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A Rewarding Corporate Culture

I truly believe that a fun, collaborative, team culture – one which rewards excellence and motivates employees – is a key, fundamental building block for strong corporate performance and competitive advantage. It seems obvious. Yet, from my perspective, such a culture is elusive to attain. I Love Rewards, a Toronto-based company, is an organization that understands the importance of a healthy internal culture.

Their business focuses on providing results-driven rewards and recognition programs for companies worldwide. Yet they do far more than that. They walk the talk, they live their values – the company works hard to infuse a strong sense of passion and commitment amongst their own staff members.

Last Tuesday I had an opportunity to visit with Rob Catalano, Marketing Director at I Love Rewards. My primary purpose, in meeting with Rob, was to hear his insights and perspectives on marketing – and some of his learnings with respect to career development in today’s fast-paced world. It was also a chance for me to learn about what makes I Love Rewards tick.

This video gives a great inside peak at their culture:

I noticed the culture right from when I entered the building, prior to my meeting with Rob. The open-concept office area was abuzz with happy, busy staff members, a couple of whom warmly greeted me. Throughout the office there were notable inspirational quotes painted on the walls. Not in small letters, but in big, bold writing, enabling visitors and staff members alike to take notice.

I Love Rewards, like my current company Chaordix and one of my favorite entrepreneurial successes of all-time, Zappos, were all recently recognized by WorldBlu – a non-profit organization that promotes democratic workplaces – as being amongst the top 52 most democratic workplaces worldwide. That’s quite an accomplishment!

According to Rob, “People define the culture” at I Love Rewards. “Our recruiting is so rigorous, we hire based on fit – everyone is aligned.”

Right now it seems that companies like I Love Rewards are the exception as opposed to the norm. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, I will be able to state that the opposite is true. In this blog, I’ve been writing about how companies can become more social and build engagement, leveraging technology, with their customers. The same opportunity holds true with employees.

To gain more insights on I Love Rewards, read their Love Guarantee, posted recently on Cameron Herold’s Backpocket COO blog.

What are your thoughts? What are some companies that you know of, which have an exemplary corporate culture?

  • Jason Baker

    The movement in open culture’s and embracing the values of each individuals personality is addressing not just skills and knowledge for employees, but also those that are struggling personal with their own personalities. Open cultures such as Zappo’s and I Love Rewards may not be best suited for people that are stubborn or less open. Most successful brands and companies embrace the open culture principle. This is another reason why lifestyle improvement for both professional AND personal reasons is vitally important for those wanting to grow their careers.

  • Brian G. Rice

    Good article, Eric.

    A lot of companies fail in trying to create culture in their company because they don’t realise that it is the people who work for them who create the culture, not management. All Management can really do is create an environment where a positive, motivational culture can emerge. It is great to see companies like I Love Rewards and Zappos who manage to have the universe align in their favour this way.

    I think that you are right that companies that have great cultures are the exception rather than the rule. This, I think, is partly due to how hard it is to change a culture once it has been established. It can be done, but it almost always involves getting outside help to make it happen. I think the other phenomenon we are beginning to see in today’s business world are companies who think they understand how I Love Rewards and Zappos created their culture, and in trying to replicate the essence of their cultures forget that they still need to get results. Happy but unproductive employees are soon unemployed.

  • eric

    Brian, you raise some good points. I am curious to see how corporate culture evolves as more and more digital natives either grow their own companies or attain senior positions in established companies – I do expect that corporate cultures similar to those at I Love Rewards and Zappos will start to become the norm as opposed to the exception (at least in certain industries).