Company Culture: Customer Service Skills Required

June 16, 2015


We face a lot of the same business problems and challenges that our small business customers do. On occasion, we’ll feature a post from a Gravie employee about the struggle or challenge that we share. This week, Jen Bucki, head of human resources at Gravie, shares how Gravie approaches the challenge of creating an awesome company culture.

Human resources is more than just thinking about employee benefits and health insurance—it’s thinking about how everything comes together to create an awesome culture that people want to be a part of.

Because I lead human resources at a small (but growing) company, I have the privilege and big responsibility of thinking a lot about “company culture.” Culture means different things to different people. And to make it more complicated, one person or team doesn’t own or create “culture”—it’s an organic attitude and philosophy that can be tricky (sometimes impossible) to define.

In my mind, it’s the difference between great customer service and terrible customer service. You may ultimately get your question or issue resolved either way, but how did it feel? How were you treated? That’s hard to define…

When we talk about culture here at Gravie, we are talking about 1) the type of people we hire and 2) how we work with our customers and our fellow Gravie employees.

Treat Employees Right and Create a Great Culture

To capture Gravie’s culture today, we have framed on our wall 4 phrases that put something very vague into digestible words:

    1. Remove Obstacles
      Create the shortest route from Point A to Point B for the customer—in HR, employees are the customers! So it makes sense that our approach to benefits/work environment strives to remove as many obstacles as possible:

      • Open office environment
      • MacBook laptops are standard issue
      • Work from home option and flexible scheduling
      • Free MetroPass for mass transit commuters, contribution toward parking for driving commuters
      • Skyway connected in Downtown Minneapolis
      • No dress code – jeans are encouraged!
      • Bike parking in building and shower for biking/running commuters
      • Free snacks

    2. Reasonable People Do Reasonable Things
      I really like quotes, and one that embodies my philosophy around this best is, “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” -Ernest Hemingway We hire super smart, trustworthy, creative and awesome people and then (surprise!) try our best to treat them that way.One tangible way we do this is that we have an “unlimited PTO” policy; meaning employees are responsible for managing their time away with their manager and team. No tracking, accruing, TPS reporting, etc. – we trust employees to get their work done and take the time they need away from work to recharge.
    3. No Jerk Policy
      We don’t hire jerks, we don’t work with jerks and we don’t act like jerks. Period.
    4. Everybody Owns Everything
      We’re proud that all Gravie employees are shareholders – owning a piece of the company and sharing in the company’s success is an important part of our compensation philosophy.

All in all, I’m a big believer that HR is a customer service job. If you’re thinking about culture as much as I am, I encourage you to think about your culture as your customer service philosophy. How do you treat each other? How does work get done? And ultimately, how do you care for the people that make your company possible?

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