Guest post by Robbie Warin.
We live in a world where companies are no longer closed books, but glass boxes open for inspection by the wider world. Take Uber’s ex-CEO Travis Kalanick, fired after a culture of bullying and sexism was exposed when a staff member’s blog post went viral. Think you can keep it hidden? You can’t.
But this openness is not simply a risk – it is an opportunity. An opportunity for you to build a positive culture at work – and to build this into an integral part of your brand. With this in mind, we set out on a dark Wednesday in Whitechapel to explore company culture and its increased importance in an ever more connected world; what makes a good culture and how can this make a company excel at what it does? Featuring insights from speakers Rebecca Baron from Ben&Jerry’s, Charlotte Sewell from COOK, Martin Bunch from BWB, and Alex Heaven from Danone, Modern Day Wisdom was back to explore The Culture Within.
A Good Culture Is….
For COOK, a good culture is about an openness to new ideas – and the ability to run with them. Charlotte Sewell talked about how this can be brought about by a simple approach of looking people in the eye and treating them as equals. COOK’s approach is enshrined in their mantra that everyone act like Churchill’s Pig – not look up to, or down upon anyone, but look them squarely in the eye as an equal, as Winston Churchill felt his favourite animal, the pig, did.
For Alex Heaven, it’s about the three C’s – Commitment, Communication and Collaboration, with an emphasis on making sure everyone’s on the same page, hanging out socially, and allowing everyone the opportunity to be heard. It’s only through this that change can be brought about in a large multinational such as Danone.
Values at the heart
Values are a key part of any business culture and sticking to them can help shape not only who you want to work with, but who wants to work with you. Whilst a good company culture can help increase sales, it can never be the only reason why a company does what it does, says Rebecca Baron from Ben&Jerry’s. A committed team, with a passion for putting their values into practice is the only way to make this authentic, and that’s why everyone employed at Ben&Jerry’s has to contribute to one of their values, helping to bring people together and foster an inclusive culture for everyone.
For many of our panellists, becoming a B Corp was a way to channel these values and bring all of their employees together around a common purpose. For BWB, it was a means to keep their values intact and take inspiration from the other organisations part of the whole B Corp community.
The outcome of having a values-driven business, with a culture of listening and openness is a connected and vibrant team, reactive to changes and with a buzz that keeps them going – and returns commercial dividends.