Sep 8, 2021 10:00:00 AM 13 min read

How Can Any Company Build the Culture They Want? A Low-Code App Helped Build and Maintain Ours Through the Pandemic and Beyond

What factors are most important for success in today's business environment?

Technology is certainly one—that's why digital transformation is at the top of priority list at many companies. But the factor that is perhaps the most critical is one that many business leaders overlook. Dr. Laura Hamill, Chief People Officer at corporate wellness company Limeade, identifies it this way:

"Culture is the single most important factor in organizational success or failure."

Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., former CEO and Board Chairman at IBM, adds a perspective from one of the world's premier technology companies:

"I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn't just one aspect of the game, it is the game."

But, even though culture trumps technology as a corporate success factor, modern technology can be a powerful tool for helping companies get their culture on the right track.

In this article, we want to take a look at how eSystems used low-code technology to help it build a vibrant company culture. Let's start by examining why a company's culture is so critical to its success.

Businessman showing computer screen to coworkers in creative office

Why is company culture so important?

Peter Ashworth, CEO at Humanity One, highlights the key role of company culture this way:

Your culture is the formula, the DNA that provides guidelines, boundaries and expectations for your team and your customers, and is the primary platform to inspiring and motivating your people, and is the most powerful resource you have to attract, recruit, hire and retain the highest level of talent to your business.

A company's culture directly impacts the job performance of employees. According to research conducted by Oxford University, workers are 13% more productive when they are happy with their jobs. And among the newest cohort of young workers, culture can be decisive: companies with healthy cultures are 16 times more likely to retain their Generation Z workers (those born after 1996).

Worker performance, productivity, and retention directly affect a business's bottom line. But more than that, employees' satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with their company's culture inevitably affects the way they interact with business partners, suppliers and, most critically, with customers.

What does it take to have a healthy company culture?

In their book Corporate Cultures: The Rites and Rituals of Corporate Life, McKinsey consultants Terry Deal and Arthur Kennedy lay out four essential ingredients of company culture:

  1. Values/beliefs — What your company stands for, its mission and core values
  2. Stories/myths  Inspiring accounts of how employees overcame obstacles or went the extra mile to help fulfill the company's mission
  3. Heroes  Employees who exhibit extraordinary dedication and excellence in their work
  4. Rituals  The ways the company habitually celebrates its heroes or the achievement of important milestones

What ties all these ingredients together is effective, open, and sincere communication that flows in both directions. Workers want to be informed about what's happening in their company. But they also need to feel free to honestly express their concerns. Only then can an HR or management team get reliable feedback concerning the adjustments needed to strengthen the company culture.

As an article published by the Harvard Professional Development Program (HPDP) declares:

One of the most powerful indicators that people in your organization do not feel safe is silence.

"The most dangerous organization is a silent one."  -- HPDP instructor Lorne Rubis

Unposed group of creative business people in an open concept office brainstorming their next project.

How eSystems used low-code to create a great company culture

eSystems recognized that to build a strong company culture, we needed to implement the ingredients of success by recognizing and celebrating the efforts of our own league of superhero employees. We wanted the entire company to know their heroes, both to give recognition to those who have gone above and beyond, and to motivate others to do the same.

So, being low-code technology experts, we naturally set about building a low-code mobile app to elevate our superheroes. Major goals for the app included:

  • Connecting our 50+ employees in various countries
  • Company-wide monthly superhero voting, so that everyone has a voice in choosing 12 superheroes per year
  • Sharing company news, notifications, and reminders about company-wide items of interest
  • Monthly "team pulse" surveys, with transparent results sharing and progress reporting
  • Sharing the results of various CSAT (Customer Satisfaction score) and internal feedback surveys

But what is low-code, and why did we choose it for our app?

With low code, developers create sophisticated applications visually, by dragging and dropping pre-built modules and templates into the appropriate logical arrangement rather than by writing procedural code statements. Because as much as 90% of the app's logic is embodied in the pre-built modules, low-code development is far quicker and easier than traditional software development methods.

The low-code architecture allowed simple development of a multifaceted app that has since become an invaluable asset to our company. It was critical in keeping up the company culture, communication, and employee engagement across our three locations during the COVID lockdown.

The impact of our Superheroes app is reflected in the enthusiasm expressed by of one of our employees:

"The best part about our Superheroes app is that we have the monthly opportunity to give and receive feedback, and truly reflect back on our achievements together with our teammates. I see each month how the app brings about more connections between our three offices, and seeing that, it motivates me to give more to our community. Our company culture has benefited immensely from the Superheroes app!"

--Alma Honkanen, eSystems UX/UI Designer

In developing our own superheroes app, we experienced first-hand the way embracing low-code almost always stimulates the growth of a culture of teamwork. And that's not just true for software companies like eSystems. You can see the same dynamic at work in this case study in which Finnish energy company Tampereen Sähkölaitos reported an improved team culture and climate after embracing low-code.

How to improve your company's culture

If you've recognized the importance of company culture, and want to get started strengthening the culture in your organization, here are some brief tips on how to get started:

  1. Compare yourself to your competitors or similar sized companies—read success stories.
  2. Survey your own team—use focus groups or ask for anonymous feedback on how to improve.
  3. Communicate the need for change.
  4. Make goals and a plan for implementing the new values you and your employees want to put in place.
  5. Create stories, heroes, and rituals that celebrate your updated company values.
  6. Make sure the company's incentive system supports your new values.
  7. Partner with a good low-code development company, such as eSystems, to help you put practical processes in place to support the new culture you want to see in your company.

 Image of a succesful casual business woman using laptop during meeting

eSystems can help your HR team build your company's culture

Mobile apps created for internal/HR use boost company culture and employee engagement, leading to happier employees and better marketplace results for your company.

Can your company benefit from a low-code HR app built fast with the newest technology? Let us not only solve your company culture pain points, but also create an engaging atmosphere for your employees. Sign up for a demo today!

WRITTEN BY: Anastasia Roivainen  | Head of HR


Anastasia Roivainen

What Anastasia likes most about HR is bringing value to the company by choosing the right people for the right roles. Anastasia enjoys working with people, supporting them, and hearing them out. She believes you can sort out any issue by communicating it right and she easily builds relationships and connections with variety of people. Anastasia enjoys creating, designing, and managing processes that make sense for the team. She is very analytical and methodical at planning and organizing processes that get the job done.