The 3 Rs of Company Culture


“Hiring will either make or break your career. Take the time to hire the RIGHT people.”

This is one of the most important pieces of leadership advice I have ever been given. I’ve continued to learn that if hiring will make or break your career, culture will most certainly make or break your company.

The time I invest in selecting my team, mentoring them, empowering them and advocating for them is the most rewarding part of my job. Culture is the critical measurement to knowing if I’ve been successful in this challenge.

1. Recruiting: Careful Hiring = Success

Hiring is the first and most important part of building a company culture. As a leadership team, we take a lot of time to carefully select, interview, and hire the right people. While skills and experience are crucial, cultural fit is the most important factor. And by cultural fit, I don’t mean that we hire clones of the same personality. We look for core values that match those of our agency in each person.

There are many screening options available to test an applicant’s core values, including one Zappos has shared. But we’ve found a conversational interview surrounding our core values reveals if an applicant is a good fit.

2. Retaining: Employee Retainment = Employee Respect

While monthly massages and beer on tap are a couple of the great agency perks we offer employees, I believe the real reason employees love our company is because we trust and respect them. We give our employees the room and resources they need to be successful.

“The key to creating a great workplace is not a prescriptive set of employee benefits, programs and practices, but the building of high-quality relationships in the workplace,” according to Robert Levering and Milton Moskowitz, business journalists and co-authors of “The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America.”

I couldn’t agree more. Trust and respect are the foundation of any quality and lasting relationship. The workplace is no different.

After employees first join the Bonfire team, they often ask what time they should show up or if they should tell anyone when they leave for lunch. We consistently get looks of surprise when we answer with, “You are an adult, produce quality work, on time, and the rest of the details are up to you.” We respect employees not only for their work, but also as whole people who have lives to manage including family, friends, hobbies, and appointments.

We find that when we trust employees to do their very best, they do exactly that and more! More often, we have to check in with employees to make sure they aren’t working too many hours. Our employees own their projects, their client relationships, and take their work seriously.

3. Recommending: Turnover = Bad 

Employee retention is a goal for most companies, and Bonfire is no different. We love our employees. But, that doesn’t mean employee turnover is always bad, especially when mentorship is a part of your culture as well. Regardless of quality culture, some degree of turnover is normal.

If I have done my job as a leader, then my employees have grown professionally at our agency. Their new learnings, new experiences, and overall growth often leads to new opportunities both within and outside our agency.

Employee retainment is critical to organizations. Building a quality culture will ensure your employees want to do their very best for you. Always focus on the people-first mindset and take joy in giving an employee a glowing recommendation for their future position.

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Bonfire Marketing

407 NE 12th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97232

Phone: 503-334-2071