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The Impact of Creating a Great Company Culture – Key Insights from Kelly Manthey and Solstice

Kelly Manthey, the Chief Strategy Officer at Solstice gave an outstanding presentation called, “The Digital Business Innovation: The Four Imperatives” at our recent Technology Innovation & Leadership Summit.  In my previous posts, I’ve shared highlights from her first two imperatives.  In this post and the next, I’ll share her final two imperatives.

Imperative 3:  Company Culture as an Enabler

Here’s a great quote Kelly shared from Kimber Lockhard, Senior Director of Engineering at “Don’t create a sense of urgency, foster a sense of purpose.”

Or as Kelly added: “Employees who care drive revenue.”

She started this section with a story.  Kelly can fly any airline.   She has the budget and the flexibility to choose whatever flight she wants.  But she always flies Southwest Airlines.  Why?  Because she loves the way they take care of her.  As an example, she arrived late to LaGuardia airport late one Thursday night trying to get home and the Southwest employee at the check-in counter went out of her way to make sure Kelly made that flight.  The woman really cared that Kelly made her flight.  The fact that the app is also well designed and provides a great experience is icing on the cake for Kelly.

Kelly then compared two companies in Finance.  HSBC and Discover.  As you may know, Apps are rated on iTunes store by the customers.  The rating for the HSBC app had 2.5 stars as of the time of her review.  The Discover app had 4 stars.  Here’s Kelly’s insight.  Glassdoor is also an online site that shares prospective employee and employee ratings of the companies that they interview with and work for!  HSBC gets a 3.2 star rating at Glassdoor and at Discover they have a 3.8 star rating.  HSBC is just beginning its agile transformation.  Discover has already made the switch.   The CEO gets a 67% approval at HSBC, but the Discover CEO gets a 94% rating!

How does that translate to revenue?  The five year performance of Discover and HSBC shows Discover has a 147% five year increase in revenue, while HSBC has had a 29% reduction in revenue during the same period!

As another example, Kelly showed the same comparison between Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts.  Dunkin’ Donuts had a 3.0 rating on Glassdoor, while Starbucks had a 3.8 rating.  What about the revenue?  Starbucks has had a 5 year track record of 203% revenue growth.  Dunkin’ Donuts?  Still great at a 67 percent increase, but it’s not 203% growth!

“What is the cost of doing nothing?” Asks Kelly.  Her answer is that eventually your top employees will leave.

What should you do?  Here’s a few tips Kelly shared:

  • Embrace the fact that it’s a new type of employee with the next gen work force. At Solstice they aggressively manage their employee satisfaction.
  • Bring the customer to your employees. Help your employees empathize with your customers.  Be the customer.

I’ll be the first to tell you I’m an old-school kind of guy and for a long time I thought the ping pong tables and the new model for work environments was just a gimmick or at best a fad.  But I was only looking at the surface.  Company culture is way more than just ping pong tables.  The numbers don’t lie.  Great new companies have emerged, like Google, Facebook, Amazon and more that have created these new approaches to creating company culture and their number prove it.    So do the more modern enterprises like Discover and Starbucks.  This approach is not limited to Silicon Valley start-ups.

What can you do?  How do you change your entire company culture?  That may be a lot to ask at this point – but how about your department?  The shift in modern IT shops is now a common and accepted trend in many progressive organizations and it is often one of the first steps towards driving growth through Technology Innovation & Leadership.  Are you ready to start?

Thanks to Kelley for great insights on how using Culture as an Enabler can drive Revenue!




Updated: December 12, 2016 — 5:56 pm

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