Product Quality and Work Culture
Your company's success is based on your employees’ attitudes and commitment to the organization. Believe it or not, it’s something many companies struggle to get right. If you work or have worked in an environment where there was a lack of culture, chances are there was a lot of poor performance amongst workers and possibly bad sentiment towards the organization.
The power of work culture is nothing new, but it is something that is still not being addressed by many. From my personal experience, I’ve worked at companies that had a very poor work culture and companies that had outstanding work culture. If you were to ask me which companies allowed me to grow to my full potential, it would be the companies that invested in making sure their employees were happy and constantly improving upon themselves.
Alan Page of Microsoft talked at StarWest 2013, and one thing he said grabbed me: “Product quality directly correlates with company culture.” What that means is that a product, or company, cannot be truly successful without a positive work culture in place. When Alan integrated fun into the work process, he noticed remarkable improvements in his staff’s ability to do good work and ultimately creating an award-winning product.
When I contemplate the work culture at SmartBear, it really makes sense. Our success is based on the fact that we all make time to enjoy ourselves on a daily basis. By creating a positive work culture, we project our positivity onto our products and our customers.
For instance, we have injected a few activities into our work routine that allow us to lower stress, and allow quiet time for us to reflect on our work which gives ample opportunity to refine it. A few things that are normal to see at SmartBear are:
- Solitary Refinement – Notice that we have replaced confinement with refinement. This activity is something we have started to integrate into our work schedules once every few weeks. The activity requires us to sit quietly in a room for an hour and try to solve a problem that we may be having. This could be coming up with better ideas for work processes or even finding ways to refine ourselves. This time allows us to shut out all other distractions that may hinder our chances of conquering that certain issue.
- Game Room – This activity is a bit controversial, but I argue that it is necessary. Most of our life is and will continue to consist of us sitting in from of a screen typing. Whether you like it or not, it’s the world we live in. The game room is a privilege that allows us to get that blood pumping every once in a while. After a game, I have a period of boosted energy and awareness, which certainly doesn’t hurt.
- Company Outings– I get a lot of friends asking me if we (SmartBear) ever get any work done when we are going to baseball games or having a scavenger hunt. Call it envy or call it concern; I call it socializing with my teammates (that includes all departments) on a more intimate level than just working with them. With each outing, that coworker you never talked to or knew anything about becomes a friend. This is the grease that keeps the company a well-oiled machine.
We at SmartBear embrace the work culture, building our trust in one another by spending time together and most importantly, having fun together. Of course, we work hard and challenge ourselves, but we do it not because it is demanded of us, but because we share a common goal and vision – to improve upon ourselves, our products for our customers and the company as a whole. This is what work culture is all about and this is what more companies need to learn to integrate into their business.