How communication & great people are pillars of high-performance at Wattpad

By: Allen Lau, CEO & Co-founder, Wattpad

Hire the best people you can

Everyone of course tries to hire the best people and we’re no different at Wattpad. I believe an organization is built upon its people, and in order to be successful, you need to hire top people. However, this doesn’t tell you the whole story, so I want to be clear. By “top people”, I don’t mean that they have to be the biggest and brightest developers or marketers or salespeople in the country.

Communicating values and vision

There’s a study out from IBM looking at millennials and different generations in the workforce. One finding, across all generations, is that employees understanding of corporate vision and strategy is lacking. The percentage of employees which agree to the following statements (40–60%) is shockingly high.

  • I don’t fully understand my manager’s expectations of me as an employee
  • I don’t fully understand what my customers want
  • I don’t fully understand my organization’s brand

Values are at the heart of Wattpad

Four years ago we started to approach our culture in a more conscientious way. We wrote down our company values to describe the culture that we have and invested in a lengthy process of refining these to the final seven, which we’ve listed on our website: https://www.wattpad.com/life/. These are our values:

  • Team Player;
  • Resourceful;
  • Sense of Ownership;
  • Positivity;
  • Trailblazer; and
  • High Performance

Over-communicate to make sure employees internalize values, vision and strategy

I think it’s important to over-communicate the company’s objectives, goals and the mission and strategy. It sounds like an obvious thing but it actually takes a lot of time from me and from the rest of the leadership team to make sure that everyone within our organization is aligned. Nowadays, people don’t just follow orders. Employees aren’t robots. They have to understand “why”. Transparency is very important as it reinforces the “why”, so this is something I focus on everyday.

Conclusion

I’ve been told that it’s rare for a CEO to spend so much time communicating with each employee on a personal level, but I think it’s incredibly important and not something I’m willing to sacrifice. The reason why we’re successful is a result of our employees and the leadership team’s commitment to communicating the company’s values, goals, and vision every chance we get. Investing time in communication and our culture is how we attract talent, keep employees around long-term, and ensure the future success of our company.

Allen Lau

Allen Lau

Be Like A Startup

A blog based on the insights of leaders from successful startups and enterprises on the key ingredients to build an organization that outperforms

1

1 clap
BeLikeAStartup

Written by

A blog of interviews with successful leaders about what it takes to build a high performance culture

Be Like A Startup

A blog based on the insights of leaders from successful startups and enterprises on the key ingredients to build an organization that outperforms