Corporate CPR Episode 56: How to Crack the Code of a Great Culture

October 12, 2022

On today’s show, we discuss how to crack the code of a great culture and also how to make it scalable.

Darrin Jahnel is the founder and CEO of Jahnel Group, a 150-person software consulting company headquartered in Schenectady, NY. Darrin leads with energy and is maniacally focused on creating an amazing work environment for his team.

Darrin earned an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University at Albany and a Master’s Degree in Information Systems from NYU’s Stern School of Business.

Prior to starting the company in 2012, Darrin worked as a Senior Software Engineer on Wall Street. Darrin has led numerous engineering teams on multi-million dollar projects and is a member of MENSA.

He is happily married and has 4 children (2 adopted children and 2 birth sons). Darrin’s oldest son, Gideon, is from Nigeria. Although Darrin and his wife refer to Gideon as their son, they were not able to officially adopt him. Gideon has parents and 5 siblings back in Nigeria. Last year, Gideon worked 60 hours a week, all summer long and earned enough money to buy his family a house back in Nigeria!

Outside of work, Darrin enjoys working out, coaching basketball, drinking beer, and woodworking.

Key Takeaways:

  • Low turnover is a great gauge of whether or not you have a great culture.
  • A great culture will be similar to the feeling you had as a child when on a great sports team.
  • Recruiting and hiring must be prioritized. Hire people who match your company’s core values, have a servant’s mentality, and are easy to work with. You’ll need to interview many more people than you hire. Get them outside of work as well to see what kind of people they are, maybe out to dinner with their families.
  • Intentionally mix introverts and extroverts in a healthy ratio for teams and business trips to create good energy.
  • Deliver on the promises made in recruiting in order to have great retention. Find out what is important to each employee and tailor the projects, recognition, and rewards to be meaningful. Show employees that you are paying attention. Examples – involve their families, donate to their favorite charity, etc.
  • If you have remote team members, create a few very intentional in-person experiences per year that are designed to create bonding opportunities. These should be offered like a buffet where employees can pick and choose what they want to participate in without any pressure.
  • Reviews should be a conversation about an employee’s goals for their life and how the company can help them get there. Great to do annually during their month of hire in a relaxed setting, potentially outside of the office. Rather than having lots of forms to fill out, just have a few guided, open-ended questions to start the conversation.

Top Takeaway:

There are still superstars out there, even in this market. Step up your recruiting efforts.

Connect with Darrin Jahnel


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