Community Software to Help Shape Workplace Culture

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Community Software to Help Shape Workplace Culture

Summary:  Generate a strong company culture by using these three intranet tools on your community software!

If culture isn’t made a priority, the risk is it will form itself, creating strife within the team, lost productivity, and misalignment with customers you serve, all at a high cost!  Humans are innately tribal, which couldn’t be more evident than in politics, sports, and religion.  We establish membership based on affinity to our beliefs and values.   The same is true in our careers.  We make emotional choices of where to work based on personal connection to the values of an organization, the purpose, and how we sense belonging.  These foundations enable decentralized decision-making, empowering your team to affect change with reduced control.  Here are a few cheap tools to bring your culture alive, with potentially big reward.

1. Use Mottos to Promote Core Values

Every Saturday morning my 4-year-old daughter has soccer for tots, and without fail the head coach begins with a hearty “Good Morning” in his thick Scottish accent, then proceeds to recite the top 3 rules.  1)  Have fun  2)  If you fall, pick yourself up  3)  Have fun!  It sets the tone and is lived by.  Great companies have similar initiatives.  Lululemon, for instance, has a well-recognized manifesto, printed on every bag, public on their website, and used to share their culture with their community.  Their employees, customers, and followers live and breathe it.

At Intranet Connections, we solicited over several weeks a set of mottos tied to our beliefs, then digitized these on our intranet, and held voting contests to add new ones.  ‘Likes’ were enabled, and the team could give thumbs up for ones that resonated.  We’ve used these in daily huddles when giving praise to coworkers.  They’re a great way to answer whether an action or approach being considered lives up to what we stand for.  Here are popular examples tied to our core values of Simplicity, Positivity, Integrity, Creativity and Empathy, the added SPICE we want our community to embody:

  • Simple Yet Significant
  • Work Smarter, Not Harder
  • What Gets Recognized, Gets Repeated
  • Do What’s Right, Not What’s Easy
  • Get Shit Done
  • Give To Get
  • Help Someone Learn Every Day

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 2. Public Recognition and Reward

When leaders were asked in a study on engagement what they could do more, nearly 60% indicated “Give Recognition”.  As one of our mottos is “what gets recognized, gets repeated”, we emphasize ways to do this.  This can be multi-modal, from digital tools like a “Shout Out” application, to a Gratitude Tree, to forums like all staff or team meetings like townhall celebrations.

In the second half of this year, we created a branded fish bowl decal on our wall.  The was to bring greater visibility to team members as they come and go from the office, as well as to job candidates, partners, and vendors, or anyone visiting our office.  These are reviewed monthly and we highlight individuals and teams, offering thoughtful surprise rewards that are personal to them. For example, last month we recognized two employees and gave them gift certificates to a climbing gym we know they enjoy going to after work. Recognition is an important element; combining it with a personal touch goes above and beyond showing your employees how valuable they are to your company. In return, it motivates employees to continue to produce exemplary results since recognition was public and incentivized.

3. Visual Story Telling with Collage

Core values don’t stop at a set of one-word characteristics, plastered on the wall in the office.  For one, it’s too loose for misinterpretation.  Second, it has no connection to the rich history of your company.  And third, it shows no differentiation from the herd.

How about instead surfacing the folklore within your team, the things they’re proud of having delivered together with coworkers, experiences, outcomes or value created that they hang their hat on.  The result becomes a value statement and story snippets word cloud.  Some steps to get there:

  1. Present core value statements to team members
  2. Solicit stories they associate with them
  3. Distill the best stories gathered from a snippet (few words) that will trigger team curiosity
  4. On a canvas, layout the core value statements (short phrases representing the meaning of each)
  5. Arrange the story snippets in proximity to the statements that have the strongest association

In the end, you’ll have a word cloud that brings your values alive.  On an ongoing basis, your recognition programs should surface more stories to add.

TIP:  Avoid the reluctance to use employee names or tell stories of former employees who have moved on.  Greatness tied to your values should be celebrated regardless, to set the bar forward.

Bringing Us Together

Culture unites us, and these are a few ways to make it happen.  Your intranet is a great asset to support the connections in your team, communication, and implementation of these ideas.  If you don’t have one, or it’s too complex to be agile and support the deployment of solutions like these, leave us a comment below.  We would be more than happy to discuss and show you how.

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About the Author:

Rob Nikkel, CEO, brings over a decade of experience in building web applications for the financial and scientific sector to the Intranet Connections Team. With a Bachelors in Chemistry from the University of British Columbia and a graduate diploma from the Information Technology Institute, he also brings great depth and experience with requirements analysis, coding, quality assurance testing, systems integration, usability, scalability, training, road mapping, product strategy and leadership. Outside of his day job, if Rob isn’t exploring the latest gadgets or technologies, you’ll likely find him at the hockey rink or spending time with his young family.

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