It has been said many times before that “culture will eat strategy for breakfast.” That certainly doesn’t mean strategy isn’t important – what it means is that an amazing culture can put everyone on the fast track to organizational success. It’s not something that we as leaders get right all the time. But it is something that should stay top of mind when we look across our employee communities and consider the kind of culture we want to foster and grow.
Two sides of the employee experience
I believe it’s essential to ensure everyone embraces building a culture together that recognizes and rewards the individual, but also celebrates and appreciates the efforts across teams that lead to greater success. A workplace where recognition and rewards programs create the right connections and recognition of what people do and who they are.
It takes a two pronged approach. A formal system linked to individual contributions to company strategy, with feedback mechanisms and a performance based pay and benefits element. And a culture of recognition that goes beyond monetary reward to creating connections and moments of appreciation to who we are as individuals beyond our professional lives.
Employee appreciation at RingCentral: Intentionality is key
While none of these ideas are radical or new, the real key is ensuring that leaders are intentional about getting the balance right. There are many ways we do this at RingCentral. Here are the top 6 ways we activate our culture with an intentional balance between recognition and rewards on one side and celebration and appreciation on the other.
1. CaRing Days
Every quarter we intentionally select one day where we invite our employees to take the time to step away from work and spend time CaRing for themselves, their loved ones or a cause that is close to their heart. This year, we’re kicking-off our 2023 CaRing Days on Employee Appreciation Day, March 3. We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate our culture of CaRing than by showing appreciation for the people that make RingCentral an amazing place to work!
We think we’ve created something fairly unique and special with our CaRing Days and while they were originally introduced as a pandemic related wellbeing benefit – this is such a popular, and beneficial program we’ve decided to keep it as we transition to our hybrid work model (more on that in a minute).
Here are the four days in 2023 when our employees can enjoy ourCaRing Days in a way that is most meaningful to them:
- Q1 – March 3, in recognition of Employee Appreciation Day
- Q2 – April 21, in recognition of Earth Day
- Q3 – August 18, in recognition of World Humanitarian Day
- Q4 – October 9, in recognition of World Mental Health Day
2. A hybrid work environment
As we transition to a post-pandemic era, many companies are adapting to a new hybrid world of work. Here at RingCentral we’ve rolled out a new policy to provide maximum flexibility as to how our people choose their in-office days. Anyone in a hybrid role can choose which 30 days per quarter they spend in the office. And we’re being intentional about how we operationalize our hybrid policy–asking our people to be accountable for meeting the 30 days per quarter goal, which is now part of earning their quarterly MBO payout.
Creating a thriving and flexible hybrid culture is important at RingCentral because we believe in-person connection is critical to creating a winning work culture. It comes back to who we are as people–people who value the energy, the joy and the creativity that being together as a team creates. The power of human connection to fuel ideas, spark innovation and bring some of the joy back into work!
3. Employee wellness as a priority
We’re not claiming a eureka moment on employee wellbeing—many organizations became more intentional about employee health and wellness at the height of the COVID-19 crisis. Particularly the rapid transition to working from home and the isolation created by lockdowns that kept us apart.
Through our RingCentral TaskHuman app, our employees have 24X7 access to 1:1 live coaching sessions on everything from yoga to relationship management, parental support and many more essential areas of our lives that we can all do with some extra help with now and again. It’s a great complement to our hybrid work approach as it provides maximum flexibility to engage in coaching sessions at a time that works best for the individual.
4. Employee resource groups
During the pandemic we saw that employees were craving ways to connect with each other. So it’s no surprise that the number of Employees Resource Groups (ERGs) more than doubled over the past 2 years. And the number of RingCentral employees who joined ERGs or participated in the ERG hosted cultural activities grew by more than 3x.
When you see momentum like this, it’s important to keep it going, which is why we have made ERG funding part of our annual budget cycle. I’m the first to point out that correlation is not always causation, but our company has also seen a significant jump in employee productivity over the past 2 years, and I believe the cultural connections built through ERG activities plays an active role in encouraging collaboration.
5. Social responsibility
Appreciating who we are is also about supporting the causes closest to our heart or rallying around crisis moments that unexpectedly touch our lives. Our newly founded RingCentral Foundation brings this together through community outreach and dedicated emergency response. We know this drives connection to who we are as people and the values we hold important in our lives.
The Frost & Sullivan Institute recently recognized our focused efforts in ESG and awarded RingCentral its Enlightened Growth Leadership Best Practices Award in 2022. This award recognizes companies for “achieving sustained financial growth over a ten year period” along with their commitment and efforts to make the world a better place. On top of this, we recently increased our rating from A to AA (on a scale of CCC to AAA) in the MSCI ESG Ratings assessment, moving us into the leadership category.
6. Simple moments create powerful connections
Sometimes the most meaningful connections that show appreciation are the little everyday activities or initiatives that take place across our global offices at a local level or that bring our global employee community together on a regular basis. Everything from local giving or volunteer activities, fun engagement moments, breakfast with executives, to our quarterly employee All Hands or our annual leadership roadshow to visit our global office hubs – they each combine to drive the connections that matter.
Of course, it’s not all up to what’s done at the corporate level, it matters to have teams and departments build their own best practices and regular cadence of bringing people together. And it’s also about bringing transparency to an organization and having a culture that embraces collaboration and helping each other out.
To appreciate someone for who they are and not just what they do is a powerful way to create an amazing work culture. It takes an intentional approach that drives connections not just to the recognition of the contributions a person makes to the business but an acknowledgement and appreciation for who they are as a person.
In this way, organizations can create dynamic work cultures that foster the natural desire to do well that is an inherent part of our human nature. Culture building is always a work-in-progress and we know we have more to do at RingCentral. But I also know we have taken some important steps forward that will continue to power our growth as we continue to #WinAsOne.
Originally published Mar 02, 2023