What Are Top Companies Doing to Create a WOW-Worthy Culture?

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organizations with great  WOW company cultures

If you asked the people you knew if they loved their companies, how many of them would say “yes”?

During my recent meeting at  NAAAP Leadership Academy, I asked that question to chapter presidents, officers, and core members at the conference. Given the setting, many of them were high achievers and leaders who had a strong tie to their employers, and the numbers showed it! Seventy percent of them said that they love where they work, while Gallup says 85% hate their work.

So I took it even further. I interviewed people who love their work to see if there were any trends and lessons to learn. Here are my findings on what other companies are doing to WOW:


1. Amplify  the value of diversity


There’s no better business strategy than connecting with your global clients through a diverse workforce and it is just as important to have an inclusive work culture in a global organization. Allen Chen, enterprise co-chair of Asian Leadership Network (ALN) of Bank of America, said that the bank often leverages ALN to host events to attract clients as well as provide professional development and networking opportunities for their employees.They also put their money where their mouth is! This year, the bank donated $40,000 to NAAAP.


Donald Fan, Sr Director in Diversity & Inclusion of Walmart, said that Walmart focuses on both recognition and accountability with diversity. The company recognizes inclusive senior leaders as well as making diversity metrics part of the performance review. The company recently nominated 3 women of color SVP’s to the Women Worth Watching list of Diversity Journal in 2019.

How can you leverage the diversity in your workforce to increase creativity, productivity, global presence and brand representation?


2. Empower your employees


When you have empowered employees connected to the organization’s purpose and values, you don’t need to micromanage them. Facebook shows how much they care about engineers through not only compensation and perks, but decision-making power and freedom. Facebook engineers are free to choose to go to a new project if they find another project more interesting through a month-long trial period. To elevate levels of employee responsibilities and promote involvements in their decision-making, every engineer has the same title (engineer). They are also encouraged to come up with new ideas and start new projects.

How can you empower your team to improve ways things are done, to make decisions and play a more active role in their work?


3. Build and grow every relationship for life


Every new member on your team adds a whole new network to your company. Allison Hanzel, staffing manager of VarIQ, kept good relationships with all employees, even with the ones leave their company. She believes in lifetime relationship building because the company might hire them again or collaborate with them in future projects. This family-owned and operated company grew from 1 to 300+ employees by treating previous and current clients and employees like family.


Linda Sherrer and Christy Budnick, the powerful mother-daughter duo, grew their brokerage BHHSFNR from the ground up through internal referrals, only recruiting agents who share their company values. While everyone is still different in personality and experience, employees are connected to one another through their values-based culture.

How can you consciously building relationships internally and externally? What are some ways that you can make your employees feel like they are part of a family?


NAAAP Kelly Lei Leadership Academy 2019


Register for the 2019 Leadership Convention presented by NAAAP to meet other awesome leaders!


4. Co-create the culture with your team 


The Economics of Higher Purpose research shows that when an authentic purpose is understood throughout an organization, it lowers labor cost and increases capital investment. Vladirmir Vukicevic, founder and CEO of Meural, believes that reiterating a singular mission and purpose and having a flat and transparent organization are strong factors in creating his awesome work culture.


Ben Hum, serial entrepreneur and NAAAP Toronto president, pointed out that what leaders do is just half of the equation, it’s also about what the team wants. Leaders need to listen first to co-create the culture with the team.  

Have you discovered the authentic purpose for your company? How are you communicating with your team? How do you show them that you care about them?

What's the ROI of having a WOW company culture? Find out how your culture can transform:




About the Author

Kelly Lei

Kelly is the happy growth activator at DH. With her 15+ years of lessons learned in engineering, sustainability, investing, business, education and non-profit, Kelly works with business leaders, especially startup founders, to level up their personal and team performance. She's also a venture investor passionate about creating a better future of work and a sustainable world.

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