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It’s no secret that company values–and their real-life application–are now one of the top driving factors behind employee satisfaction and retention. In fact, in Glassdoor’s recent Mission Culture Survey, 56% of respondents ranked a company’s values as more important than salary and over 77% seriously consider a company’s mission before applying.
These numbers continue to grow. Though 80% of Fortune 100 companies show off their values publicly, this number fails to reflect the reality–that many companies advertise values that are simply not found in their employees’ daily work experience. This reality hurts a company’s bottom line by driving workplace complacency and resignations. According to one Forbes article, an employee’s job satisfaction depends more on value alignment than any other factor (and yes, this includes the happy hours and bonus plans).
So what does a company that operates according to its values looks like?
In the United States, many of those companies can be found in the annual Inc. Best Workplaces award list, which relies on employee feedback to rank companies for which people, genuinely, love to work. Categories take into account the size of the company, revenue range, and years in business. Honorees enjoy the recognition of their work to provide a work culture capable of attracting and retaining top talent.
A few years ago, this might have reflected which companies had a work culture that mixed pleasure and professionalism and where employees were happy to stay late, enjoy free snacks and relaxation rooms, or subsidized gym memberships.
In a world shaken by Covid-19, however, priorities have shifted.
Now, the companies most adept at creating a culture sensitive to their employees’ needs amidst global uncertainty are the ones coming out on top. Newly-important cultural touchpoints include hybrid or remote work options, flexible hours, enthusiastic, funded support of employees’ mental health and well-being, and policies aimed at accommodating working parents. These newer values go far in cementing employee loyalty, satisfaction, and retention.
Our company, CallTrackingMetrics (CTM), was awarded an Inc. Best Workplace Recognition Award in 2022. CTM is a medium-sized SaaS company in Maryland that offers and innovates on call tracking and marketing attribution software. Having been recognized by Inc. for two years running, including mid-pandemic, is a testament to CTM’s dedication to its employees, company culture, and values. Recently, we reworked our values and arrived at four core principles. These values are talked about openly in the workplace and employees are recognized and rewarded—periodically and publicly—for embodying these values in their work and professional relationships. Recognition through Value Awards and annual CTMmy awards ensure that employees receive both verbal appreciation and a bonus perk, such as an additional day of PTO, gift cards, etc.
CTM’s formal values take the form of “we are” and “we work” statements. Every quarter employees receive an Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) survey from leadership, which works similarly to an Employee Satisfaction Index (ESI). Afterward, the company’s People & Culture Team (formerly Human Resources) addresses employee asks, critiques, and feedback at company-wide meetings.
The result? Employees are able to see their feedback acknowledged and their asks realized (or not) with full transparency. They’re able to easily describe the values they see demonstrated and rewarded in the workplace, ask questions, and feel empowered.
So what are these values that make our company an Inc. Best Workplace two years running?
1. We are community-driven
CTM has several dedicated policies that encourage its employees to give back. In “How Great Companies are Making Work Work,” Inc. demonstrates that the fourth top differentiating factor between good companies and Inc Best Workplaces is paid time off for community service.
CTM’s culture page says they “sponsor organizations throughout the year and offer 24 hours of VTO (Volunteer Time Off) for you to spend time giving back to your community. We also match donations for causes and charities you care about the most.”
These kinds of benefits are actively used by employees and encouraged regularly in meeting with the founders. Community and community service is a company-wide priority.
One clear example of this is our Community Outreach and Social Justice group which organizes volunteer and donation opportunities and is spearheaded by employees. Recent opportunities to give back to the community included walking dogs for a local shelter event, a March Madness Giving Bracket to the Community Challenge, and an Arundel County Food Bank drive. An upcoming event invites all employees to celebrate Juneteenth with a picnic.These efforts to organize employees in meaningful, community-engaging ways through the Community Outreach and Social Justice group are co-led by James Wicks, a Professional Services Consultant at CTM, who was honored at the company’s annual CTMmy awards for being Community Driven, another way that the company encourages its employees to live out its values.
2. We are customer-centric
As a company that uses its own software, we’re well aware of how complex call tracking and marketing attribution can be. This intimate knowledge of our product’s complexity has fostered a customer-centric approach that aims to help customers with empathy and know-how. The customer’s pain points are the company’s pain points. Call tracking’s association with call centers also has helped focus the company over the years on customer satisfaction and service, essential to so many of CTM’s own call center and agency customers.
CTM has multiple teams dedicated to helping each and every customer get their software installed and working, including Customer Success, Professional Services, and Technical Support. Regular use of NPS surveys helps teams identify unsatisfied customers and contact them directly to help resolve any dissatisfaction. Additionally, the use of NPS helps highlight team members that receive consistent praise from customers for problem solving and helpfulness.
“We represent customers and advocate for what they need to be successful,” is a tenant of CTM’s customer-centric model. As such, the company not only attracts employees that care about serving others and helping customers succeed in a complex field but also has a basis for regularly encouraging employees to keep customers’ needs top of mind – an excellent way to build customer satisfaction and loyalty.
3. We are champions of innovation
SaaS companies need to be at the forefront of technological innovation to remain competitive and bring in new talent. At CTM, we seek “continuous improvement and [to be] an early adopter.” A culture of innovation drives creativity and risk-taking and attracts talent. One aspect of this value is “taking smart risks and learning from failures.”
In particular, it is crucial that smaller, leaner companies dynamically respond to changes stemming from industry giants. When Google advances a new Google Ads iteration, innovative responses to stay in step with Google and help customers stay relevant are crucial to a SaaS company’s success.
In fact, SaaS speeds up innovation cycles, as outlined in a study by Evolutionary Tree. “One of the most underappreciated and overlooked benefits of SaaS is the ability for SaaS vendors to deliver greater and more rapid innovation to their customers,” they wrote, “compared to the traditional shrink-wrap or licensed software offerings.”
In other words, not only are SaaS companies innovating at a faster rate than traditional software offerings, but a SaaS company that champions innovation is truly helping their customers grow and develop at a faster rate than ever before.
4. We work with purpose
According to research conducted by McKinsey, nearly 70% of employees in the US define their sense of purpose by their work, and “nearly two-thirds of US-based employees said that COVID-19 has caused them to reflect on their purpose in life.”
Clearly, purpose is important.
These four central values that drive CTM’s employees are all interconnected–being community-driven, caring about one’s customers, and innovating for a better future all contribute to an overarching sense of purpose and connection with others. They’ve led to CTM’s near unheard-of turnover rate low of 1% and a remarkable 101% retention rate, which are perhaps the clearest indicators of satisfied employees in today’s market.
As written on our values page, “We focus on results over perfection, [and] we are inspired by our work and its impact on our community.” By regularly providing opportunities for employee feedback on both a personal and wider-company level, CTM is ensuring that employees feel empowered to change and innovate according to what is best for them.
After all, “Organizations that have installed feedback loops to understand the voice of the employee and that are managing human capital with an emphasis on ’human’ are winning,” according to Quantum Workplace CEO Greg Harris, which is why some companies are not feeling the bite of The Great Resignation. This also explains why CTM employees are so satisfied in their roles and have designated their own company a best workplace for two consecutive years.
Company Values Drive Value for Everyone
Losing employees is costly. For every employee that quits a company, it costs nine months of that employee’s salary to find and train their replacement. However, retaining employees doesn’t have to be a huge strain on a company’s budget. Authentically incorporating opportunities to connect, engage, and feel purposeful can be enough to keep the majority of great employees happy. Of course, this isn’t all – certain benefits, such as paternity leave, unlimited PTO, wellness apps, and volunteer PTO do separate many of the Inc. Best Workplaces from other companies, but even these benefits reflect the values and culture of those companies who make it to the top of this nationwide honor list.
So if you want your company to become an Inc. Best Workplace in the coming years, consider taking a closer look at your own company values and asking yourself, are these a reality? And if not, how do we make them so?
Want to learn more about a career at CTM? Check out our Careers Page—we’re hiring!