As a way of culture-building at SourceDay, CEO Tom Kieley introduced “karma points.” The peer-to-peer recognition program encourages team members to give points to their colleagues for going above and beyond their normal duties to lend assistance to other employees or customers. Karma points can be redeemed for monetary rewards, which can go toward a nice dinner out or a new outfit.
However, since offering karma points, Kieley noticed something interesting: No employees had redeemed their points for money. Every single karma point earned across the company had been donated to charity organizations in the form of cash.
SourceDay is supply chain software for companies in the manufacturing industry, and its motto is “BtheB” or, “be the best.” Kieley said this maxim encourages employees to advance their skills to grow professionally. And the company provides development resources like Amazon Web Services certifications and a monthly expert-led speaker series to facilitate that growth. But the “BtheB” mentality extends to company culture as well.
Through customs like karma points, employees are empowered to create a cultural impact not only on their team members, but the greater Austin community. In another example of its “do more” culture, 80 percent of the company gathers each quarter for SourceDay Cares, a day in which staff volunteer with organizations like Austin Angels, Texas Food Bank and Brady’s Bridge.
Kieley emphasized the importance of hiring individuals that embody key aspects of SourceDay’s culture, namely transparency, fun and employee empowerment. But cultural fit does not come at the expense of diversity.
“Our culture is centered around hiring people that have the same drive to succeed and build their careers, but who come from different backgrounds and have different thought processes,” Kieley said. “This combination unites us around a mission and provides a unique perspective on how to achieve it, which is what makes working together special and fun.”
What is SourceDay’s mission?
Manufacturers collaborate with their supply chains on parts and materials using Excel, email and even fax. These processes create a lot of risk around if and when a manufacturer’s parts are going to show up on time so they can produce a customer’s end product.
Up until now, manufacturers have combat these risks by overbuying materials, which eats into their margins and cash flows. SourceDay is a real-time collaboration engine that allows suppliers globally to collaborate by sharing buying demand data on parts and materials. The platform works to ensure that everyone in the supply chain has a source of truth on material shipments: It shows what is and isn’t coming in on time, addresses risks and facilitates cooperation to ensure customers get their finished goods at a convenient time.
Status quo will kill us.”
What roles does hiring play in how the company’s culture is maintained?
Culture is centered around the people we hire. Either Clint, myself or both of us interview every candidate. Doing so is crucial for us so that we can share our vision for what we want SourceDay to become. And we ensure we get a reciprocative response from that candidate around their desire to work at an early-stage company navigating risk, being a part of our growth and contributing to our culture.
It was critical for us from day one that we create a culture where people felt that they had the ability to build a career. Employees need empowerment, trust and transparency to grow within an organization and not be held back. And the unique cultural backgrounds across the organization help drive our success.
There’s no bad idea. Status quo will kill us, and we make sure that we’re not being complacent and challenging ourselves constantly. I think this mentality enables and empowers our staff to build a culture of creation, collaboration and fun throughout the organization.
How do employees have fun and unwind?
In these uncertain times and having to work remotely, our team can’t have lunch together like they used to. So they’ll get on Zoom and have a spontaneous hangout during lunch to catch up and not talk about work for an hour.
Recently, back in the office, our culture committee put together a spontaneous scavenger hunt. Part of that hunt involved impersonating Clint and myself on video. We spend a lot of time together at work so we do a lot of fun things to break up the occasional monotony.
Part of our culture is giving back to the community around us. We’ve been doing SourceDay Cares since 2017 and there’s a member on that committee from every department. We’re doing whatever we can to continue to support the community organizations we back while we’re all remote, like sending goods or money.
What’s the story behind the office motto, “BtheB?”
It came from one of our very first sales hires. Our large conference room in our previous and new office — where we hold our weekly all-hands — is named “BtheB.” It’s a reminder to employees that in everything they do, each day, they need to ensure they’re being the best for their teammates, families and customers.
We see it embodied every day from different people. A support representative on the phone with a customer can give a quick response to, what is for us, a nominal question and solve an issue in minutes. That assistance can mean a lot to the user and I may receive customer feedback saying how appreciative they were. The engineering team may have built some small feature they didn’t think much about, but in our all-hands, we highlight how it saved a customer millions of dollars. “BtheB” is a critical mantra for the company and it helps keep us focused on success and doing the right things.
What does professional development look like at SourceDay?
We provide opportunity through coaching and development. No plan is off the table; it’s a matter of what employees want to do. We have a team member in our engineering department who is currently being mentored and coached by our new sales leader because they are looking into becoming a sales engineer.
We will be implementing a training tool where engineers can have access to more content from the development platform we use. We’ve had engineers take many Amazon Web Services courses to receive training and certifications.
We’re also focused on providing training from peers and leadership. Every week, we do some sort of product training or update. Then, once a month, we do “be an expert,” where someone provides training on a topic. It could be anything — completely unrelated to work — and it’s generally driven by request. I think people are successful in achieving their career dreams when they receive help.