Values + People = Culture

The team at Search Discovery was recently honored in Inc. magazine's annual list of the Best Workplaces for 2020.

That’s incredible! Of 3000 companies that competed for the honor, only 395 made the list. Search Discovery is among companies leading the way in employee recognition, performance management, and diversity. While the average engagement score among respondents was 73.5%, Search Discovery’s score was 92%.

We all spend so much of our time pursuing what’s next for our clients, business, and individual growth–I thought this would be a good time to pause and reflect on what makes Search Discovery a great (nationally recognized!) place to work.

The most common question we receive in our recruiting process is, “Why do you like to work here?” For me, it’s a relatively simple answer: Our people, of course! I talk about the great things our people do, the alignment and clarity that we have as a team, and how each member of the team contributes in unique ways. Our culture is the result of a group of amazing people that all embody a shared purpose and set of Core Values.

Values

One of the first projects I worked on at Search Discovery was an effort to rearticulate our Core Values. As I surveyed and interviewed people across the organization, it was exciting to hear alignment throughout the team to a shared set of values. Most of the themes in my interviews were captured in the descriptors of the four values we had declared at the time. But, as the organization was growing and evolving, there was also a desire to elevate those themes, so the values could stand on their own without lengthy definitions. Our resultant Core Values captured perfectly the stories and behaviors that define our team; Pioneering, Humility, Craftsmanship, Judgment, Resilience, Accountability, Vision, and Wellness.

These behaviors are pervasive in our team. They guide us in how we serve our clients, how we communicate with each other, how we select new members to join our team, and how we recognize and reward individuals and teams. They point us toward the right thing to do when a difficult decision needs to be made. Our values are chosen to interact with and balance one another. Like our team members, our values are not intended to work in isolation. Accountability and Humility, for example, each require the other to thrive. Our values facilitate reflective, collaborative discussion and practice.

+ People

Core Values are no more than inspiring words hung on a wall without a team that’s embodying them. In fact, values that a team doesn’t believe in can create a culture of conflict within an organization. Our people hold each other accountable for living our values out every day, regardless of title, experience, or expertise. Each person is empowered in the pursuit of finding the best solutions and pursuing what’s right. This is when we get the joy of seeing passionate people doing incredible things.

One of the most rewarding parts of my job is hearing from candidates and new hires about this passion, drive, and focus they experience from our team. The excitement they have to want to brag to their friends about the people they get to work with. The care they have received from their colleagues throughout their onboarding process. None of that happens without our amazing team.

We aren’t perfect by any stretch. But we know it and that’s what makes our team strong. We leverage each other’s strengths, we help each other when it comes to our weaknesses, and we know that there isn’t anything we can’t accomplish when we work together as a team.

= Culture

In The Advantage, Patrick Lencioni talks about the difference between a smart organization and a healthy organization. A smart organization consists of a team’s experience and expertise. A healthy organization is one whose team has clarity and purpose. In a healthy organization, the intelligence of individuals is multiplied because the team is all heading in the same direction. That’s why it is so hard to replicate a healthy organization. You can’t just copy what they do. It doesn’t work.

At Search Discovery, we have ping-pong tables, kegerators, and great offices. We have well thought out systems and processes, cool technology, recognition and rewards programs, and robust training offerings. These are all things we are grateful for but they aren’t what defines our culture. You can’t programitize your culture (and shouldn’t try). Those things are there to support our people in many ways, and if they were to stop serving their purpose, we would do something different.

I’ve had a few people describe our culture as contagious. That really resonates with me. It can be difficult to articulate “culture,” but when something special has been created, it’s pretty easy to experience it and you definitely know when you’ve “caught it.”

Our culture is a result of our people pursuing our purpose, living out our core values, and passionately striving to achieve our team’s goals. We provide clarity and enable our team, and then we give them room to create something even more amazing than we envisioned.

Our team is committed to helping others thrive. We share knowledge through external communities and we invest in ourselves and our colleagues to stay sharp. We’re vulnerable with each other and we create outlets to ask for help. We make a point to enjoy life together through in-person and virtual happy hours and coffee chats. All of that combined with the relentless care and support of our clients has landed us on the Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies three years in a row and tripled our headcount while maintaining our exceptional culture.

The team at Search Discovery continues to amaze me, and this past month has been no exception. I’m inspired by the way our team has rallied to provide support to one another through uncertainty and change, all while caring for our clients who are navigating challenges, too. Which makes the timing of this award especially fitting. It is gratifying to see each and every team member at Search Discovery recognized for the incredible workplace they have built. I can’t wait to see what they do next!

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