As a company grows, it takes longer and is harder to get work done. When growing from a start-up of a few people to a booming business of hundreds or even thousands, different and sometimes competing objectives begin to emerge. What was once a few engineers writing code becomes departments of engineers organized around products and marching to different releases. Having an experienced management team setting the tone for a culture of innovation and success through collaboration in these times is paramount. Of course, everything from research through development to product release must be fast-paced for a company to remain competitive in two ways: one, for customers, and two, for employees, and not necessarily in that order. Top engineers have been known to leave companies when they’ve found their creativity stifled by layers of misguided approval processes that do not promote and reward achievable and measurable results, and they often walk to a place that gives them the room to make things happen more efficiently than a bigger company will allow. The key is to have the right processes and tools in place to empower and motivate people to flourish as their best creative selves. Put people in the center of it all: your employees, your customers, your partners. This centrality of a culture of collaboration will flatten hierarchies while prioritizing transparency and access as a critical part of everyday work.
Putting your team at the heart of your business is the Golden Rule of building and developing workplace culture as well as a successful enterprise. Maintaining a thriving creative culture necessitates this valuing and empowering of your team as central to the company and brand you’ve built.
As EVP of Innovation for RingCentral, I spend a lot of time thinking about our next big products, but I also spend a lot of time thinking about how we breed a culture that our employees and customers value and that makes them all want to remain part of our business. Successful tech companies are always hiring; but it’s better to retain talent by continuously investing in, growing, and retaining people who have knowledge, history, and can move quickly. Making sure that a team has space in which they can be creative and take risks while also giving them the tools they need to do their jobs as efficiently as possible and without needless disruption is central to a good manager’s job.
One way in which companies can protect creative space and keep valued teams together is by offering greater flexibility to today’s increasingly mobile workforce. My company invested in an effective solution for our customers as well as for ourselves when we leveraged our own collaboration tool, called RingCentral Glip. Putting people at the heart of our business necessitated such an innovative solution.
Anything that distracts your team from their creative purpose stands to affect your bottom line in a significant way if your employees grow frustrated and leave. That’s a solvable problem with a practical solution delivered via a collaboration tool that mitigates communication frustrations while also enhancing connectedness through features like team messaging, removing “silos,” and enhancing a sense of oneness throughout the organization.
That sense of a connected, collaborative culture is the lifeblood of a thriving organization with highly motivated employees who remain invested in shared business value and outcomes. When you think of your own heart, you know that your life isn’t possible without it. Your heart must pump the resources you need through your body in order for it to function. Your team does the same for your businesses. When you think of that team as the heart of what you do, it’s the big things that come into play, and not just compensation and benefits. Things like flexibility, worksite location and features, a chance to learn and grow, and the ability to make an impact are very important.
The tone of valuing people must come from the top, and that’s core to my focus as an innovator. In some cases, founders who stay on to run companies have to be “reprogrammed” to understand this. Egos grow with valuations sometimes, but, as a start-up scales, there needs to be a constant reminder that a company’s most valuable assets are the employees who make it great. A culture of innovation demands the recognition of talent, making people feel like they matter, and giving them tools that help them succeed. The best transition you can make isn’t to a new job, but to a company that values people, starting with your own.
Learn more about how cloud communications and collaboration technologies can support a culture of innovation. Download: From Workplace Chaos to Zen: How App Overload Is Reshaping the Digital Workplace.