it).

Watchbox for Work

Using social applications like our Watchbox for work lets employees enjoy the functionality of social media with both a mobile app and in-office system for sharing and commenting on pictures and videos that commemorate fun moments at work, company milestones and acknowledging employee wins. For the companies themselves, they benefit from a closed company-only social platform that’s quick to set up and easy to adopt for near-immediate improvements to company culture.
Want to see more ways companies have and are addressing company culture initiatives? See ReferralCandy’s 2017 updated post here!

If you’d like to make your work more fun, go to watchboxapp.com and sign up — it’s free and you’re not committing to anything! 🍀