When you walk into the Headquarters of Infusionsoft you can immediately feel the atmosphere and culture of the sales and marketing software firm. From the lobby you can see into the company’s bright open workspaces and in the middle is an in house “football field” (a tribute to their first office space within a converted gym). The values of the company are written on its walls to be a constant reminder of the company’s mission and what it stands for. Among its many features, the kitchen is the favorite place among employees as they can indulge in as much cereal as they can imagine. Infusionsoft employees truly love their cereal as the company orders 300 boxes a week.
We all know that a fitness room, an unlimited supply of cereal and other fun gadgets are not the only things that create Infusionsoft’s high performing workforce. MIT found in a study on how to engage employees and create a high performing workforce that there are three main elements to succeed in employee engagement. In order to ensure engagement, employees need autonomy, the ability to develop themselves, and organizations that have a purpose that employees can be passionate about. Infusionsoft seems to have all of this figured out and is successfully applying theory to practice.
To find out how Infusionsoft has implemented those three core elements to create high employee engagement, I sat down with the On Ramping Experience Leader at Infusionsoft, Georgi Feidler. Georgi is responsible for all new employees that come on board at Infusionsoft. Employees are on ramped until they graduate at which point they are ready to be called Infusionites. Only then, can they be trusted to understand and act according to the culture of Infusionsoft.
Georgi is responsible for making sure that newly hired employees understand Infusionsoft and their responsibilities as quickly as possible. In order to be a good fit, an employee needs to have a big passion for small businesses, which is described in the purpose of the company: “Help Small Businesses Succeed”. Second, the employee needs to be and stay authentic to themselves. Employees that cannot be authentic are not going to be successful, explains Georgi. This philosophy is backed by research from Johnson Cornell University. And lastly, the employee needs to be goal driven and understand the objectives of the organization.
Business Goals + Personal Goals = Success
Employees working for Infusionsoft are going to be the most successful when they understand two things: that they need to deliver the goals that are being set for them and that they are able to discuss and work on personal goals, a.k.a. “dreams”.
Personal goals are key to business success
For the work on personal goals, the company follows the methodology from the book written by Matthew Kelly, “The Dream Manager”. He believes that the key to motivation isn’t necessarily the promise of a bigger paycheck or title, but rather the fulfillment of crucial personal dreams. People at every level jobs need to be offered specific kinds of help and encouragement — or our dreams will stay dreams forever as we grow dissatisfied with our lives, jobs and futures.
Employees have access to a full time “dream manager” who supports employees with their own dreams. Courses on how to work on your dreams are offered at Infusionsoft, like the course “real colors”. One on one coaching is also available to all employees who request it. It is not surprising that in an environment focused on helping small businesses succeed, Infusionsoft has many employees whose aspirations are to start their own business. There are success stories from many of Infusionsoft’s former employees who pursued their dreams and now run their own companies.
Business goals are key to stable cultures
Even though it is important to work on personal goals, Georgi makes sure that we don’t forget about the importance of having strong business goals that are clearly and often communicated. When employees start with Infusionsoft, they meet with key managers within the first few days. After a week they sit down and discuss business and individual objectives. This routine, discussing and measuring company, department and individual (professional) goals is done in a systematic manner. Throughout the process the company’s stiff goals do not go unnoticed. Posters mounted on doors throughout the building show the company’s multi-year goals, including sales and headcount numbers. Every department has whiteboards where goals are measured. During quarterly meetings, improvement projects are discussed and measured. Key tasks with the name of the responsible person and the deadline are placed on large posters for all to see.
Maintaining Strong Culture Among Growth
Infusionsoft has grown rapidly over the years, it is incredible that the company has maintained such a strong culture. Georgi mentioned that this is indeed a challenge when you perceive culture from a static point of view. The founder of Infusionsoft has been a strong advocate to hire, fire and train to the vision of the organization, but he also believes that you need to scale the culture to the organization. The culture at Infusionsoft is intentionally not organically managed. Infusionites are all passionate about the success of small businesses as well as the success of Infusionsoft. If an employee doesn’t have that passion, they are not going to fit. If an employee leaves the company it is often because they are no longer passionate about the goals of Infusionsoft and the purpose of the organization. When these employees leave the company it is often not a surprise as Infusionsoft leaders are very connected to their employees and their dreams. Under certain circumstances some employees even receive a leave bonus.
The Secret Sauce of Infusionsoft
- Clearly communicates the purpose of the organization. In Infusionsoft’s case: “to help small businesses succeed”.
- Employees know at any given time what is expected of them with clear goals attached to those expectations.
- Employees have the autonomy to make decisions that will enable them to reach their goals.
- The company is invested in the dreams and personal goals of the employees.
- When employees no longer fit with the company they are supported to move on.
Infusionsoft truly understands how to create a high performance culture. Are you missing something in your organization? Think about these 5 essential “ingredients”, and integrate them into your own organization’s way of doing business. Maybe after that, you too could have a culture as awesome as Infusionsoft’s.
Infusionsoft is the leading sales and marketing software firm for small businesses, helping them to get organized, grow sales and save time. Unlike other software providers, Infusionsoft is solely focused on small business success and provides one of the easiests to use system for sales and marketing. The privately held, eight-time Inc. 500/5000 company is based in Chandler, Arizona and is funded by Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital Ventures, Mohr Davidow Ventures and Signal Peak Ventures. For more information, visit www.infusionsoft.com or the Infusionsoft blog.
About the Author
Mirjam IJtsma is the founder of Cultural Chemistry, LLC. an innovative Human Resources firm based in New Hampshire with locations in both Manchester and Portsmouth. Cultural Chemistry challenges the current status quo of Human Capital Management. It combines traditional HR methodologies with innovative High Performance Strategies in order to improve employee engagement and reduced tardiness as a result.
Cultural Chemistry serves small to mid-size businesses focused on socially responsible growth and improving efficiency and profitability. For more information visit: www.culturalchemistry.com.