Contributed by Kennedy Barr
Kennedy is an intern at Deliberate Directions, through the WorkU program at Boise State. As a junior studying Communications and Public Relations, she brings a fresh perspective to the team and is eager to learn and contribute. Kennedy will graduate with her degree from Boise State in May 2024.
Originally from Las Vegas, Nevada, Kennedy discovered her passion for tennis at the young age of eight and has been playing ever since. When she isn’t working or studying, you find her coaching tennis lessons, enjoying the scenery on the greenbelt, or going shopping with her friends.
Kennedy is sure to make a positive impact on the team as she continues to develop her skills and gain valuable experience.
We asked a variety of different leaders from across the country about their company culture, and what components of company culture they value most.
A clear value system paired with a strong employee value proposition naturally attracts like minded individuals, which puts companies ahead of the game in terms of hiring and overall synergy among employees. Corporate culture has a direct effect on creating a positive, motivated, and self accountable team.
Table of Contents
- Building Engagement and Trust Through Autonomy (Eric Shulting, State Farm)
- Failing is Part of Our Culture (Mark Luecke, South Dakota Innovation Partners)
- Show Up, Step Up, Lift Up (Jasmine Secopito, Resorts Wold Las Vegas)
- Good Employees Plus Good Employers Make a Strong Company Culture (Allison Hurd Watts, Avalaunch Media)
- Same Goal, Same Culture (Andrea Jones, State Farm )
- Workplace Essentials (Savannah Todd, Your Marketing Co.)
- Ethics within Company Culture (Mackenzie Judge, VOILÀ Strategies)
- Good Workplace Culture Equals More Productivity (Andrew Richelieu, STEMfinity)
- Having a Sense of Belonging (Ally Orr, BSU)
Building Engagement and Trust Through Autonomy
Eric Schulting, State Farm
Eric Schulting is an HR Operational Excellence Director at State Farm Insurance. Eric has been with State Farm for over twenty-three years. Eric has had previous roles within the company as Talent Acquisition Director, Employee Relations Director, and HR Business Partner Director. State Farm Insurance’s purpose is to “Empower people to be good neighbors and protect what matters most.”
The most important thing to me about workplace communication is open and honest dialogue and communication. I think when an organization provides an environment where employees are comfortable being honest, and when leaders are honest with their employees about their work and performance, it can go a long way in building engagement and trust. Too much politics, sugar coating, or lack of transparency can be very problematic.
I think providing employees with as much autonomy as possible to solve problems at their level can be very beneficial. Too often we have high level leaders involving themselves in tactical decisions or issues that can easily be solved at lower levels. Doing this ensures your leaders and executives are focused on the bigger picture, while increasing engagement with employees by trusting them to make their own decisions.
It is not easy for an organization to balance investing in customers and employees, and I think State Farm strikes this balance very well, which makes it a great place to work, as well as a great company to look to for someone’s insurance needs. It’s also a great feeling to say you are number one in your industry! It goes to show that you can focus on customers and employees and still be the best at what you do.
Failing is Part of Our Culture
Mark Luecke, South Dakota Innovation Partners
Mark Luecke is the Managing Director and CEO at South Dakota Innovation Partners. Mark has held this position in the company for fourteen years. South Dakota Innovation Partners is a venture capital firm based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The firm seeks to invest in the agriculture technology, food tech, and life sciences sectors.
Calculated risk-taking is highly encouraged, and failing is part of our culture – when team members fail, we collectively analyze what happened to maximize the opportunity as a “lesson learned”, and then we keep moving things forward by trying something different.
Safety, Quality, Respect, Transparency, and Innovation. We use our core value framework in every important decision that we make every day, and we refer to individual or multiple core values frequently in our daily communications.
Therefore, problem solving begins with communicating the context of the situation (what problem has been identified) and then letting the stakeholders communicate what they know about the root cause of the problem by asking “5 Whys” which is a tool taught by LEAN Six Sigma.
Show Up, Step Up, Lift Up
Jasmine Secopito, Resorts World Las Vegas
Jasmine Secopito is a Graphic Designer for Resorts World Las Vegas. Jasmine has nine years of experience with graphic design and database marketing campaigns. Resorts World Las Vegas is the first integrated resort to be built on the Las Vegas Strip in over a decade, Resorts World Las Vegas seamlessly blends technology and luxury appeal of an urban contemporary resort.
Our company culture is a place for positivity where team members represent themselves by living up to our values. Hard work, compassion, harmony, loyalty, honesty and wellness & safety are the core values we represent as whole while also encouraging team members to ‘show up’ by representing themselves in a professional and positive light to guests. ‘Step Up’ but taking initiative, volunteering and helping out different departments. ‘Lift Up’ by creating experiences and celebrating guests & team members. As a whole, the most important thing is that Resorts World is culture driven, very much involved in the community where we have lots of volunteer opportunities to help out the city and neighborhoods and we’re also approachable workers who just want to make your day/night by just being there.
I’m proud to work for Resorts World because we have the friendliest group of team members I’ve ever worked for. We’re always there to show up, step up and lift each other up in times of need, but also the fact that we are just proud of what we do.
Good Employees Plus Good Employers Make a Strong Company Culture
Allison Hurd Watts, Avalaunch Media
Allison Hurd Watts, Social Media & PR Director at Avalaunch Media. Allison is a social media expert located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Allison has seven years of experience in the marketing and public relations field. Avalaunch Media is a full-service digital marketing agency that handles all facets of digital marketing including SEO, PPC, and content marketing.
The people who you hire make or break the company culture. Hiring people who are kind and supportive, and hardworking make all the difference, and make for an environment that is constructive and positive.
I believe company culture is what gets people to stay at and be loyal to a company. Even someone who’s paid well can hate their job if the culture isn’t nurturing or constructive. A company that cares for their employees creates believers that will want to put out good work.
Good employers and managers that take time to learn about their employee’s personal and professional goals, and provide opportunities for them to achieve them create a culture that demonstrates a workplace that values people for who they are versus simply their output. I also believe that those who set and strive to achieve their goals are generally happier, and make for a positive workplace.
Same Goal, Same Culture
Andrea Jones, State Farm Insurance
Andrea Jones is a Sales Leader at State Farm Insurance. Andrea has been with State Farm for almost twenty seven years. Andrea has previous experience in positions such as, Sales Leader, State Farm Agent, Recruiter, and an Accountant for State Farm Insurance.
State Farm inspires me through several ways. I believe they want to accomplish their mission of helping people and we are in the best position to do it because the leadership positions throughout the company are filled with people who care about people and want the company to be the best. We are all working toward the same goal. They also provide a competitive pay that is based on results, which makes me want to perform at a high level.
I find it most valuable to have the ability to provide input and feedback on decisions that are made, or areas that need improved. Leadership throughout the company is willing to listen because we all share the same culture that everything we do is for the customers we serve. The most important thing I would like everyone to know about State Farm’s company culture is that we truly do care about the customers. Our business is based on relationships and customer satisfaction. We are the best at what we do. It’s great to work for a company that is #1 in the marketplace and wants to remain #1 in all areas.
Savannah Todd, Your Marketing Co.
Savannah Todd, Digital Marketing Brand Manager for Your Marketing Co. Savannah is a Digital Marketer based in Naperville, Illinois. Savannah is able to successfully drive traffic to a website through content distribution. This has been critical strength of hers, as well as managing multiple projects simultaneously and working under pressure.
Effective communication is essential to ensuring that everyone is on the same page, understands their roles and responsibilities, and can work collaboratively to achieve shared goals. Good leaders can help set the tone for the entire organization, inspire their teams, and foster a sense of trust, respect, and mutual support. Workplace culture can have a profound impact on employee productivity and job satisfaction. When employees feel supported, valued, and engaged, they are often more motivated and productive. Workplace culture can have a profound impact on employee productivity and job satisfaction. When employees feel supported, valued, and engaged, they are often more motivated and productive. Personal and professional development opportunities can play a critical role in workplace culture by helping employees feel valued and invested in their work. When employers offer opportunities for growth and development, it sends a message that they are committed to their employees’ success and well-being.
Ethics within Company Culture
Mackenzie Judge, VOILÀ Strategies
Mackenzie Judge is a Brand Relations Director, Social Media Manager & Influencer/Celebrity Relations Director at VOILÀ Strategies. Mackenzie is also the Host of The Blondie Beauty Podcast. VOILÀ Strategies is an aesthetic agency that believes every brand should have a story, style, social, and strategy. They help brands become known by creating content, campaigns, and couture brands.
The most important characteristic that I look for within a company’s culture is ethics. I believe a lot of companies operate in unfair or unethical ways that I have seen first hand. I think it is really hard to work for a company that doesn’t align with your morals and beliefs in business and therefore I always try to work where I feel things are being done correctly and for the right reasons.
VOILÀ Strategies is helping me develop talents, grow my skill set and manage my career in many ways. This agency is a new angle of business that I haven’t worked in much before so I am often presented with new tasks and ways of working that I haven’t had a ton of experience with before. This really helps me to develop new skill sets, expand my talents and also improve my overall career.
I feel very involved in decision making as I work directly with the CEO and she likes to ask my thoughts on most things. She really fosters transparency with me just by having good and honest communication. I feel like we work well together and this is also why I like working for more intimate agencies vs corporate agencies, because I feel like I really get to be hands on and be involved in growing the business as a partner, not just as an employee.
Good Workplace Culture Equals More Productivity
Andrew Richelieu, STEMfinity
Andrew Richelieu, Marketing and Sales Brand Ambassador at STEMfinity. Andrew is a Boise State University Graduate who has been working as a Marketing and Sales Ambassador for STEMfinity. Andrew creates content for their social media platforms including YouTube videos and marketing materials for STEMfinity’s website.
The most important aspect of workplace culture to me is having a work environment that encourages trial and error, motivates and has fun! As someone who is also in social media and marketing, having a team who supports you to try and test new ideas is crucial to learning about your audience and how they react to new material.
I think that workplace culture impacts productivity and job satisfaction immensely! If you’re surrounded with people who are motivated and determined to work hard to grow the company and succeed you’ll be likely to do the same. Same goes for satisfaction, if your company culture is boring, tedious, redundant, etc. nobody would want to work for that company, nobody would be satisfied with that. At least for me, lol.
Having a Sense of Belonging
Ally Orr, Boise State University
Ally Orr, Business Intelligence Analyst at Applied Materials & Founder of the Women in STEM, Medicine, and Law scholarship at Boise State University. Ally crowdfunded over $200,000 for women pursuing studies in STEM, Medicine, and Law at Boise State in five months. The scholarship is endowed and will continue to exist forever at Boise State, providing funds to students each year.
The important aspect of culture is community and relationships. I have been the most satisfied at companies where I had close relationships with coworkers and managers. Having a sense of belonging was key, and as long as that aspect of the job was there, it truly didn’t matter what work I was asked to do. I am at my most productive when my output is recognized, there are opportunities of growth, and the ability to connect with coworkers. Remote work can either be a help or hindrance to company culture, and it truly depends on how the company and managers involved address the situation. If a workplace has a positive and uplifting work culture, employees will do things intrinsically rather than extrinsically, which leads to better output and better opportunities for the employee.
To conclude, the benefits of cultivating a positive organizational culture cannot be overstated. By creating a workplace where employees feel valued, supported, and respected, organizations can enjoy higher levels of employee engagement, productivity, retention, and customer satisfaction. Moreover, a positive workplace culture can foster innovation and creativity, leading to a competitive advantage in today’s fast-paced business environment. Therefore, it is crucial for organizations to prioritize building and maintaining a positive culture, as it not only benefits the employees but also the organization as a whole.