Best practices to increase employee satisfaction, with Jose Cortizo, “Corti”

Company culture matters
Best practices to increase employee satisfaction, with Jose Cortizo, "Corti"
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What can we do to increase our employees’ satisfaction? What should we avoid to keep a good level in our workplaces?

Jose Cortizo, alias Corti, CMO at Product Hackers, shares with us the essentials to work on employee satisfaction and maintain a good company culture.


Episode transcript

LAURA HERNÁNDEZ: Welcome everyone. I’m Laura Hernandez, and this is company culture matters by Nailted. 

LAURA HERNÁNDEZ: In this episode, we will learn how to keep employees’ satisfaction high in the workplace with Jose Cortizo, alias Corti, Chief Marketing Officer at Product hackers.

CORTI: Don’t defend yourself, don’t defend your company, understand what your employees are saying. Don’t take it personally because it’s not personal and try to understand if there is something more important behind the words of your employees. 

LAURA HERNÁNDEZ: It doesn’t take too much effort to work on employee satisfaction. They want to work in a healthy and caring environment to listen, respected, trusted, and develop their careers in a company that offers them growth opportunities. This episode of company culture matters focus on understanding how to work on employee satisfaction and always keep a high level in the workplace

LAURA HERNÁNDEZ: With Corti, we will learn how to start working on our employee satisfaction and what we should focus on when giving feedback to employees. We will also learn how to balance our daily work without forgetting about our people and what we should and shouldn’t do to develop and sustain a good level of employee satisfaction at work. 

LAURA HERNÁNDEZ: Jose Cortizo, alias Corti, Chief marketing officer at Product Hackers, we are very glad you decided to participate in this episode.

CORTI: Thank you for having me here. I really like to talk about this topic with you.

LAURA HERNÁNDEZ: We are also happy because product hackers have recently been recognized because of your high level of employee satisfaction. What would you say has helped product hackers to achieve this recognition? 

CORTI: It’s been really good news for us because knowing that people are happy working in your company is something we are really proud of. The cause of this, I think, maybe is that because we are sure that our people are our main asset. We are an agency where what we sell is the creativity and the capacity of our people. We solve customer’s problems. So if we don’t have the best people we wouldn’t be able to solve the hardest growth problems that our customers have.   So, in the roots of the company are having the most powerful employees, the people that can transform product hackers into something bigger. Knowing that you start investing time in creating a good environment. Actually, there are a lot of opportunities to work around the world. People can work remotely from wherever they want to other countries. So if we don’t have a good environment, we are pretty sure that, our best people will go to work anywhere else. For us, this is very important.

CORTI: Most of the time we don’t know exactly what we are doing and we really worry about the people, but we are always thinking about what we can do. So, I think we are in a constant search for this satisfaction. In order to do this, we ask a lot of times to our employees, how/what we can improve and we have always liked this constant questioning. Constant way to improve ourselves. I will say also that using Nailted has helped a lot to ask for this because we have been able to automate all these processes and start monitoring, all in one place where we have all the information. Previous to using Nailted, we were doing some things using Typeform or Google Forms or whatever, but we started to have a lot of information in several places. We really didn’t know the current status of our people. And since we’ve started to use Nailted we are liking the operating system for all employee satisfaction. Also, it is easier every time to know how people are and what to do at every time.

LAURA HERNÁNDEZ: Definitely, Employee satisfaction is something that really matters in a company because working on making our employees happier has a direct impact on our company’s success and growth perspective. Corti, for a company that doesn’t know where to start or doesn’t have a clear idea of what working on employee satisfaction means. How do we set up the basis of employee satisfaction?

CORTI: For me to need to start thinking if you really care about your employees and it’s a hard question, but I know some businesses that are more like a factory. Where people don’t matter to the manager. It is hard, weird, but that’s a reality.  So if you don’t care about your employees and you are lost, especially, in some environments, especially in tech and that’s a bad thing, but if you really care, then you have the best starting point. Worrying all the time about something is the best way to find options and to solve it. 

CORTI: I think, also, you do need to create safe zones, safe areas where people can come talk to you and give you feedback. Some of them can be face-to-face or via a call or whatever, but you also need to give options for people to give feedback in an anonymous way because sometimes people don’t want to have a confrontation with you. They only want to change things or to have a better environment and not everyone is able to talk to you. So you don’t need to give these safe areas where they can communicate.

CORTI: I think, you also need to monitor if everything goes “okay” because a lot of the time when you are a manager, your day-to-day focus is on other parts, maybe in customers, maybe in growth, or whatever.   You’ll maybe be several weeks without talking to all your team.   During that time, maybe someone is having a bad time or something happens that is creating a bad working environment or whatever. So if you don’t have that information, you can’t act in that, at that moment. So, for me, monitoring the satisfaction of every employee, every time is something really important. And then if you are monitoring that, then you need to do like two things. The first one is to act if something goes bad. I know a lot of people that know that something happened to one employee or to part of their team,  they like to look to other place and say: “okay, they will be able to arrange everything.” but I think that’s not the way you need to act. You need to ask what’s happening. You need to ask if you can do something to improve it. Also, live in a space for your team to solve it, but be always looking to take care of your team. 

CORTI: Be eager to learn more every time because, for example, I have more questions than answers related to employee satisfaction. So you need to be reading, talking to people, listening to podcasts like this one, to understand how other companies are working in this. I think everything has to be done and you need to learn a lot of things. 

LAURA HERNÁNDEZ: And also, Corti, giving feedback, and listening to our people is key towards strengthening our employee satisfaction. So, what should we focus on when talking to our employees in order to increase their level of satisfaction?

CORTI: Okay. I think is a really important point because it’s not so easy talking to your employees and for your employees sometimes talking to you because there are a lot of things interrelated, but for me, what you need to focus is on listening to them. Most of the time as a manager or as an entrepreneur you tend to talk all the time. You are usually selling to everyone, even to your employees. And that’s what, when you are recruiting, for instance, But if you’re a half people in your team then you have to sell your company to them. They are working there for you. They are helping you to grow your company. Then you need to start listening to them. Not talking. And after listening, as I said before, you need to act. There is a lot of situation where when people from your team tells you something, a problem, a worry or, or whatever. If you don’t do anything, then at a point in the future, they will stop talking to you. They will say: “okay, why I’m losing my time or my, energy explaining this kind of thing to improve this working environment if nothing is improved at any time.” So for me, those are the focus: listen and act. After listening to improve your employee satisfaction, but also show your team that you really care because sometimes you care, but you don’t show it. So you do need to constantly, show your employees that they are important and that you are willing to do whatever it takes for them to be happy in your company.

LAURA HERNÁNDEZ: Corti, I guess you will agree with me. If I say that sometimes time at work flies, we are so overloaded that even if we would love to, we cannot find time to leave that work aside and focus on what our employees need. So, Corti on a daily basis, how can managers and team leaders make a balance between accomplishing their daily work and taking care of their employees?

CORTI: This is a really hard matter because as you say time is if finite, you have much less time that you will need to do your daily tasks. Usually this kind of things like employee satisfaction, or if you are a big company, maybe you will have a team, but for a startup or for a small company, it is something you need to do or on your daily basis, but you also need to do your responsibilities. So you don’t have a team helping managers to do this kind of thing. 

CORTI: So it’s really hard for me. Part of the solution is to automate everything that’s possible. This is something that goes with us as product hackers because we tend to automate marketing as we do a lot of automation for our customers. So, for us having tools like Nailted, where you can automate all the communications with your team is something really powerful. It allows you like to be proactive. Showing your team that you are being proactive because we are asking them every time, but you are really being reactive. Because for instance, we send to receive the Nailted notifications. And when we have feedback and we see something weird in some of the questions or answers then we act.

CORTI: So for me, that’s, I think the most important thing is having the tools that help you to continue monitoring and to have the communication with the team, while you are doing some other things. But also have your face to face time from time to time to talk with your team. We will do one-to-one meetings with our teams, one per quarter, something like that. And that’s a good point too, like to see the face of your team in a more personal way and so on. You have to balance automation with the face-to-face things you can do.

LAURA HERNÁNDEZ: Along with your speech, I can appreciate the importance of working on employee satisfaction.   It’s true that working on our employee satisfaction is a day to day work. And as we said at the beginning, establishing the basis of employee satisfaction is key, but developing and staining the level of satisfaction is crucial because see if at some point you disappoint your employees, you will have to kind of start from scratch. Corti, will you tell us about the dos and don’ts of working on our employee satisfaction?

CORTI: Okay. For us, the dos like having a plan, at least, as I said before, like a worry on your employees and then have even a small plan some kind of things you are going to do during the year, to have this communication with your team to receive your feedback and so on. 

CORTI: For us, it’s important and we do it by having a system and tools, as I said before, but I also having quarterly reviews, having a face to face to face meetings, and so on. We have a small plan for several actions we are doing with every member of the team during the year. And also some other kinds of things we are doing in teams. 

CORTI: You can have a bigger or a shorter plan, regarding or according to your needs and also your resources, but at least you need to have one. Also, have a system to measure employee satisfaction. Have in mind how are you going to measure your employee satisfaction? Or are you going to ask from time to time? What’s the procedure to add when something happens? I think that the first do is to take care of your employees.

CORTI: Regarding the don’ts or at least what not to do if you don’t want to, to make things worst is that you don’t have to defend yourself as a company when one of your employees gives you feedback. This is something, that by being an employee, I have seen in a lot of places, that you are giving feedback, like: “okay, what we could improve this.” and your manager only gives you the reasons why they are not doing that. You feel like you are attacking them when you are I try to help the company. So don’t defend yourself and defend your company, understand what your employees are saying. Don’t take it personally because it’s not personal. And try to understand if there is something more important behind the words of your employees. 

CORTI: Also, as I have said before don’t talk more than you listen or don’t ask your employees more than you give them. A lot of times you are asking your employees a lot of things, i.e: ” You need to finish this work before Friday,.. Okay, you need to spend more time on that… Okay, you need to, whatever,…” and you are asking all the time things from your employees and you are not giving anything to them. 

CORTI: I think it’s always better for employee satisfaction, giving more than asking. For instance, we are really flexible regarding, starting hours, finishing hours, we don’t control the time the people are working because we think that,  we have the best people in every position. And if you’re having exceptional people, you do need to rely on them. So, we are trying not to ask them and we are trying to give them all the tools they can need or, or expect to do their best work.

CORTI: Also, I think an important don’t is to delegate employee satisfaction to someone that has not the capacity to make a change in your company. This is an important thing, I’ve seen in companies where they have like a,   a student working with them, like caring about some human resources topics,   and also doing some, work on employee satisfaction. But when that student receives feedback or whatever.   He or she needs to talk with other people in the company discuss and so on. So you are not going to be able to change your company to a good level of employee satisfaction. I think someone relevant in the company, someone with a position that allows that person to make changes in the company needs to be both involved in employee satisfaction.

LAURA HERNÁNDEZ: Corti, to conclude this episode on employee satisfaction. What would you say is the most important thing to have in mind when working on our employee satisfaction?

CORTI: I think it is to really care about your employees. I will say this a lot of times, I think I I’ve said in this interview a lot of times, but I really think employees satisfaction is the result of worrying about your employees is the result of knowing that your employees are the most important thing on your company and a vital asset in your company.  If you think that your office is a more important asset than your employees, then you are not going to create good employee satisfaction. If you think this, you really feel your employees are your assets, then everything comes after that. Then it’s much easier because there will be always space for you to improve it, especially for the growth of employee satisfaction, but you will be on the road working towards it.

CORTI: I also think that this is important that, that if you are the founder of the company or if you are a partner of the company, that you start thinking about, “Is this a place where I will work if I was not a partner or the founder?” because sometimes you create a company and after a few years, you can discover that you have created a workplace that you don’t want to work at. You are the founder, you are not in the day-to-day work environment you have created. So if you are creating a place where you would not work, then you will need to worry and you need to change things. So start asking yourself these kinds of questions. Also, stop trying to say that the problems are from your employees because you have the problem. You need to start understanding that you are in charge and you can change everything and you can create a better workplace for your employees and for yourself.

LAURA HERNÁNDEZ: Corti, thank you so much for joining us in this conversation, and also for sharing your best practice and insights on something that really makes a difference in a company, that is employee satisfaction. 

CORTI: Thank you Laura, it has been a real pleasure talking to you. Thank you.

LAURA HERNÁNDEZ: Thank you, Corti

LAURA HERNÁNDEZ: That’s it for this episode on employee satisfaction of Company Culture Matters by Nailted. Thank you so much to Corti, for teaching us how to work on something as important as keeping our employee satisfaction high. If you want to discover more about him, connect with him on LinkedIn, and check his podcast channel, en.digital, to keep learning from him on a wide range of matters. 

LAURA HERNÁNDEZ: Also, if you want to listen to more best practices from experts on topics regarding company culture, check them out, in nailted.com/podcasts, product hackers use Nailted to work on their employee satisfaction.

LAURA HERNÁNDEZ: Nailted is the employee engagement platform for people and HR teams who want to deliver the best employee experience. 

LAURA HERNÁNDEZ: If you want to know how Nailted can help your company, improve the company culture and employee satisfaction. Check out Nailted.

LAURA HERNÁNDEZ: I’m Laura Hernandez, your host, and this is Company Culture Matters by Nailted. 

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