The ROI of a Kind Company Culture
By Jenna Briand, Redbird Chief Creative Officer
When I joined Redbird three and a half years ago I was excited, ready for a change. I was also, frankly, a little suspicious.
There was so much to love. Creative challenges, the opportunity to help shape a company’s future, and a team of talented people who started thinking about lunch as early in the day as me.
Still — I wondered: how did this group of intelligent, focused women successfully do business while living what appeared to be balanced lives? How did they remain so calm and collaborative in the face of deadlines and team needs and client emergencies? They resisted texting on weekends, they paused to celebrate small victories. They were each other’s cheerleaders, deeply supportive, and — importantly — solvent, savvy and consistently over-delivering to a growing pool of satisfied clients.
There are studies I’d read that touted such things — how positive workplaces were actually more productive. A Harvard Business Review article from 2015 reported on a growing pool of research suggesting “not only is a cut-throat environment harmful to productivity over time, but a positive environment will lead to dramatic benefits for employers, employees, and the bottom line.” And a Forbes survey from earlier that same year claimed 92% of respondents “believed improving their firm’s corporate culture would improve the value of the company.”
I believed all of this to be true, too, and I’d had positive workplace experiences over the course of my career. But at Redbird I saw this embodied so completely. It was not a philosophy that was being adopted, it was at the very foundation of how the company actually worked. It seemed almost too good to be true.
I soon realized that my suspicion was all about “what I was used to” and not what I saw in front of me. Like many others, I had been caught up in politics, habits and work-styles that equated stress and pressure with motivation and success. It was, for me, a shift to let that go. In those early days at Redbird I began to re-learn and live into some valuable lessons in life and business; and experienced that there really is a better way to work.
- When people slow down, they are much better listeners. Listening is key to forming strong, lasting relationships — the kinds we strive for within our teams, and with our clients. Slowing down may mean building more time for creative into a schedule, or making post mortems a part of every project. It may also be as simple as sitting face to face with a colleague for just 5 or 10 minutes, computers closed and phones off, to jointly solve a problem.
- Failure is an option. When teams are motivated by fear rather than collaboration, they will naturally play it safe. Why wouldn’t they? But a culture that encourages collaboration and risk-taking — embracing failures and learning from them — is one where bigger ideas with substantial bottom-line results are more likely to emerge.
- Pausing to celebrate is not “soft.” Appreciation for a job well done refuels the engines that power both projects and people. It’s also an opportunity to reflect on what went right — sometimes unplanned things — that you’ll want to actively reproduce and build upon the next time around.
- Those lunches really are important. Meeting regularly over a salad or sandwich reaps honest, funny and productive business outcomes. It’s no secret that family meals improve communication at home. This works just as well with colleagues and clients, too.
I am proud of my three and a half years on the leadership team at Redbird because, frankly, life is short. I want to live during the workday how I live when I’m off the clock. At Redbird we cultivate a culture of respect. Calm and clarity steer decision-making, we have deep trust with clients we adore, and we enjoy the process as much as the results.
And we really like results.