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5 Work Culture Principles that Led to Our Great Place to Work Achievement

January 7, 2022
7.5 min read
5 Work Culture Principles that Led to Our Great Place to Work Achievement

We are honored to announce that we have been certified as a Great Place to Work after a thorough, independent analysis conducted by Great Place to Work® Canada.

It is our pleasure to share what helped us achieve this accomplishment, but first, a little about the GPTW Institute and a quick thank you.

A Little About Great Place To Work Institute

Since 1980, the GPTW Institute has evaluated employers based on direct feedback from employees, provided as part of an extensive and anonymous survey about their workplace experience.

Along with certifying employers, they work with publications in 49 countries to put together recognized ‘Best place to work’ lists with Fortune and the Globe and Mail.

Thank You To Our Incredible Team

We wanted to share and acknowledge that our team is a huge reason why we are a great place to work. From all our hearts at 2toLead, this is a massive shout-out to our employees for continually sharing feedback to help us improve and helping us continue to be a great place to work.

We could list any number of work culture investments we have made as a company, and they wouldn’t mean anything if our employees didn’t respond and aid us in finding the right fit or the best way to implement and improve upon them. We asked our employees if they would like to say something about working at 2toLead and help you understand why we have received it.

More on the individual clips in the coming weeks, but right now, take a look at our Great Place to Work montage.

Why is 2toLead a great place to work

5 Examples Of Work Culture Investments We Believe In

The following are a few of the important investments we have made that have improved the way we work together, enabling us to be a better place to work.

  • Generous-First Culture
  • Radical Transparency
  • Manager & Mentor Rhythms
  • Being A People Business
  • Meaningful Development Support

Generous-First Culture

We believe that it’s essential for employees to feel like they can pursue the right course of action and support one another. In our business, self-direction is paramount, and that means by design, we trust the judgment of our employees. Instead of having overages approved (to enable someone to do a few hours of work that would help a customer – or support a struggling peer), employees know they can help first and worry about reporting second.

We have systems to create visibility and review to highlight these extra investments to our customers (for transparency and acknowledging our team’s efforts) and our peers (to represent the ‘total value better’ someone is driving versus their work assignments).

This approach has other implications as well. We can’t be generous first if we don’t compensate employees fairly and generously or if employees aren’t satisfied working here. We can’t be generous to our customers if we don’t deliver above expectations or have achieved high customer satisfaction.

Another thing we do here is that we donate a percentage of revenue every year to important (and team-directed) charities. We also have an extensive bonus+ program that enables all of our employees to distribute “micro bonuses” across peers that have helped them or whom they see as having contributed positively in some way. This micro-bonus program paired with generous quarterly bonus rhythms for all employees (even contractors) helps us to recognize and acknowledge effort meaningfully.

Radical Transparency

We have created a culture of sharing often and clearly. For customers, things like estimates have ranged values with low and high numbers as very little in our business is perfectly predictable (we work with emerging technology and complex problems and are a people and services business, after all). Our culture of sharing takes a lot of pressure off estimates and is something we do that helps with communication of risks or gaps in dependencies or missing insights that might help the estimator.

Also, this changes how we make changes, discuss ideas, and more. For example, we have an offsite (though the last few were virtual) for each fiscal half. All employees have multiple days dedicated to discussing how to improve the company where data and insights often reserved for executives are openly shared and leveraged across teams. As a remote-first organization, we understand that trust-building is more accessible in person, so we fly our team in together from all across Canada to connect in person, collaborate, and have fun while working on the best ways to continue improving and innovating.

During this offsite and throughout the year, we make our operations backlog, actions lists, and ideas transparent and accessible to the whole organization. We even have a team of volunteers on culture who help prioritize and understand the many ideas we have on improving how we manage, work with one another, or work with our customers.

We have translated this transparency into meaningful operating rules that stop us from making money (and thereby being biased) towards motions that discourage transparency. As an example, we don’t obfuscate our work or our source code. All of our excellent consulting and design work product is freely available to our customers. This means our team doesn’t have to worry about ‘fake billing’ where many others in our industry overcharge for re-use, or “IP Hours.” Instead, we only charge for real value (hours/effort spent) implementing what has proven to work with other customers. We do this for internal solutions and products, but we also maintain this in working with partners. As another example, we provide service vouchers for the commissions or discounts we receive from vendors, ensuring there is no financial bias towards our IP or our partners’ IP while enabling customers to do more with the investments they do make. What is best for the customer motivates aligns with how we make our revenue.

Manager & Mentor Rhythms (1:1’s, Quarterly Connects, Yearly Reviews)

Every employee has a monthly 1:1 with their manager. Every employee (based on their preferences) has a monthly 1:1 with at least one mentor/peer (in addition to their manager). These 1:1’s provide consistent motions that are important to ensure we regularly discuss what’s working well, what’s not working well, and how the connecting individual might be able to help. They are great opportunities to discuss professional development questions/challenges and foster growth in the individual.

What’s more, we have structured quarterly connects that feed into a final annual rhythm which, when combined with monthly 1:1’s, there are no surprises, and it’s easier for us to improve together. Quarterly and more formal motions are vital because they guarantee that we connect on essential questions like “how effectively are your skills (including all your prior experience) put to use within 2toLead?”. Question’s like this one might highlight how an individual could do more if we tailor responsibilities or create opportunities that better enable them to bring their whole self and value to their work. These also help us (along with peer reviews) better understand how our team members are working with one another as collaboration is a core part of our work.

Discussing compensation, supervisor satisfaction, job security, peer feedback, and more multiple times a year also lets us track trends to see if things are trending positively earlier and more often (and creating opportunities to escalate when they aren’t). It makes the ‘annual’ rhythm far easier since it’s arguably just one more quarter where we review the prior quarterly connect outcomes/highlights, but there are few (if any) surprises on both sides as a result.

We Are A People Business

The business should be as flexible as our people need it to be. Our employees trade their time for money, growth and more. That means we need to always respect their time and contributions. For us, this means investing in additional company-wide holidays or days off. We provide additional sick days for all staff. We honor more holidays (so there are more days off for all staff more regularly). We work hard to give extra days off around offsites to enable more celebration.

Additionally, during the pandemic, all of our employees had mental relief or covid relief days where they were treated as free vacation days for all employees. On many occasions, staff (especially in the pandemic period) needed extreme flexibility or more time away. We have been extraordinarily generous and done whatever we could here to help (investing a considerable amount) and wanted to thank our team for their flexibility in enabling us to support these motions.

Sometimes, even when there isn’t a pandemic, people need time to pursue something important. On multiple occasions, staff has had supported sabbaticals or even part-time arrangements (and our support) to pursue developing a mobile app, building a business with a friend, teaching at a college, focusing more on family or more while still being employed at 2toLead.

Meaningful Development Support

For some staff, development support might be having dedicated days for training to hone or grow their skills and expertise. Today we provide five days for focused training each year (in addition to offsites, project-related learning, and more). We cover the cost of all Microsoft exams (failure doesn’t matter) and have covered the tuition and courses outside of our technology focus for many that help someone become more well-rounded or excellent in professional or personal areas of focus.

What’s more, we actively encourage employees to pursue their passions – often paying for trips, hotels, and provide team members opportunities to speak at user groups, conferences, and events. The latter is a great way to help their brand, improve their speaking/communication, and help them establish their reputation for their future career. This isn’t limited to in-person speaking events; it could be for virtual events, an employee writing content important to them (books, articles, etc.), or exploring a passion. We both support time back from work, monetary investment, support services and can introduce valuable connections that help that employee for decades to come.

Are you looking for a great place to work?

Our team continues to grow, and if you’re the right fit, we would love to add you to our team of passionate and hard-working individuals.

For more information on open opportunities, click the button below.

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