Two Sides of the Corporate Culture Coin: China Gorman, CEO at Great Place to Work Institute and Jay Bhatt, President/CEO at MYMIC, LLC

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Today’s guests are China Gorman, CEO at Great Place to Work Institute; and Jay Bhatt, President/CEO at MYMIC, LLC.

Gorman and Bhatt sit on opposite ends of the corporate culture coin, with one who consults with other companies looking to build great corporate cultures and the other who has tapped into the power of corporate culture to create engagement and retention.

CHINA GORMAN Corporate Culture

A business leader in HR solutions, and former COO and interim CEO of SHRM, Gorman recently joined Great Place to Work Institute, “founded to change the world by transforming workplaces.”

She sees her organization as both a social movement and a business. As a “database of effective workplace culture” mined from more than 25 years of employee survey data, Great Place to Work Institute powers the Fortune “Best Companies to Work For” list published each year.

Gorman’s role is to help companies on their journey toward creating a great corporate culture. In her short time there, she observes that the Great Place to Work Institute “feels its mission in its lifeblood much more strongly every day than any non-profit organization I’ve been a part of.”

Foundation of Trust

Her business’ differentiators include its track record of success over decades and across countries. Their data “continues to show year after year after year that the foundation of a great workplace is the relationship of trust between employees and their leaders.” This trust, Gorman argues, can make the good times great and the tough times easier. “Difficult decisions can be made and rough patches can be sailed through” if that foundation of trust exists.

When it comes to talent – and as a company that is currently hiring for several positions in the U.S. – Gorman describes their hiring approach as “very picky.” She continues, “There are lots of people who have the skills we need but aren’t a great fit for our mission.”

Great Culture, Great Business

Becoming a great place to work doesn’t happen overnight because it requires leaders to change their behavior. Her organization has been able to map better workplaces to increased financial results, innovation and retention. “When you are operating as a truly great workplace, those metrics are going off the charts.”

Gorman recalls one Great Place to Work honoree sharing, “‘It’s wonderful to have a great workplace. It’s even better to have a great business.’” She continues, “Business success and corporate culture success become the same thing when you understand the relationship between the two.”

What are You Reading?

“No Excuses” is a book from the Great Place to Work Institute that offers a “straight-talk look” for CEOs and senior leaders who want to work on culture but struggle to make it a priority.

Gorman is also re-reading The Trustworthy Leaderby Amy Lyman that explores how you become known as a trustworthy leader.

How Can I Connect with You? Via Twitter @chinagorman, on LinkedIn or online at

JAY BHATT Corporate Culture

As the head of MYMIC, LLC, a modeling and simulation company based in Virginia with about 100 employees, Bhatt was initially doing work solely for the Department of Defense, providing training solutions to war fighters using computer and game-based environments.

MYMIC is growing rapidly, particularly due to cutbacks in spending on costly instructor-led trainings, but mostly due to the company’s expansion into safety and skills training solutions for the commercial world.

War Fighters & Workers

Training is estimated to be a 160 billion dollar industry in the U.S., with the average company spending almost $1,200 per employee on training. Bhatt cites studies that show training in virtual environments allows for more hands-on practice, and thus offers a higher level of retention than other methods – for war fighter or worker alike.

Solutions such as MYMIC are also very timely, based on the continued retirement of baby boomers resulting in the need to transfer their knowledge to the next generation. MYMIC offers “the ability to have knowledge stored within the game so the learner can both practice and call on demand the knowledge they may need.”

Always a Better Offer

When it comes to hiring talent, Bhatt indicates that MYMIC is a creative company that allows team members to bring their own ideas, and this is an important part of their corporate culture. As CEO, Bhatt holds a true open-door policy for all levels of the organization. He has also structured a team-based approach where “everyone participates” in both the hard work and the resulting rewards. Offering unprecedented solutions in the space, MYMIC employees, Bhatt believes, “love cutting-edge novelty that is exciting and interesting on a daily basis.” And that’s important because, as he contends, if it was about money only, “there will always be a better offer.”

Self-Made Man

Bhatt has served in the C-suite for more than 30 years, and says each of those positions have shaped how he leads today.  Most of all, he’s learned,

“You have got to be decisive…to be able to trust yourself, and take the right kind of risks…The number of good decisions I’ve made so far are somewhat more than the number of bad decisions I’ve made so far…because there is no such thing as perfection.”

Among his greatest influences is his father, who started from meager means and built a financial curriculum at a time when there were no schools in Africa. Though Bhatt had little confidence as young child, his father was a very supportive person who constantly told him, as Bhatt recalls, “‘You’re a self-made man.’”

What are You Reading?

Bhatt is reading The Gamification of Learning and Instructionwhich breaks down cognitive behavior theory for the layperson.

How Can I Connect with You? Via or on LinkedIn.

Tune into the show next week, and remember, do what you love….and show the world how talented you can be, today.

Air Date: March 18, 2014