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Why the Coronavirus won’t beat culture

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BIG THINKING

Why the Coronavirus won’t beat culture

Eric Mathis
Strategy Director
Hall & Partners

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For me, the culture of an organization is as important, if not more, than the thing that they sell, produce, distribute. Everyone talks about having ‘the best culture’ but few live it. I get it - culture is hard. If it was easy, there would be no toxic workplaces, less employee dissatisfaction, and every brand promise would ring true; living internally in the same way it’s trumpeted externally.

So again, I get it. Culture is hard. It’s hard when times are good. Now with what’s going on in the world, culture becomes harder than ever, something that can easily be overlooked. We’re facing a once in a lifetime crisis that frankly no one ‘knows’ how to deal with. We’re all doing the best we can. Which is why I believe culture is more important than ever, because frankly, things are a bit shit, and might continue to be for a while.

At Hall & Partners, our culture has always been about the people. It sounds trite – but that’s ultimately what we sell to our clients, and honestly, I believe it. What you get is what you see. Part of that means having fun both within and outside work hours. Not because it’s gratuitous, but because it’s what we believe is ultimately how we can inspire the best outputs for our clients. We like spending time with each other – it’s as simple as that. Working late on a client deliverable is that much more palatable because I just genuinely like our team. Suffice to say, we’re all a little bummed we can’t hang out in the same ways we have been with our self-imposed quarantine.

Yet, I still feel optimistic, cared for, and supported by my colleagues. We’ve done a great job in finding ways to continue to experience the ‘people magic’ that Hall & Partners is so widely renowned for. Here’s how we’ve been able to do it:

  1. Seeing is believing. Make sure meetings are done via video. A phone call is lovely but so much of what’s communicated is done in a non-verbal manner. Seeing my colleagues’ beautiful faces, and their crazy mannerisms goes a long way to keeping me feeling upbeat. It’s what makes us human and ensures we’re able to still feel the connection we all need.
  2. Keep it unprofessional. Not everything needs to be about work. Chew the fat for 5 minutes before getting into it. Let people know what TV shows you’re binging on now that you don’t have 2 hours’ worth of commuting each day. Then get into the nitty gritty stuff. We’re already more transactional because we aren’t together, so make sure you take the time to show you care about your fellow colleagues (the way you know you do).
  3. Pour yourselves a drink. We’ve earned it! I’m writing this on St. Patty’s day. The day we all pretend to be Irish (I’m 1/8 Irish for the record) so we can be over-served on Jameson and Guinness. To celebrate it today, we had a virtual happy hour. Was it as fun as it would have been if we were all at an Irish pub running up the company tab? No of course not. But it was still engaging, stimulating, and ultimately a rewarding way to chat with folks from the office I don’t interact with in my every day.

I hope this helps. At the end of the it, we’re all in this together. Stay safe, stay connected, and keep looking out for one another.

 

Share this article

 

For me, the culture of an organization is as important, if not more, than the thing that they sell, produce, distribute. Everyone talks about having ‘the best culture’ but few live it. I get it – culture is hard. If it was easy, there would be no toxic workplaces, less employee dissatisfaction, and every brand promise would ring true; living internally in the same way it’s trumpeted externally.

So again, I get it. Culture is hard. It’s hard when times are good. Now with what’s going on in the world, culture becomes harder than ever, something that can easily be overlooked. We’re facing a once in a lifetime crisis that frankly no one ‘knows’ how to deal with. We’re all doing the best we can. Which is why I believe culture is more important than ever, because frankly, things are a bit shit, and might continue to be for a while.

At Hall & Partners, our culture has always been about the people. It sounds trite – but that’s ultimately what we sell to our clients, and honestly, I believe it. What you get is what you see. Part of that means having fun both within and outside work hours. Not because it’s gratuitous, but because it’s what we believe is ultimately how we can inspire the best outputs for our clients. We like spending time with each other – it’s as simple as that. Working late on a client deliverable is that much more palatable because I just genuinely like our team. Suffice to say, we’re all a little bummed we can’t hang out in the same ways we have been with our self-imposed quarantine.

Yet, I still feel optimistic, cared for, and supported by my colleagues. We’ve done a great job in finding ways to continue to experience the ‘people magic’ that Hall & Partners is so widely renowned for. Here’s how we’ve been able to do it:

  1. Seeing is believing. Make sure meetings are done via video. A phone call is lovely but so much of what’s communicated is done in a non-verbal manner. Seeing my colleagues’ beautiful faces, and their crazy mannerisms goes a long way to keeping me feeling upbeat. It’s what makes us human and ensures we’re able to still feel the connection we all need.
  2. Keep it unprofessional. Not everything needs to be about work. Chew the fat for 5 minutes before getting into it. Let people know what TV shows you’re binging on now that you don’t have 2 hours’ worth of commuting each day. Then get into the nitty gritty stuff. We’re already more transactional because we aren’t together, so make sure you take the time to show you care about your fellow colleagues (the way you know you do).
  3. Pour yourselves a drink. We’ve earned it! I’m writing this on St. Patty’s day. The day we all pretend to be Irish (I’m 1/8 Irish for the record) so we can be over-served on Jameson and Guinness. To celebrate it today, we had a virtual happy hour. Was it as fun as it would have been if we were all at an Irish pub running up the company tab? No of course not. But it was still engaging, stimulating, and ultimately a rewarding way to chat with folks from the office I don’t interact with in my every day.

I hope this helps. At the end of the it, we’re all in this together. Stay safe, stay connected, and keep looking out for one another.

 

Share this article

 

Eric Mathis
Strategy Director
Hall & Partners

LinkedIn Twitter