On February 1, 2022, Mike Corkery, President and CEO of Deltek, and Catherine Allen, Co-Founder and CEO of AO People Partners, joined us from our Washington, D.C. Chapter to discuss how you can nurture Conscious Culture within your workplace by embedding values such as caring, integrity, and learning at the core of how your business operates.
Here are three takeaways from their insightful conversation on how to follow through on effective strategies from recruitment to retention, especially during a crisis, centered on living a set of strong core company values.
1. Conscious Culture starts with recruiting and hiring the right people for your company.
According to the tenets of Conscious Capitalism, Conscious Culture is the ethos, especially the values and principles, underlying the social fabric of a business. Deltek has a defined set of core values and they enter into Deltek’s company lexicon starting with the very first interaction with any potential team members: the interview.
Mike says, “We’re very intentional about people that join us. We screen for the intentionality around the values … We very specifically screen for if those are things that are important to them.”
By starting with the recruitment processes, Deltek ensures the longevity of the culture they’ve worked hard to build and sustain, so it is vital for their hiring teams to ensure they’re bringing on team members that will continue uphold their core values at work.
Simply, we tell our team that if those are things that aren’t important to you … this may not be the place for you.”
Mike is frank with team members about the importance of Deltek’s core values showing up in how they contribute to a Conscious Culture: “The values define how we treat each other and our customers. Simply, we tell our team that if those are things that aren’t important to you … this may not be the place for you.”
He closes with the connection between culture and its effect on Deltek’s objectives and viability, reinforcing why it’s so important to not have the hiring process become a missed opportunity to bring on the right people.
“We really run the business around three pillars: people, customers, and growth. And our view is if we invest in our team and have a differentiating culture and a place where people can build their career and Deltek is a great place to work, they will invest in customer success and customer success will allow us to hit our growth objectives. If we grow, we can invest in people, we can invest in customers, and solutions, and technology … they’re inexorably tied and we feel like culture is at the center of that.”
2. Culture is demonstrated in how leaders, teams, and employees show up for themselves and each other every day.
Conscious Culture permeates the atmosphere of a business and connects the stakeholders to each other and to the purpose, people, and processes that comprise the company.
Employee engagement is again an area where Deltek’s core values regularly reappear. To celebrate employees that contribute to a Conscious Culture, Deltek uses their list of values as categories for their recognition program. Employees that show a clear model of collaboration on a major project, for example, are honored in a public way. Their recognition program serves to remind the team that culture is, “less about symbolism, more about behavior,” according to Mike, a concept that can sometimes be overlooked for companies looking to rehabilitate their internal structures.
In addition to recognition, Deltek also ensure employees have opportunities for professional development. For employees looking to strengthen their proficiency and understanding of any one of Deltek’s core values, the company ensures they have access to learning and training opportunities. This ensures team members can better themselves and show up as more conscious colleagues for their teams.
3. In crisis, from the pandemic to the Great Resignation, culture is more important than ever for employee fulfillment and, ultimately, retention.
All companies have a culture, but not all companies intentionally develop a culture that promotes their values and purpose and can withstand crises.
In order to position themselves for crisis, Deltek takes every opportunity, most importantly in good times, to continuously build on the company’s culture so that in bad times, they can draw back when necessary without completely sinking the morale of their staff. Mike likens it to filling a bucket:
“You build up trust in the team where you’re filling the bucket during good times … things that continue to buttress our culture, buttress the team’s trust and pride in the business. When something like the pandemic hits, you have to draw down on that bucket, but then you’ve got to work to refill it again.”
Deltek fills that bucket by offering the engagement opportunities mentioned above to continuously grow, develop, and support his team. At a time where new job opportunities are everywhere and employees are migrating at record rates, making sure employees feel valued can be a make-or-break opportunity for companies to retain their best.
“It’s more important than ever that we create a culture where people feel like they can build their career with us, that they don’t feel like they have to look elsewhere, that they can continue to develop and meet their personal objectives, professional enrichment. It’s up to us to provide things they can access in that regard.”
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