“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford.
What is your ideal workplace? This is a question that I found asking myself when I was graduating from school and about to make my impact on the “real world”. I pictured myself sliding down the slides at Google HQ and working in the offices at Vogue, where I could wear whatever was in the office’s fashion closet.
But I never gave a lot of thought to the workplace culture, in fact, I didn’t really know what it was. I guess it’s one of those things you don’t truly understand and appreciate until you have been in the workforce for a couple of years. I only fully got an understanding of workplace culture when I started here at contentgroup late last year, which has taught me a few good lessons on company culture.
I have worked two jobs over the course of six years, making contentgroup my third job.
To me, starting at a new job feels like starting at a new school. You’re the ‘new kid on the block’ who generally has no idea what they are doing. You don’t know anybody and are scrambling to try and ‘fit in’ with the culture of your workplace, while you are still trying to find out what that culture even is. Yes, it can be terrifying.
At most jobs, the first thing that you probably do is fill in some relevant paperwork, such as your bank details etc, and then crack on with learning how to do your job. However, at contentgroup, the first task I was given was a little different to most. It was to fill in a set of documents about the company values.
At first, I assumed that this would be some ‘feel-good task’ that I would do and never think about again, as it is at many organisations, but here that was not the case.
Little did I know that it is this very set of values that drive and shape every team member here at contentgroup into the staff member they are today. I truly believe that with these values set in place, as a collective we work harder, smarter and more efficiently.
A few years ago, in a class at University called ‘Organisational Communication’, we learnt about a business that proved the effectiveness that good company values can have on an organisation.
In 2006 Alan Mullaly took over Bill Ford as the president and CEO of Ford Motor company. At the time the company was slowly going out of business due to years of hubris and poor management practices. It was his job to save the business.
One of the first things that Mullally did was install a set of 10 core company values that he expected his staff to follow. They are as follows:
- People first
- Everyone is included
- Compelling vision
- Clear performance goals
- One plan
- Facts and data
- Propose a plan, “find-a-way” attitude
- Respect, listen, help, and appreciate each other
- Emotional resilience … trust the process
- Have fun … enjoy the journey and each other
Much like here at contentgroup, Mullally used these values to drive and shape the Ford Motor company. To comply with these values Mullaly set up weekly meetings with managers, to track progress and share with one another how the business was going. He also moved his office from the top floor of the office to the fourth floor where all of the engineers worked, so that he could work with this team, instead of having them work under him. Finally, he set up four business objectives that staff were to follow. These four business objections focused on execution, strategy, cash and people, and were made aware to all staff members of Ford Motor Company.
Since 2006 Ford’s values have changed, but it is safe to say that their original implementation by Mullaly played a massive hand in the businesses success over the past 15 years.
So if the company values work, then how do we embody them here at contentgroup in our day-to-day lives?
We have daily meetings, which every staff member attends, to discuss what each of us has planned for the day. At contentgroup, we work as a collective, which means that knowing what others are working on is crucial, as it allows us to identify an area of expertise in ones’ task or project where they may be able to help a well as also see gaps in one’s schedule where they may be able to assist you.
Another aspect that contentgroup is big on is team planning. Recently we had a ‘Team Planning Day’ in which every staff member was involved in. On this day we worked together to plan our strategy for the year, define business goals, conduct a team SWOT analysis, and overall get to know one another a little bit better.
Being a part of a decision-making process like this is something that I had not been subjected to before. At previous jobs, this was something that was always done by the owner of the business, or in the case of the public service, an APS 6 or higher. However, thinking about it now, it only makes sense to have everyone involved in the businesses decision-making process, as different members of the team will have different views and insights that could be collectively brought together to make a decision. Of course, there are times where not every member of the business needs to be present, but when making big plans for the year, contentgroup has taught me that collaboration is vital, and it works.
We also embody our values through openness and approachability. As one of the newest members of the team, never am I nervous to ask questions or assistance from another team member, and I know that our clients, contractors and partners feel the same.
So I guess you could say that my ‘ first-day jitters’ were for nothing. We may not have a slide or a killer fashion closet (potentially something I should bring up at the next team meeting), but we do have a kind, curious and remarkable team that makes going to work every day a pleasure. Much like Ford Motor Company, contentgroup is an example of a business with a set of company values that not only work but foster a positive working environment.
If you would like to learn more about contentgroup’s company culture, please visit our website, or if you would to join our contentgroup collective, visit our Work With Us page- we are constantly looking for talented professionals. Alternatively, if you would just like to have a chat about company culture in general, send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.