Gray graphic; text reads, "Building Company Culture: How ZENTX Prioritizes its People."

Part 6 of 9 in a series about ZENTX’s history and values

“Company culture” is quite the buzzword in leadership circles. Googling “how to build company culture” gets you over 8 billion results and a page full of ads, videos, articles, and how-tos.

When people hear the term “company culture,” they tend to think of employee appreciation events, games in the break room, or Google’s creatively-decorated offices. And yeah, fun events and unique offices can communicate what your company is all about. There’s so much more to company culture, though.

Of course we enjoy fun perks (like having cake on people’s birthdays or taking an afternoon off to go ziplining together). But the heart of company culture, for us, is more about building a positive place to do work every day. Being a workplace that employees feel good about. Creating a team that enjoys each others’ company and enjoys tackling projects together.

Mike and Mark Wenz, the guys responsible for defining what our company culture should look like, have a lot to say on the subject — it’s one of their top priorities. To hear them explain how their approach to building company culture has evolved and what their ideals for it are, check out the video below, or read the full transcript below. (Or do both; we won’t stop you.)

Team-Building Events and Company Culture

Mike Wenz: Let me go back. Before we built the building, before we started really growing and whatnot, we had a really good company culture. And I remember Mark asking me, “Do you think we’re going to be able to continue this momentum?”

ZENTX Halloween
ZENTX’s 2018 Halloween party, complete with costume contest

Like, we would have people come in and say, “I want to work here.” And we would turn them down, and they’d come back: “I want to work here.” I don’t know why. I mean, [we] probably had a reputation as a cool place to work.

And I told [Mark], I said, “That’s the easy part. The hard part is, we gotta get more work, we gotta do this and that. The culture thing — everybody’s having fun, we’re having cookouts and doing all that. That’s easy; we just keep doing cookouts, give them a gift certificate every once in a while” — and that’s what I thought company culture probably was then.

You know, as your company grows, you lose sight of that sometimes. Last year or two, we’ve tried to make it a point to reinstate how important the company culture is. We want [to be] that place that people want to come to because it’s still a cool place to work.

Mark Wenz: I like the company culture; I — Mike and I have always said we don’t like to have a “clock in, clock out” type of company. We’d like the culture to be fun, but yet we like to get the work done. In order for us to create that atmosphere, [we] have to be strategic. We have to create events or create things to help the team know each other.

Creating a Positive Culture Every Day

Mike: I think it’s a fun place to work, for the most part. We’re not all uptight; we’re not micromanagers. We want people to make decisions We want people to come up with their own solutions for things.

We still like the cookouts, we still like to surprise people, we still like to give the gift cards and things like that. But the culture is important — I think it’s one of the most important things we can have.

ZENTX Escape Room Outing
The ZENTX team on an outing to an escape room

I know it sounds cliche, probably, but we have a good group of people here, which makes it a lot easier to come to work. It is a lot of — it is a lot of work, but we get to be so creative, and we can have a good time. Because I’m kind of in control of that: I want people to mingle and have fun.

I mean, people is probably one of the most important things. We live with each other more than our spouse and our family, so you gotta have fun. You gotta have a passion for what we do.

So we want people not just to be here because they want a paycheck and it’s just another job, but [because] they want to be part of a team, part of a family, and, you know, have fun. Enjoy opening that door when you come in in the morning and tackle a project.