Good company culture is like a food recipe; there is a lot of prep work, elements and time that goes into it, and when it’s good, everyone loves it, and when it’s bad, everyone knows it. The culture can affect a company in positive and negative ways. Many people these days are taking a hard look at what kind of company cultures they are supporting. A company culture matters, because it externally shows what kind of people work there, and if they are a service-oriented company, what their interactions with you would be like and how that interaction will affect your relationship. But first, what exactly is company culture? Company culture can be defined as a set of shared values, goals, attitudes, and practices that characterize an organization. Essentially, everything vital to a thriving organization.
Companies are made up of individuals that bring their own world view and experiences. Good companies recognize and encourage individuals to share their previous experiences to find improvements, enhance the company image, and deliver an excellent product. For managed IT service providers (MSPs), that product is customer service.
I’ve been in a few customer service positions, some sales related, some support related. On the sales side, the company always valued profitability and performance over personal values. I was delivering the best customer service, making customers happy, and earning myself the store’s first platinum customer service award, but the company still decided to move me to another place in the store, because I wasn’t selling enough product. In my new position, I got to assist customers more directly, and the service that I gave resulted in sales. Still, in that position, I was told that I was taking too long with the customers, and even that I was giving them too much information, as they should have to pay to get the kind of useful information that was provided.
It was at that point a new idea was created, to have a training class built around simply education, teaching customers how to use their products, allowing them to ask questions in a safe environment, directly with an expert. This was my ah-ha moment if you will. I learned that what I enjoyed most was not getting customers to purchase things that they didn’t need but teaching them how to use the products that best fit their needs. It allowed me to focus solely on providing quality information and answers, which in turn enabled customers able to make more informed decisions. Eventually, the company decided that the classroom environment was not profitable and closed it.
I moved on to another company, where the company culture was even worse. It focused on profits over the employees and the customers that they served, resulting in large turnover rates for both employees and customers. The culture of the company was displayed to all employees during the weekly Monday morning meetings, where the salespeople were always recognized, and operational staff hardly mentioned. The culture that existed and was allowed to thrive was a toxic one, and because this wasn’t recognized as a problem, it would never change. That’s when I decided to leave and join iuvo Technologies.
At iuvo Technologies, we have core values that we base our decisions and culture on. They are Trust, Respect, Humility, Take Initiative, Embrace Change, Experience Matters, Collaboration, Open Communication, and Relationships are Key. These values are so well engrained that my colleague, Ed Perkins, also wrote a post recently outlining what they mean to him. When I arrived here, and they presented these core values of the company to me, it was another ah-ha moment. I realized that the other companies that I had worked for rarely had any of these values in place. Without a strong core culture, the other companies were pushing their employees out, preventing them from having a lasting contribution to the overall wellbeing of the company, and by not allowing them to contribute to the culture, it stayed stagnant, and poor
As an MSP, iuvo Technologies has always had culture central to the development and progress of the company. Every step that is taken to improve a part of the company, uses the core values as a guide. They trust us to make informed decisions, and the employees trust the executive staff to communicate changes and developments that affect the company with everyone. Every single person is treated with respect. It’s the first company that I’ve worked for where there is not a single person that I’ve had a conflict with or felt like I was treated unkindly. This respect is reflected in turn to our customers, by listening to their needs and concerns.
Another value that allows for a great working culture is Humility. Humility is not something that IT employees are known for, with popular media often having some less than favorable characterizations. A lack of humility can easily cause a potential relationship with a customer or client to go awry and end up costing you.
At other companies, employees and IT people especially seem to hold on to information closely, as they may feel that this makes them invaluable to their company and prevent their replacement. But we work the opposite way at iuvo Technologies; our core values include Collaboration, Open Communication and Relationships Are Key, which helps ensure the knowledge of collective groups is shared and used freely for the best customer service.
Each iuvonaut, as we call ourselves, is empowered to Take Initiative, by pursuing solutions and answers to problems that, without a positive culture in place, may not have been allowed to do in the first place. That is also why the ability to Embrace Change is important, as things can change quickly in the technology world, and issues can crop up out of nowhere. By being flexible and working together as a team, we can overcome even the most challenging of obstacles, which as an MSP, is essential to delivering a timely and proper solution for our clients. It also means we realize when it is time to bring in additional support to solve a more difficult problem. In relation to the culture, it is the experience of being in a poor culture that allows iuvo Technologies to have a positive one and deliver on the promises that we made to our customers and clients. Every single decision that we make aligns with our core values, and as our CEO Bryon Beilman always says, “We’re a customer service company that happens to be good at technology.”
This was the part that was missing in all my other jobs, and why it is essential to have an IT team with a positive culture. With a better company culture, it allows for better and more experienced IT technicians to come to the company, and with active collaboration, it increases the shared knowledge for all iuvo Technologies employees. With a culture of sharing and collaboration, we are then able to easily turn around and present ourselves to our clients with our culture out front, showing that even though we are not the largest technology provider, we are mighty, able to solve problems in a timely manner, and the customers and clients can then go on and no longer worry about their technical troubles, but can instead focus on what they do best.
In summary, having a positive company culture allows IT techs to excel and learn from other colleagues, which in turn allows companies with positive cultures like iuvo Technologies to deliver an excellent IT experience. We take care of our customers’ technical issues, so they can focus on changing the world.