Angie and her husband, Randy, wanted to build a better business. One that people were excited to show up to everyday and lived up to the core values they had imagined. So, in 2005 they created One Click, an e-commerce organization aspiring to be the most people-centric eyewear company in the world. Today, they offer a variety of products that meet a diverse range of needs. Current brands include felix + iris, Sunglass Warehouse, and Readers.com.
The Challenge of Crafting Culture during Rapid Expansion
To Angie and Randy, being people-centric went beyond just their customers. It also included their team members and the community. They understood that everything was connected. Happier team members led to happier customers. It also led to healthier communities. To make team members happy, they created a culture that blended hard work and responsibility with a casual environment and fun perks.
But with the company growing so quickly, it was difficult to keep a pulse on team member engagement.
The standard once-a-year survey just didn’t cut it. The team was changing so fast that information was outdated almost as soon as it was received. This left new team members without a voice and left issues unresolved. One Click needed a solution that was easy, quick, inexpensive, and timely. That’s why they turned to TINYpulse.
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Better Data, Faster
One Click ditched the yearly data dump and took a new approach. With TINYpulse, they could keep things fast and simple. Now, team members can give anonymous feedback on a weekly basis by answering one, straightforward question. This cuts through the clutter and helps Angie and Randy nimbly react to the needs of their team members.
Clearing Communication Channels
When they first started taking a company pulse, Angie and Randy got back more than they bargained for. Comments and complaints quickly rose to the surface. This came as a shock. Angie and Randy worked hard to build a good culture and they had no idea some of their team members were unhappy. On top of that, they were disappointed that feedback wasn’t always productive.
Instead of ignoring the issues, Angie and Randy faced into the discomfort and took action. They called the team together and re-framed the conversation to drive more constructive feedback. From this discussion they learned that their company-wide communication wasn’t as good as they thought. Clearly, they had work to do.
Listening and Taking Action
The first step to improvement was to open the lines of communication. In doing this, two things were important. First, team members had to feel safe voicing concerns. They needed a layer of anonymity to make them comfortable sharing honest feedback. Second, leadership needed to be able to directly address problems. They had to be able to ask follow-up questions and tackle specific issues. Talk about a catch-22! How could they have anonymity and transparency at the same time?
TINYpulse had a solution. The TINYpulse platform allows administrators to receive anonymous feedback and then start an anonymous chat with any team member who voiced a concern. This made a huge difference for One Click. Management can now talk about a specific issue with the person who voiced the complaint. Angie and Randy get the information they need and the team member’s identity is protected.
For example, One Click had an team member who was unhappy and raised their complaint through TINYpulse. Concerned, One Click management sent this team member a chat. The team member’s identity was protected so they felt comfortable sharing more information. Management asked questions and showed that they wanted to take action to fix the problem. This made the team member feel comfortable taking the conversation even further. The team member chose to let go of anonymity and asked for an in-person meeting with their manager. This situation went from anonymous feedback to a face-to-face conversation pretty quickly. Both parties got what they needed in the end. This was accomplished by creating a safe channel for communication.
Changing the Onboarding Process
With the help of TINYpulse feedback, Angie and Randy realized they were making a lot of assumptions. Mostly, they overestimated what their team members knew. They quickly learned that people don’t know what you don’t tell them. To address this, One Click made big changes to the onboarding process.
For starters, they stopped assuming new team members knew the cultural values. This led to more detailed and thoughtful trainings for new hires. They adjusted their strategy so every new person now receives a 90-minute training from the CEO on culture, values, and expectations. New hires also participate in cross-departmental meet-and-greets to help build relationships across the company.
In the spirit of continuous improvement, One Click recently started using the new Onboard feature of TINYpulse. It sends new team members four targeted pulse surveys at key points throughout their first three months. Responses help management understand how team members are integrating into their new roles.
Despite One Click’s improved approach, they recently found an team member who was having a bad onboarding experience. How did they catch this? They asked the right questions at the right time. By proactively asking for feedback from the new hire, One Click was able to uncover an issue that was driving the team member away. One Click took swift action to address the problem and re-spark the new hire’s excitement for the company.
From Good to Great: Enhancing Culture
When One Click first launched, it was a budding startup with a cool culture. Its leaders were dedicated, business was growing, and team members seemed happy. There was nothing obviously wrong with the company. So why did Angie and Randy need deeper insight about team member engagement? The fact is, they wanted to get ahead of challenges. They wanted to go from good to great. They also knew that building and maintaining an outstanding company culture takes work.
One Click has been using TINYpulse to enhance their company culture since 2012. Angie loves TINYpulse because it acts like a spotlight. It helps the company find and fix things they didn’t know were broken. It helps them strengthen areas they didn’t know were weak. It’s the combination of insights and actions that make One Click a great company to work for.
In addition to acting on feedback, One Click does a lot to create and maintain culture. For them, rituals and recognition are key. This includes:
- Monthly meetings to discuss feedback and suggestions.
- Regularly scheduled fun events for the whole company to enjoy.
- Cheers for Peers on a daily basis.
- Monthly awards to two people. One to a person who exemplifies the core values and one to a person who has gone above and beyond. This includes a certificate and a gift card for the winners.
Creating Better Company Culture as a Team
On top of this, One Click has a dedicated Team Success Manager, who leads the company’s HR functions. A key part of her job is running the Culture Team. This is a group of people from across the organization who have volunteered to be stewards of company culture. They are responsible for planning events for the entire company.
Not everything rests on the culture team, though. The company is divided into six teams and they compete throughout the year to see who can host the best events. These teams are designed to break down barriers between departments and create shared responsibility.
At first, Angie was worried that event planning would take too much of team member time. Looking back, she would do it again in a heartbeat. The time invested in the fun stuff makes the company more connected and the team members more engaged.
From One Leader to Another
Heading into 2018, One Click plans to do even more to improve team member engagement. For Angie, this starts with the concept of radical candor. This comes from the book, Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing your Humanity. Curious about what else Angie is reading? Here is a list of her top picks:
Building a happy and healthy culture takes work. Angie and Randy realized they could either do a little work every day or a lot of work when things broke. They chose to keep a regular pulse on team member engagement and it has paid off. As an e-commerce company, they know there is a lot of competition for good talent. They also know that as a startup, money isn’t the only thing that matters to team members. By building a great culture, they keep team members happier, longer.