They say it’s easy to have a healthy corporate culture when your team is small. And sure, that’s true — provided your core values are a focus.
At Soundstripe, they were a focus from day one.
Let’s start with a personal anecdote: When I joined Soundstripe in 2018, my goal wasn’t to simply preserve the thriving culture Soundstripe had created. Instead, I wanted to take that successful foundation and guide it through the evolutions of early stage company growth.
The Soundstripe team met around ping-pong tables in the early days, like so many tech startups before us. But today, with just short of 100 employees, what inspires and engages us is already markedly different.
Purpose, power, and community
In 2021, Soundstripe was named a Top Workplace by The Tennessean for the third year in a row. While we continue to hire talented innovators who inspire our team to do great work, Soundstripe’s maturation has more to do with our commitment to providing our team with critical elements needed to scale engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty.
Here are three principles that have guided our growth:
High performers aren’t motivated by trendy benefits or having cold brew coffee on tap (even though we have both). They’re driven by the chance to apply their talent toward solving an interesting problem.
When you provide employees with a compelling “why” behind your organizational “whats” and “hows,” the right people will embrace your goals as an opportunity to do their best work.
Soundstripe kicks off each year by setting north star goals and engaging our team in setting objectives with clear, measurable key results. Each employee’s quarterly performance connection is an opportunity to review progress against those goals, and every weekly check-in is an opportunity to calibrate, collaborate, and remove any obstacles in the way.
Twice a month, our global team comes together for an all-hands forum where our CEOs discuss strategy, performance, and results. Our divisions are acknowledged, initiatives are celebrated, and employees are recognized.
It’s in these moments that our team grasps a clear understanding of how their work rolls all the way up to Soundstripe’s ultimate mission.
We’re building densely talented teams, because we’ve learned that working next to creative, passionate people inspires us to find new and better solutions. When you’re given the autonomy and authority to innovate, you’re going to be empowered to repeat your success.
A workplace focused on clear lines of communication, strong process efficiencies, and progressive tools will enable people to achieve better collaboration. And that’s how organizations can stay on mission while consistently bringing good ideas to life.
Our team members are hired for their high performance, but also their alignment with our Core Values. For three years, Soundstripe’s eNPS has boasted above 80% satisfaction, with the quality of coworkers ranking as the number one value felt by our workforce.
Our people propel our innovation, and hiring the right talent is what pushes our workforce and creates a mindset of success across our team.
With every new addition to our rapidly scaling workforce, we’ve found it more and more critical to establish guiding principles for both cultural and operational protocols. Since 2018, Soundstripers have leveraged Agile frameworks to organize, prioritize, and optimize our work.
The faster our organization moves, the more important it’s been to align our leadership around the way we work. The more we’ve leaned into streamlined, consistent practices, the more our team has felt empowered to achieve and win.
When you have clear purpose and tactical empowerment, you’re put in a position to achieve success. So we’ve let our Core Values guide company culture, bolstered by behaviors that promote unity, respect, inclusiveness, and growth. More importantly, it’s helped us create a workplace that promotes pride, belonging, fulfillment, and long-term loyalty.
And because we stand by our belief in the integration of work and life — by celebrating the wins of both sprinting and resting — we’ve been able to ensure that the talent we attract is also the talent we keep.
In Soundstripe’s earliest days, “building community” meant gathering our troops, locking up our office, and escaping to Percy Priest Lake outside of Nashville with whatever snacks and sunscreen our founders had on-hand. But as our business has matured, nurturing connections for a hybrid, distributed workforce has required more intentionality.
Lake Day has become an annual Soundstripe tradition
We still close our business each summer for our team to rest by the lake, but we’ve added wellness challenges, virtual happy hours, quarterly socials, an annual holiday party, and an annual in-person summit to engage our team, inspire trust, and forge meaningful connections.
These events have bolstered the bonds that drive belonging across our workforce, and we believe a sense of belonging is what will drive loyalty, innovation, and — ultimately — success.
Equip and optimize
All of this boils down to a single sentence: We believe the mission of company leadership should be to bring the right people together, give them a clear and achievable mission, equip them in the ways they need to be successful, and instill a sense of belonging within a thriving community.
It’s simple in theory, and much harder in execution. But we’ve seen firsthand that this is how you build a top workplace while also optimizing your workforce for success.
Like so many companies, Soundstripe has ridden the wave of a global pandemic, a shift to remote-first work, and all the early learnings of a rapid-growth company in an increasingly saturated market.
Amidst our many cultural successes, we’ve had failures and we’re sure to have more. But each day, the spirit that inspired our founders continues to push us to provide our workforce with a strong sense of purpose, power, and community.
This human experience is first and foremost in the decisions that drive our success, and it’s for this reason we believe the workplace we’ve built during our first five years will continue to succeed in the years to come.
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