How We Define Our Culture
At Zeus Living, culture is more than a buzzword. It’s important to our leadership, and as reported in our latest company-wide culture survey, it’s important to the people at Zeus. Over the years, our culture has been described as supportive, transparent, friendly, and fun. However, culture isn’t stagnant and we’re always finding ways to improve and to create an environment where employees feel safe, heard, and valued. Read on to learn more about how we’ve built our culture and how we’re continuing to evolve as a growing company.
It starts with our core values
Early on, our founders put together a set of values that have become the foundation of our company’s culture. They are:
- Transparent. We give all of our employees the same access to information, and empower everyone to share open and constructive feedback.
- Humble. We’re open to receiving feedback and believe in the power of collaboration, owning our mistakes, and asking for (and accepting) help.
- Iterative. We’re growth-minded and are always looking for ways to actively improve our business.
- Human-Centric. Community is important to us. We believe in making things right and creating an environment of belonging.
These core values have largely impacted our culture, shaping the way we give recognition, maintain transparency, and conduct hiring. Here’s how.
We give our team members their flowers. You see it during our All Hands meetings where employees are publicly recognized by their peers for their commitment and hard work, or in a Slack channel where people in the company are shouted out for completing game-changing projects or for just being kind or helpful. This open recognition encourages a sense of belonging and shows our team they’re appreciated.
At Zeus Living, there are no secrets. Everyone has access to the same information (even up to the amount of money we have in the bank), no matter their role. In full transparency, we frequently share company updates, financial changes, and up-to-date business stats. In addition, we’ve recently added monthly business review meetings. These meetings are open to everyone in the company, and allow teams to share projects they’re working on and their progress.
We don’t hire for culture fit, as we believe our company and culture aren’t something to “fit” into. When we interview candidates, we look for a culture- or value-add. But we didn’t always get this right.
Our hiring process includes a values interview to assess if a candidate is aligned with our company values. When we first started these interviews, they were designed to evaluate if we’d like working with a person. This style of interviewing opened the door to unconscious biases—it encouraged hiring someone who looked or sounded like the interviewer. With a human-centric lens, we made the decision to standardize questions that tie specifically to our core values and began training our interviewers on ways to monitor personal bias when interviewing. With this change, we’re hiring for culture-add, not culture-fit.
How we’re evolving our culture
Staying true to our core values, humble and iterative, we are accepting of change. As our organization continues to grow, we’re focused on evolving our culture in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion, empowerment, and flexibility.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
In 2020, we began looking inward and asking vulnerable questions: “Are we equitable?” “Are we lacking diversity?” “Are we fair?” Our answers proved that we had some work to do. As a result, we formed a cross-functional DEI team. In a little over one year, this team has made efforts to increase our diversity, ensure pay equity, hosted educational discussions based on Black and Asian experiences, and donated to a variety of causes aligned with our values. The process has been ongoing, and even after hitting a few bumps in the road, the team continues to make strides.
Most recently, the team brought on a new DEI consultant to help us build an effective DEI strategy and meet our goal of being an inclusive and anti-racist organization. This is an initiative we’re most proud of and look forward to seeing its impact.
We’re committed to shaping a culture where employees feel just as impactful as the CEO. Everyone at Zeus Living has a voice and should feel empowered to speak it. We’re encouraging this communication in many ways: open forums in all hands meetings, Slack channels for business ideas or general feedback, and company-wide surveys.
Since implementing our remote-hybrid structure, many employees work from home—juggling their personal and work lives. We hire employees who can get the job done, however that looks. So whether it’s taking the dog out during the day, squeezing in a 45-minute workout between meetings, or moving across the country, we’re creating a culture where our team members have the same flexibility to live as freely as our residents.
We have a lot to look forward to in the upcoming years. And as we plan the next steps in shaping our culture, we realize there’s a constant opportunity for change. Our first task will be to consider: what do we want to champion as a company? With this question in mind, we intend to re-assess our culture as a remote-hybrid company, re-evaluate our core values, iterate on our anti-racism goals, and, ultimately, create a culture that is defined by our people and how we work together.