As the founding CEO of a company that’s seen 40% growth in its employee base in the past six months, I’m often asked what drives Kount’s outstanding achievements as a leading innovator of solutions for fraud and risk management. My answer is always the same: Kount’s corporate culture of open, honest, and fearless communication is critical to our company’s success.
The Key to an Effective Corporate Culture
People tend to fill vacuums of information with misinformation, so two-way communication is key in an effective corporate culture. It doesn’t matter what position someone at Kount holds, they know as much about what’s happening with our business as our board of directors does. And in my experience, this kind of transparency is not only what employees value most, it’s also what keeps us agile, and better able to function as a team.
Employees with a passion for Idaho’s great outdoors came together 3 years ago to form #KountHiking and hike and backpack regularly, including a season-end 12,000′ peak. The group has grown to 20 hikers.
Initiatives That Drive Employee Engagement
It’s easy for people to get bogged down by the crisis of the day, so cultivating an environment where people want to be together for the long term is crucial. Here are some of the initiatives that Kount has implemented to drive employee engagement:
- CEO lunch and conversation with every Kount employee in an open, two-way Q&A format on a quarterly basis
- Bi-weekly departmental updates for all employees
- Quarterly employee updates on everything I discuss with our board of directors
- Anonymous, quarterly employee satisfaction surveys that cover everything from the snacks in the breakroom to managerial transparency – followed by a company meeting to address every comment
- Shutting down once every 6 weeks, so the entire company can participate in a community service project together
- Corporate wellness initiatives like on-site workout facilities, financial incentives for employees to walk or bike to work, and health benefits focused on preventative rather than remedial care
Overall, we try to foster a culture that recognizes that while we all know something, none of us knows everything. We can all learn from the people we work with if we’re willing to stop and listen.
Kount regularly volunteers at the Idaho Food Bank. A favorite project is assembling backpacks of kid-friendly food for school age children at risk of hunger.
How to Know You’re on the Right Track
My biggest success metric isn’t revenue-based, it’s about how much time my team chooses to spend together outside of work hours. They get together on weekends with their families, and share pursuits like training to summit one of our local mountains each summer.
Kount employees truly care about each other, and this sentiment spills over into the personal obligation they feel in their professional roles. My team understands the causal relationship between what they do and our company’s success, and nobody wants to let anyone else down.
My biggest nugget of business wisdom? Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. People will listen to you – and give their all, working with and for you – so long as they know you have their best interests at heart, that you’re honest, that you’re not just trying to make a buck, and that you’re fully invested in their needs and desires at a fundamental level.
Kount CEO Brad Wiskirchen takes a bite out of fraud (or a delicious sugar cookie)