Building A Cultural Foundation For Growth & Evolution
At Bunker, we are stewards of the “future of work”, the concept that individuals and organizations can flourish in an on-demand economy. Our stewardship started with many questions and few answers. But, over time, we’ve built answers in the form of a platform, products and services to create transparency between individuals and organizations so they can reduce risk, save time and work the way they want.
In order to help foster the future of work, we’ve had to study the past. Through this process, we’ve uncovered great stories of companies that we believe have built a cultural foundation primed for the future of work. We pulled together a few of these examples and identified some common traits to help others spur positive discussions in any upcoming planning sessions.
Separate your offering from your business
Description: This might seem obvious, but when you dig a little deeper, sometimes the answer is not so obvious. Although you offer one “thing”, the business you are in might be another. By inspecting and dissecting what your business provides from what drives it, can enlighten a room. Are you in the service business, sales business, product business, distribution business?
Inspiration: Zappos, known as a go-to ecommerce company, you would think is a product company. From shoes and scarves to bags and glasses, they sling consumer products with the best of them. But, when you ask Zappos what business they are in, it’s all customer service. From new employee hiring processes and onboarding to management strategy and promotion criteria, everything is built around service. There are even stories of customers calling for help with directions to local restaurants, completely unrelated to their business. It’s this unrelenting focus on service that has led them to over 75% of sales from repeat customers.
Start from the top:
Description: While groundswell efforts work well for some strategies, building and sustaining a cultural evolution starts with c-level leadership. If you have a leadership team that’s truly committed to transformation, they should be excited about it starting with them. The challenge, though, is when it is time for them to transform, how willing are they to go the distance?
Inspiration: In the cutthroat world of telecommunications, it took an unconventional approach to turn T-Mobile from a dying brand into a hip, Uncarrier. It all started with CEO John Legere, who reinvented himself in order to rebuild the corporate culture from the ground up and create transparency between the company, its employees and its customers. This transformation, however, was not just for looks. It’s important to inspect how Legere implemented his new persona into customer events (live streaming his Sunday Crockpot meals) and employee interactions (visiting all 18 call centers regularly), all consistently breaking down communication barriers and building trust.
Prioritize integrated programs:
Description: Cultural transformation cannot be dictated, it must be breathed into the processes, interactions and, yes, even incentives of an organization. There is no better feeling than thinking to oneself “at this moment, this is exactly what I should be doing”. By prioritizing programs that align and reinforce the revised goals, each employee can be confident and proud that their actions are valued.
Inspiration: T-Mobile did this well by integrating customer events and employee interactions that aligned with the CEO reinvention. PepsiCo, who was awarded its tenth straight Ethisphere award for global ethics, integrates its many employee programs around the mantra of “Performance With Purpose” - create a place where people see their personal values reflected in the workplace. One of the ways they promote this is through a monthly video series, which all content was curated from front line employees. By prioritizing these transparent experiences, employees feel more ownership and pride in where they work and belief in its impact on their community.
Through our time building Bunker, we’ve been welcomed with open arms into a community that is building the future of work. We are excited about the future, but also know the challenges a fluid workforce can put on an organization. We believe building and sustaining a strong corporate culture is a necessary component to evolving with how high-class talent prefers to work. And, while we all know that a great work environment may be simple to define, it is not simple to create. With these stories, and hopefully the ones you share with us, we can all build more enduring cultures to foster this evolution.