The ‘Box Of Love’, ‘Video Recruitment’ And ‘Pawternity Leave’! 3 Great Examples Of Creating Culture As Competitive Advantage


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Does your culture create competitive advantage? Does it help you recruit and retain people? Do you proactively work on it to help you do this? The best businesses do!

In winning business, culture is not left to chance and they take a Dramatically and Demonstrably Different approach. Our research suggests that these 3D Businesses Create An UBER Culture (it’s Characteristic #5 of 3D “Businesses!) to help them develop a real competitive advantage.

What exactly is ‘culture’ and what shapes it? Well, there are lots of ‘academic’ definitions, but the one I like is ‘“It’s the way we do things around here” whether that’s deliberately or accidentally, consciously or unconsciously. Another definition I like is from Herb Kelleher, the founder of Southwest Airlines “It’s what people do when no-one’s looking’!

The key ingredients of an UBER Culture are:

  • Everyone Understands what’s expected of them and behaves accordingly and consistently as a result
  • Systems and processes are Built to reinforce and support those values and behaviours
  • People are Engaged, Empowered and Enabled to deliver them
  • People are Rewarded and Recognised for doing it!

Here are 3 examples of ‘real’ businesses and the systems and processes they have Built to reinforce and support their culture…

1. Steel City Get Creative With Their Recruitment…

Steel City Marketing are a forward thinking business in Sheffield that pride themselves on their people and their culture being a real differentiator. As a result, the look to recruit people to fit and enhance their culture. With Jenni, their marketing manager, about to go off on maternity leave to have her twins (congratulations Jenni!), MD James Biggin is looking to find replacement cover and has done so in a creative manner that reflects and reinforces the Steel City ‘culture’….

It’s a lovely way of appealing to certain people who would fit in with the culture and, to be honest, ‘putting off’ those that wouldn’t.

Question: How does your recruitment processes help you find people that ‘fit’?

It’s all very well recruiting people that ‘fit’, but what processes and systems can you establish to maintain and reinforce your culture? Well, you could try….

2. What Marketing’s ‘Box Of Love’!

Every Friday afternoon, the team at What Marketing in Manchester get together as a whole for a weekly ‘catch up’ and people share news and updates about what’s been happening in different parts of the business. They also dip in to the ‘Box Of Love’ which is a little box that people can drop in little notes of praise, thanks or even simple, positive comments to their other colleagues on their achievements or things they’ve noticed they’ve done really well. As Dom Carter of What Marketing says “It’s a great boost for the whole office morale and a way of keeping communication in a big office flowing”.

It’s a nice way of reinforcing the culture that they want by ‘championing their champions’ – those who proactively live it!

Question: “What systems and processes do you have in your business to recognise and reward those who are doing great things and reinforcing the culture you want?”

It’s also about making your people feel ‘valued’ and here’s an innovative approach…

3. Brewdog Offers ‘Pawternity Leave’!

If you work at Brewdog, the innovative fast growing brewer and bar owner, you have always been allowed to bring your dog to work! The business, which was founded in 2007 by James Watt and Martin Dickie (and the company’s mascot, labrador Bracken), has a goal ‘to be the best place to work, ever’, and has just announced ‘Pawternity Leave’ which means that employees are allowed a week’s paid leave to help them settle their new dog into their home!

Here’s a video that explains the whys’ and wherefores…

As founder James Watt explains “It’s not easy trying to juggle work and settle a new dog into your life, and many members of our crew have four-legged friends at home. So we wanted to take the stress out of the situation and let our teams take the time they need to welcome their new puppy or dog into their family. We always want to raise the bar when it comes to offering our staff the best possible benefits; at BrewDog, we care about two things above all else. People and beer. We also just really really like dogs.”

Again, it’s all about doing things that shape and reinforce the culture they want – They do also have ‘normal’ paternity and maternity time too!

Question: “What systems and policies do you have that reinforce “The way you do things around here?” (‘Positively’ of course!)?”

So, what does it mean for your business? No, you don’t HAVE to recruit by video, have ‘pawternity leave’ or even have team meetings to highlight your best performers (although that would more than likely help!), but it’s taking a serious look at…..

  • How you want things to be around here (hint: spell it out!)
  • How it really is around here (hint: ask!)
  • What helps and hinders you doing it (hint: ask again!)
  • What systems and processes you need to reinforce and support the culture you want (hint: Download our free E-Book: Culture As Competitive Advantage which will give you some more ideas on how to do it!)

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Andy Hanselman
Hi there! I help businesses and their people create competitive advantage by 'Thinking in 3D'! That means being 'Dramatically and Demonstrably Different'! I research, speak about, write about and work with businesses to help them maximise their sales and marketing, their customer service and their customer relationships.


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