Rounding it up
Company culture is an important factor in success
Finding purpose and meaning in work leads to engagement
Growth and connection are key components to fostering a successful work environment
The new year is coming in hot, and with it comes the chance to reflect on the past, take a deep breath, and set yourself up for success in 2023. For most of us, a job means a lot more than just a paycheque. Sure, it’s a way to provide for ourselves and our loved ones, but it’s also a source of meaning in our lives – a chance to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Finding meaning and fulfillment from your job isn’t easy, but when you do, it can make work so much better.
Our Director of People & Culture at KOHO and Executive Coach, Vicki Thompson, has helped countless employees get the most out of their roles and find more meaning in their work lives. She is extremely passionate about ensuring KOHO’s culture is one that is engaging and successful in order for KOHO to reach its ambition.
Below, Vicki shares her insights around what drives a winning culture, and tosses in a dash of her best career-oriented tips for good measure. Think about it as your personal coaching session: our gift to you.
Ready? Let’s go!
What is Culture?
If you’ve worked in an office, you’ve certainly heard the word culture tossed around. But really, what does it even mean and why is it important?
Company culture is the summation of our thousands of interactions and behaviours, and it’s the vehicle through which we can have a kickass employee experience and achieve our ambition. Culture is the engine that makes us successful. If culture sucks, chances are the day-to-day kinda sucks too, and more often than not company performance isn’t reaching its full potential. Whereas when there’s a high trust, passionate pulse throughout the company, we can be more entrepreneurial and go faster with less bureaucracy. Plus it’s just a heck of a lot more fun.
Through my many hours listening to KOHOnians as a coach these last 3.5 years, I think what truly makes people get up in the morning and feel engaged in the work and culture, are three key things: Purpose/meaning, growth, and connection. So let’s take a brief deep dive into each one:
We all have a natural desire to do something important with our lives, to make it count and use our strengths to make a difference in the world. Understanding the connection between our own personal purpose, and your company's purpose fuels engagement.
Our collective mission at KOHO is to give every Canadian a great financial foundation and democratize access to wealth creation. We ask our employees: “what excites you about that?” “how does your work support that?” and “how do your unique strengths come to life to make a difference at KOHO and to the world”?
At KOHO, we get fired up to help others become the best version of themselves. Through my work as a Coach and leader of the People & Culture team there is a clear link between my personal purpose and what KOHO needs to achieve its ambitions. What is that link for you in your career?
Regardless of how you define success, knowing your work matters is important. I’d encourage you to reflect on what legacy you want to leave and how you can supercharge that in your day-to-day at work.
Feeling like you’re growing not only in your career path, but in your skills, knowledge and impact is a huge source of energy. When I think about the employees at KOHO that are true drivers of culture, they are incredibly fuelled by continuous growth.
Here at KOHO, we use something called the S curve framework to guide our understanding of product growth. This chart not only applies to the lifecycle of a product, but also to an employee’s growth at work.
When a product first launches, it typically takes time to get off the ground before it grows and gains popularity. Once it reaches its “tipping point”, its growth rate increases exponentially and the product really takes off.
But eventually, things slow down as a product matures. And it’s at this point that a product might need to innovate to improve and stay competitive, otherwise another, better product might take its place. Personal growth is no different than this. At work, we all follow a similar S curve trajectory.
When we start a new role or “stretch” assignment, the growth can be slower at first while we’re learning, until we hit that tipping point and things start to click. This is what I consider the engagement sweet spot. Over time we may enter a state of maturity where we get comfortable, and need to disrupt ourselves again (either start a new role or stretch assignment, and therefore begin a new S curve). The more people at a company that can get into the sweet spot of hyper growth, the more engaging the culture will be. So, consider where you are on that S curve in your role right now:
Are you near the beginning? Make sure you’ve got the support you need from your leader including super clear expectations, lots of direction, and feedback.
In that middle sweet spot? Keep it going! Celebrate the progress, and keep leaning in.
Reaching the top? Carve out some time to discuss your career development with your manager or one of KOHO’s in-house Performance Coaches to figure out what’s next.
No matter where you are in your personal S curve, remember we all own our growth.
As human beings, we have a universal need for connection and belonging. We want to feel respected and included for who we are. This has gotten a bit trickier with remote work culture but is still achievable.
That can come from taking that extra 5 minutes at the start of a 1:1 to check in with each other, reaching out to someone when you know they had a tough day, acknowledging the growth you’re seeing in a teammate, or taking some time to actually get to know each other, what we care about, and how we like to work.
Now this might feel too time consuming, but the payback is big. When we connect and feel included we build trust, which fuels autonomy, collaboration and ultimately better results. So do yourself and the business a favour, and think of one person you’d like to connect with in the next week (or month) on a slightly more meaningful level. Not only will they feel good, but you will too.
Obviously, there’s more to happiness and engagement at work than these three pillars. But I fundamentally believe that if you can move the needle on these, they’ll not only help with your own success, but the success of whatever company you work for.
If you’re interested in joining a culture that’s hyper-invested in your success, check out our open roles at KOHO.
Vicki Thompson is the head of People & Culture at KOHO and a Professional Certified Coach through the International Coaching Federation. She joined KOHO 3.5 years ago to start KOHO’s in-house Performance Coaching Program after ten years in Marketing roles.