The Small Business HR Podcast

Ep. 19

19. Leading by Example in Fostering a Culture of Service w/ Megan Putnam

In episode 19, we met with Megan Putnam to talk about what people leaders can do to move the needle on their company culture.
Megan Putnam

Megan Putnam

Head of People and Culture
Walker Edison

At some companies, core values are just words on a page. At others, employees live and breathe the core values. Walker Edison is the latter; a company where employees know every value starts with “we”—and the most important one is “We give.”

We sat down with Megan Putnam, Head of People and Culture at Walker Edison, to hear about how culture emanates through the work that employees do at her company. She shared how having a culture of service doesn’t start when you hit a certain revenue or sales goal. It starts on day one—and how that mentality is evident in everyday work-life at Walker Edison.

In this episode, we also talked about:

  • Why culture has to start at the top with senior people leading by example
  • The power of giving back to local businesses during COVID-19
  • Her expert tips for people leaders who are trying to improve or strengthen their company culture
  • How to walk the walk when it comes to values and culture

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This is the best job I’ve ever had. I’m supported by my leaders; I have an amazing team. I hired people smarter than me who I learn from everyday.”

Megan Putnam

HR is that liaison between having management’s best interest in mind while also being an advocate for your employees.”

Megan Putnam

Culture starts at the top. Leaders come to HR and say, ‘I want a culture of trust.’ But then they micromanage their people—that doesn’t build a culture of trust. I can promote a culture of trust, but it has to come from the top, down. It can’t be lip service. It has to be genuine.”

Megan Putnam

One of our most important core values is “We give.” Giving back is a big part of our culture—whether that’s to the Make-A-Wish Foundation or local 501(c)(3) organizations. But we also empower our employees to give back in ways that are meaningful to them. We listen to our employees, and give them both opportunities to sign up for, or to use their volunteer time in a way that’s completely unique.”

Megan Putnam

If you asked any of our employees, ‘What’s your favorite part of working at Walker Edison?’ It’s not the pay, or the benefits, or the perks—it’s the focus on giving back.”

Megan Putnam

We’ve had loads of fun, over-the-top team-building activities. But it’s the times when we were together, in the service of others, that really brought us closer.”

Megan Putnam

Hire people you can trust. If you don’t trust them, there’s no point in having them there. Because if they’re not trusted, they’re not happy.”

Megan Putnam

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