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Results-Based Culture: Making Better Employees & Happier People

Ashley Holbrook
May 19, 2020

At Crema, we often get asked about our company culture. From the outside looking in, our results-based culture (RBC) might look radical. There’s a lot that RBC entails, but the part that drops the most jaws is our freedom to work anywhere, anytime, with unlimited PTO. That’s right. No 2-week vacation limit!


While it sounds like a fantasy, it’s a reality for the people at Crema. There’s a lot of factors that make it possible for RBC to be a success – but that’s not my sole focus for this article. I’ll briefly touch on what RBC means and how it works, although I want to focus on what it’s really like to work at a results-focused organization. It’s led to many positive changes that one would expect, but also some I could’ve never imagined.


What RBC looks like at our organization

Crema’s results-based culture reflects the belief that time spent is not an accurate measure of success. At the end of the day, it’s what’s accomplished that is most important. The focus is put on the results that are met or the work that gets done. Where you work, what time you work, or what it looks like to achieve those results is less important.


Sounds crazy, right? You might be wondering why leadership prefers this unconventional work culture. Its because Crema leadership respects that people work best in various ways - so they won't define what that looks like, as long as the end result is high quality. We’re trusted to get things done and work in a way that lets us be our most productive. It's a mutually beneficial relationship, as the organization and its clients are getting the absolute best out of their team by allowing them to thrive.


Trust is the defining characteristic of the product teams at Crema. It’s the key to what makes RBC successful. Choosing to lead with trust gives space to your employees to find the best solution for how work gets done and always leads to better products in the end.


Life before RBC

An entirely separate article could be written about the benefits of RBC from an organizational standpoint, but for the purpose of this article, I’d like to share my personal experience with RBC and how it’s quite literally changed my life.


Many of us are familiar with the corporate work routine. This was my experience before Crema.  I had to be at my desk and clocked in at 8:00 am sharp. I accrued exactly 2 weeks of vacation every year, nothing more. To take time off, I’d have to ask two weeks in advance, which made it hard to build the flexibility I desired into my schedule. I felt pressure to be at work every single day, even if I was sick.


One of the most frustrating (and in modern times, logistically unacceptable) aspects of my previous job was that there wasn’t a culture or infrastructure set up to handle employees working from home. If I wanted to take time off for sickness it would eat into my two week vacation time. This was my only choice even on days where I shouldn’t expose myself to others but could’ve gotten a couple of things done otherwise.


Before going any further, I want to be very clear that I was still grateful for my job then and know that RBC is a privilege most do not have. The structure of this environment just wasn’t ideal for anyone in my opinion. The procedures set to keep track of and control employees were limiting in many ways, including creatively!


How RBC changed my life

Fast forward to me starting as a Test Engineer at Crema.  The space and freedom of RBC was a little scary at first, but after the adjustment period I found that I loved the new work dynamic. It wasn’t long after beginning to work in a results-based environment that I began seeing positive changes in my life.


Here’s a list of unexpected benefits of RBC:


  • Overall better health. The idea for this article dawned on me when I realized I hadn’t been sick as long as I’ve worked at Crema. I tell my team on Slack I feel like I may be coming down with something and need to rest and set my status accordingly. Guess what? I don’t get sick, and I don’t spread my sickness. And I come back the next day ready to go. I’m producing, and my coworkers are also able to continue producing. In the long run, we’re all better off in health, profit, and safety.


  • Closer family relationships. Before RBC it was hard to be there for my loved ones. For example, it had to be “a pretty major surgery” for me to take time off, which I didn’t always feel comfortable doing. Now I’m able to work from waiting rooms or their home while they recover and still meet my results - instead of sitting at my desk feeling guilty, stressed, worried, and distracted which causes me to make mistakes. I’m happier because my family relationships are closer.


  • Cleaner, energizing environment. It’s true, my house is cleaner! This one seems silly, but it’s true. There are mornings where I pause and load up the dishwasher on my way out the door. There are times I’m working from home when I pause and move a load of laundry. I can also take time to be at home for a service person to work on the house. Because my house is cleaner and more peaceful to work in, I’m more able to focus on my work.


Still feeling skeptical? Here’s why RBC works

I briefly touched on this earlier, but I’ll dive a little deeper now. RBC is about trading mutual respect for accountability and results. Along with the exchange of trust comes ownership. The results are on each individual, and they have a myriad of ways to achieve them. When it’s not about the clock, it becomes about so much more. It becomes about how you can work hard to protect culture! This builds a valuable thing: loyalty.  The loyalty dynamic has led to the following: a lower turnover rate, an outpouring of fantastic ideas, higher employee engagement, and exponentially happier employees. It's also important for attracting and hiring individuals who can thrive in this type of an environment. For more on the topic, check out the article written by Crema’s Co-Founder and COO, Dan Linhart.



A remote working dynamic where it didn’t exist before

It would be callous to not mention the timing of this article with current events and the effects of COVID-19 on businesses. There are many companies out there facing a remote working dynamic where it didn’t exist before. This will require a shift of perspective on what it means to contribute and be productive. An environment of trust and mutual respect is crucial now more than ever.


My hope is that this article will encourage team leaders to move towards a results-focused culture. While it might not feel like a luxury to work remote right now (especially with the structural challenges many are facing), once organization’s have adjusted, it could be a beneficial option for future work. Imagine a world where working from home can be a choice rather than a constraint!


Wrap Up

This work style will help employees feel valued and likely be more productive. I know because I’ve lived it! They’ll likely be happier and often times want to work even harder than before. Everyone wants to be trusted and given autonomy.  If your employees can put themselves first, then they can ensure their work will be the best quality it can be.


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