Tips for Engaging Employees to Help Build a Healthy Culture

"Don’t let tackling culture overwhelm you. Start a conversation."

Silicon Valley Bank brought together corporate and human resources leaders to share ideas on how to talk about and measure culture to motivate awareness and positive behavior inside their companies. Read on for part two (of two) of advice they have for high growth technology companies. Here you will find part one.

Tips for Engaging Employees to Help Build a Healthy Culture

Engage Employees

Engaged employees understand their purpose in the organization, believe their bosses are transparent and feel they have a voice. If Friday bagel time or beer busts aren’t your thing, try the one-on-one approach. Randomly walk the floor and start conversations by asking how folks are feeling. If your employees are reticent, that may be a sign you have work to do to gain trust. 

Encourage storytelling and have some good stories of your own that illustrate your values. Prove that your words, feet, and wallet all march in the same direction. Sharing financials openly is one path. 

Measure Success

As mentioned above, set a baseline and have a goal. Ways to set the baseline include reading employee reviews on websites and taking regular snapshots or drip surveys of employees. Some tools allow you to compare your company to others on criteria ranging from diversity in hiring to employee turnover rates. Some companies have started "culture clubs." Others tweet questions asking how a move went or soliciting reaction to a new policy. There is no magic measurement tool. Success is not about any particular score or response rate; it’s about seeing continued improvement. 

Make it Happen

Don’t let "tackling culture" overwhelm you. Start a conversation. Go up to someone in your company and ask her or him, "What’s your experience like working here? What can I do to make it better?" The first time or two may be a bit uncomfortable, but it’s a good start. Ask yourself this question, "What are you doing today to make it better tomorrow?”

Related Content

Go back to part one of this two-part series and learn about how to define culture for your workplace and why it’s important to be authentic when talking about it.


This material, including without limitation the statistical information herein, is provided for informational purposes only. The material is based in part upon information from third-party sources that we believe to be reliable, but which has not been independently verified by us and, as such, we do not represent that the information is accurate or complete. You should obtain relevant and specific professional advice before making any investment or other decision. Silicon Valley Bank is not responsible for any cost, claim or loss associated with your use of this material.

About the Author

As the Senior Market Manager for Silicon Valley Bank, Robert oversees all Relationship Management activities for the markets located in the Southwest, MidWest and Southeastern United States. Robert works closely with the teams in the various markets managing the key relationships with clients, VCs, PE Firms and key business partners. Today, Robert and the teams in the markets that he covers works with over 2000 innovative technology clients.

Robert joined SVB in 1999 when he opened the Dallas office for SVB. He worked out of the Dallas office until 2014 holding various roles for the bank. In 2014, he moved to Austin and established himself as a business leader in the technology community and took his current role. Over the years, Robert has served on various technology ecosystem and charitable boards. Prior to joining SVB, Robert was a commercial banker for JPMorgan Chase in Dallas for 13 years including 3 years as their Dallas Tech practice lead. In his spare time, Robert enjoys running in Austin and hanging out with his wife Cory and his two daughters that are in college at the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma which makes for an interesting family dynamic college football season.