Brian Solis recently said: “Culture is largely misunderstood and undervalued by the C-Suite today. It’s one of the reasons morale is at an all time low. This will change because it has to.
‘Employee engagement or the lack thereof creates a morale busting engagement gap, giving way to and executive level charter to invest in ‘Culture 2.0.’
Solis says that after studying digital transformation and innovation for years and while companies invest in change, the definition of meaningful culture is often regarded as inconsequential.
This is despite trail blazing companies such as LinkedIn, Netflix, Canva, Zappos who all attribute culture heavily to their success.
Culture needs a champion and respect is a cornerstone. As Peter Drucker once famously said, ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast…’
We are living in an era of disruption where many aspects of business, management perspectives, processes and systems are dated. How the new workforce wants to work, how they work, how they connect and the solutions that are being introduced to change work are often disconnected.
We need to put the ‘human’ back into the workplace, to take note of how employees think and feel about work, reintroduce respect as a cornerstone of engagement and evolve away from traditional management and human resource philosophies and processes.
A human centre culture and employee engagement is critical to competitiveness in a connected world where over 3.5 billion people are now connected to the Internet.
Your company’s culture is the result of how your company thinks and acts. It’s a result of its habits. Your company’s brand is the outcome of how it is perceived by the outside world.
Culture is internal. Brand is external.
Over time, your brand will always come to align with your culture. No matter how hard you try to create a specific brand image, in the end it will eventually align with your culture. It’s inevitable. This phenomenon is created by the fact that the market ultimately defines your brand. How do they define it? By the interactions they have with your:
- customer support
- and online presence.
What is your company culture?
Are you focused on your brand when you should be focused on your culture?
At The Respect Campaign we focus on three core areas to bring Respect to the workforce:
- Courses and Trainings on Culture and Respect
- Thought leadership events on issues that impact respect and culture – social justice issues that have a much wider workplace impact than than is generally considered
- Curated products
All three work together as a behavior change initiative.
Sounds too hard? Not really. Let’s take a look at how two workplaces are already challenging the status quo and shaking up old work place models: Both show how with a little bit of thought workplaces can create an effective amenity strategy as just one example, which benefits everyone whilst also increasing the attractiveness of working within the company.
Netflix and Flexibility
Netflix is popular not just because it offers great content, but because users decide when and where to watch what they want. It’s this flexibility in viewing which has led to over 93 million subscribers worldwide as of January 2017. This flexibility is reflected in their approach to working hours, with employees not restrained by the classic 9-5 schedule. Employees are given tasks and deadlines, but decide when and where they complete them.
They also have no vacation policy, with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings referring to these limits as “a relic of the industrial era.”
By providing their staff with the same benefits as their customers, Netflix can really foster a strong company culture, and help staff to think about their product in the same way.
Canva and Startup Culture
The Sydney design start-up, Canva, which provides online graphic design tools, has amassed more than 10 million users across 179 countries, is valued at more than $233 million, has former Apple guru Guy Kawasaki as a team member and counts Hollywood stars among its list of investors.
The business is not yet five-years-old.
Yet its rapid rise has meant Canva chief executive, Melanie Perkins, has had to work harder than most when seeking to preserve the best parts of being a start-up while becoming a multinational heavyweight, playing on a global stage.
“Canva’s culture is about creating a place where everyone loves coming to work, where everyone is striving to do the best work of their lives and create the most outstanding product and company we can. We don’t have any rules for the sake of having rules, we set high standards and we care about each other and enjoy hanging out together.”
Perkins says this focus on maintaining the Canva culture means that while the business has changed significantly since its early days, its team ethos hasn’t.
Little gestures such as encouraging all staff to eat lunch together and spend time together outside of work has always been the norm and means employees are happy to take ownership of their role, work harder and bring their best to their daily tasks, Perkins says.
Both of these case studies, clearly have respect at the core. They encourage their people to live the lives they want, without barriers, treat each other with respect and contribute to their communities. In the case of Netflix, they recognized the classic 9-5 schedule in a technology enabled world is outdated and futile. In recognizing this: they empowered their workforce.