We all know the lingo. Nose to the grindstone. My 9 to 5. A case of the Mondays. It pays the bills. Everybody's working for the weekend. I owe my soul to the company store. Quittin' time. Clocking out. Closing bell. TGIF.
Let’s face it. Most of the idioms that accompany work portray it in a bad light. In some small way we take delight in the camaraderie from the shared experience embodied in phrases like "working for the Man," "The weekend was just too short," and “It’s five o’clock somewhere.” There is general consensus that work just plain stinks. Whether it's the overtime or underpay; the disgruntled customers or the taskmaster bosses, we‘ve all had our fair share of dread, exhaustion, and exasperation in the place we end up spending roughly a fourth of our lives.
And yet… Does it have to be that way? Here at Bomgar, our founder, Joel Bomgar, has made it his mission to prove this theory dead wrong. And he has found success, primarily, by impacting the company culture.
You could point to benefits like catered lunch on Tuesdays, free vending machines, gym reimbursement, ping pong and pool, tuition reimbursement, a sabbatical program, a helicopter ride for long-time employees, and even a company-wide Disney vacation to celebrate 10 years in business! (You can see the full benefits list here.) Plain and simple, Bomgar is an amazing place to work (a finalist in Jackson and Atlanta several years in a row). But even all these perks don’t stack up to what truly makes this place unique.
Bomgar Culture in 5 Steps
1. Core Values. Joel and the co-founders put this core values list together as guidelines for employee behavior. It serves as a touchstone for how we should approach our business relationships with bosses, customers, subordinates, and co-workers. It’s also not bad as a guideline for personal relationships as well.
2. The Right People on the Bus (and in the right seats). In his seminal business book “Good to Great,” Jim Collins spells out the importance of hiring people not simply for their impressive C.V.’s but based on how they will fit and interact within the framework of the company’s culture. Getting the wrong people off the bus and getting the right people in the right seats comes next. This may seem like a simple principle, but it is all too commonly substituted for previous accolades and the Peter Principle, which ominously states that people often get promoted to their personal level of incompetence. Bomgar looks not only at a person’s skill level but also considers how well that person will fit in with the “Bomgar Family” based on their work ethic and team view.
3. Drive. You can’t teach intrinsic motivation (my shameless blog post plug), but what you can do is put all the necessary drivers in place to enable it. Money is certainly important, and ostensibly the major reason most of us are working at all, but it has long since been debunked as the most important driver for worker motivation. Daniel H. Pink, in his landmark business book “Drive” talks about how people instead want to work for a place where their ideas have meaning, they are united behind a focused goal of the company, and they have autonomy. This is a great truth at Bomgar. There is the definite feeling that everyone is working toward a common goal and a willingness to go above and beyond to get there.
4. Feedback Loop. This is the next logical step for autonomy, because once we are free to self-govern and self-regulate, we want to up our responsibility and also suggest ways that things can be improved. I get increasingly frustrated when I see companies that I once loved forget this crucial step. Somewhere along the way the feedback loop is broken, they stop listening to their core customer base, or executives refuse to adapt based on what they are hearing from the front lines of the company. Bomgar has an internal anonymous suggestion box that Joel personally reads, and he responds to many of these requests publicly during our company updates as well as others privately. These typically include ways that we can improve our product, processes, or new perks that we could add to our growing list.
5. The Element of Surprise. This last one is actually one of my favorites, because it’s an ancient concept that remains relevant in the business world today. In “The Art of Worldly Wisdom,” Baltasar Gracian, a Spanish philosopher from the early 1600’s wrote, “Keep matters for a time in suspense. Admiration at their novelty heightens the value of your achievements. It is both useless and insipid to play with the cards on the table… Mix a little mystery with everything, and the very mystery arouses veneration.” As much as folks like to talk about Steve Jobs’ charisma, passion, and reality distortion field – I think he derived much of his success from the simple concept of keeping people guessing. And so has the team at Bomgar. Whether it’s a new product feature, social media contest, or upcoming employee benefit, we always seem to be kept pleasantly surprised.
Overall, being in a creative environment that is conducive to growth and development feels much more like a perpetual case of the Fridays. You come into work with a whistle and a grin, and you’re ready to tackle the day. Nothing is going to get you down. And when stuff happens to go wrong, you are surrounded by a team that builds you up. But here, it’s not just Friday; it’s Bomgar. If you think that sounds like a vision you could get behind, please feel free to check out our open positions, and drop us a line.
Until next time...
Oh, shoot, it's Friday afternoon. Yabba-dabba-doo!