Ana Flor sits down with Gus Van Dender of Work Better Connected PodCast to discuss company culture and the philosophies she brings to ATTOM Data Solutions. Ana goes over what she believes company culture is, how it affects a workplace, and how our actions and choices can change the culture of a business. Ana, Executive Vice President of People and Culture, has been in HR for over 10 years and with ATTOM Data Solutions nearly 2 years where she brings her views of a strong positive culture to her everyday leadership.
What is culture?
ATTOM Data Solutions believes culture is the personality of a company. Just like a human being, a company has a unique personality! Over time, it forms and shapes as it continues to grow. It’s important for a company to make work a positive experience for its employees, and the best way it can do that is through a positive culture.
Where does it come from?
ATTOM’s culture comes from its employees and its leaders! Each company has core foundational values that its leaders instill as the core of its personality, but the culture changes over time. The culture of a company is dynamic and changes with the company’s growth and with each employee.
Every new employee brought on brings in their own unique perspective and experiences and causes a shift in a—hopefully—positive direction and builds upon existing foundational values. We’re the same people at home as we are at work, and we take everything we’ve experienced in our own lives into our work. When we integrate these experiences and values, we build a great, well-functioning team that makes use of everybody’s individualism and personalities. Together, we can work toward the same passion and goal.
What does it do for a company?
It helps employees to grasp what a goal is. Instead of trying to understand an intangible number, it is an important part of a company’s culture to communicate goals with its employees.
Some businesses aren’t always able to articulate these goals well when they have a great vision of where they want to be in mind. Employees can’t see where or what they’re working for without this communication.
ATTOM Data Solutions finds it’s just as important to see the vision as it is to communicate it and get everybody on board. When your staff sees the goal, they can get everybody on board and be excited about what you’re trying to do.
Without this communication, we risk employees feeling disconnected, not feeling the culture, or not understanding the vision, and they’ll disengage. Employers have to communicate these goals even as they change and as it comes up if they’re on track or not.
If the culture shifts in time with these goals, we want to talk about why, and how that’s a good thing for a company.
How does culture negatively or positively impact a company?
Company culture is not only setting the values and talking about the culture you want to be, but it’s also taking action and performing among them. If we have a culture of openness and trust, we need to make sure we have the right leaders and managers in place.
I’ve been in situations where we don’t hire the right manager, and they conflict with our values. It creates a lot of frustration for employees as well as the manager who doesn’t understand why their methods aren’t effective in this setting. Maybe their style worked at other companies, but it doesn’t work for ours.
We should move on and admit it wasn’t a good fit for our company, so we don’t risk losing good employees instead of—or in addition to—the manager.
I’ve also worked at a company where the owner always talked about people being the #1 asset for an organization. In his actions, he talked to every employee and got to know them, learned about their families, and what they wanted to do in the organization. People felt that he was true to the culture he was trying to recreate, and seasonal employees always returned because they felt so valued.
An organization must figure out how to bring in diversity to the team while still allowing it to work like a well-oiled machine. It should keep moving forward, but at the end of the day, ATTOM Data Solutions finds people should feel connected to the company and its values.
How do you change an organization for the better?
It’s important to be an influential team leader.
You can do this by having the right leaders in place who can talk to the culture and what you’re trying to accomplish.
It’s also leading by example—even though that sounds cliché.
If I say I want to be an honest and empathetic leader, I need to think about how to accomplish this. I try to be an intentional leader, and I hope that it influences others to develop into leaders who create the right environment for their team. That will definitely change an organization.
To be an intentional leader, I consider the leader I am compared to the leader I aspire to be.
If I want to be an honest communicator, then I want to make sure I’m thinking through how I’m communicating information, whether good or bad, to employees. I want to be sure I align with what I’m saying.
If I want to say I’m an empathetic leader, then I ask myself: Am I making decisions where I’ve taken the time to see things from my employee’s perspective? Am I really taking the time to make decisions based on what I see the employees are going through and feeling? What about what they’re thinking about the situations that are going on?
This is intentional leadership. I make an effort to do things the way I said I would. It makes a huge difference.
However, in leadership, people are always paying attention. You’re not perfect, and when you do things that aren’t in line with what you want to be, you have to own it. You acknowledge you did something wrong and establish how we’ll move forward and how we’ll handle the situation in the future.
Leaders really are a critical part of creating a positive culture or even any culture within an organization. ATTOM’s culture connects our employees to the company’s goals and gives it personality and strength. ATTOM Data Solutions has learned the best thing we can do to support this culture and connection is to be a piece of it ourselves.
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