Presented by TriNet

How do you create a company culture that empowers your employees to grow and gives you a competitive edge? Learn how to build a positive environment, align your culture with your org’s values and goals, and more in the first of this three-part webinar series, The Employee Experience: From Recruitment to Retention.

Register here for free.

 As tragic as the pandemic has been in so many ways, this last year has provided a unique opportunity because companies simply haven’t had a choice – they’ve had to innovate.

“There’s this window of opportunity where muscles have been stretched, particularly in the human capital space,” says Kristine Gunn, executive director of talent and organizational management at TriNet. “Companies have had to do things in six-week sprints that would have taken six years to get leadership buy-in.”

Up until now, a common theme in organizational strategy many organizations have honed in on is efficiency and operational excellence to the detriment of innovation, Gunn says – not just R&D, but investing in reinventing the company. But this past year has blown the roof off disruption, and the need to keep reinventing and growing will continue to push companies forward, to not only survive the next disruption, but thrive.

As part of that, some major employee trends have reared their heads in the past year. By way of example, a large tech CEO has said that digital adoption has moved five years in a period of just months, and digitization is putting tremendous pressure on organizations to adapt. Flexible work environments have become a huge topic of conversation in the human capital community, as employees realize the tremendous work-life benefits and companies learn that employees can work from home and stay productive, even in a fully remote hybrid environment.

As part of that, people-centricity has taken center stage, the focus is shifting to the importance of employee well-being, and creating safety in organizations, especially for historically marginalized populations. The public focus on the fight for equity and equality for all has brought home the need to keep moving forward toward diversity and inclusion.

These issues were important before, but creating inspiring organizations where people thrive is more important than ever, Gunn explains.

“Research in talent and organization management has shown that those companies that have thrived through this trying past year have been those with strong missions, strong purpose – they’ve shown up in their communities,” she says. “Now more than ever, people are looking for organizations that have stepped up and risen to the challenge, with a very mission-driven, purpose-driven culture that is agile and can respond quickly to changes.”

At its basic level, a mission-driven culture is one where people show up every day with purpose, and in which leaders have created spaces where their people can thrive.

“It’s the environment, the behaviors, leadership,” Gunn says. “It’s how companies approach challenges. It’s how companies make decisions. It’s the unspoken rules about what people believe it takes to thrive – or what they believe it takes to get fired. It’s the conversations by the water cooler. It’s the seen and the unseen.” Culture is the secret sauce that drives employee engagement, innovation, business growth, and continuous reinvention.

When the pandemic ends, there will be many more disruptions to come. It’s the companies that build resilience that will succeed and grow. Right now, the conversation has moved toward adapting more agile practices, like cross-functional teaming, and collaborative, empathetic types of leadership, where employees are empowered and equipped with the tools and resources to have authorship over projects, where they’re working together instead of in silos. It’s also about attracting people who have the ability to change, who are not afraid to take risks, and more importantly, who are not punished for taking risks, because there’s positive association to experimentation and failing forward.

“When companies look at creating more agile organizations, they’re definitely looking at how to create entrepreneurism, authorship,” says Gunn. “How do they unleash people? How do they create a peer-to-peer environment instead of such a strong hierarchical environment?” In today’s landscape, leaders have to be agile enough to meet the current business challenges, and at the same time create stability and security for their members.

It comes from the top down, and requires taking a stand, being intentional, knowing yourself, and knowing your company. It means telling a unique story and being authentic and thoughtful about what you stand for, while staying conscious of the fact that one size does not fit all. Companies have to find their own unique way – what works for Google or a daycare center, may actually derail your org.

It also requires being highly in touch with your customer, and your customer promise and building the culture you need to deliver on that promise

“Make sure that you have a value system that backs that up,” Gunn says. “Make sure that leaders are making decisions that align with that, particularly under pressure, when it’s easy to sway from your beliefs. Having that profound mission, knowing what’s important to your customers, and living that out – and being non-tolerant of folks that do not align with that culture and that vision that you’re looking to create.”

As part of that, diversity and inclusion needs to be embedded into the company’s value system, and in the way decisions about talent are made – from fair and unbiased recruitment in order to attract the best candidates to how employees are onboarded, how they’re promoted, and how long they’re kept.

Diversity isn’t just the right thing to do – it directly impacts your company’s attractiveness to talent, and your bottom line. More than two-thirds of active and passive job seekers said that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers – and on average, the most diverse enterprises are the most innovative, achieving 19% higher innovation revenues and 9% higher EBIT margins.

“You have to be super mindful of diversity and inclusion as the enabler of an organization’s culture,” says Gunn. “It’s deeply embedded in the values and how work gets done. Organizations have to focus on it. It doesn’t happen by accident. It takes conscious and very intentional effort to make sure that you’re educating people, embedding these practices, and reinventing and evolving. Leaders need to do everything in their power to create safe, happy, and healthy workplaces where everyone can bring their whole unique identity to work and feel valued and respected for their differences. It is more important than ever before.”

Don’t miss out!

Register here for free.

Attendees will learn:

  • The importance of culture as a driving force for competitive advantage
  • Actionable tips for creating a more inclusive and connected culture that can help you attract and retain your employees
  • Strategies that you can use for reinforcing and sustaining culture that helps create ownership and shared accountability


  • Kristine Gunn, Executive Director, Talent and Organizational Management, TriNet
  • Stewart Rogers, Moderator, VentureBeat

More to come!