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Winner of the Company Culture Awards 2021: OSF Digital 🎉🎉

We’re thrilled to announce OSF Digital as the Winner of the Culturevist Company Culture Awards 2021!

The team at OSF Digital shared an inspiring story of building a sense of personal connection, a shared goal, improving individuals’ wellbeing, and ambition!

To help us all learn, here are some snippets of their story, together with our Judges’ comments:

It was apparent that mental health and wellbeing was a massive issue for people in 2020/21, during the Covid period. Something that could not be solved easily unless there was an understanding of the situation from a personal view and not a corporate view.

We identified this as a problem and aimed to do something about this for our team at OSF Digital.

We acquired 4 companies in 2021 during lockdown but never really met the people involved in these teams, except in meetings online. People from these acquired teams were obviously nervous of the larger OSF, not really knowing who their new teammates were, in the organization that had just acquired them. 

We believed we needed a shared goal in some way, something that was NOT work related.

We set the challenge of traveling virtually from our head office in Quebec and visiting every one of our 44 offices globally, within the 31 days of July, using our own power. Any movement that a person did – walking, cycling, paddling, swimming, running etc – was tracked through their mobile phone or Garmin watch, on an application called UNITED HEROES, with the main goal for us to cover 65,000km (combined) in the month of July as ‘One Team’.

To add interest to this we transported our Polar Bear mascot from one office to another (virtually), with each office making a fun video of their surroundings to highlight what it is like where they live and work.

The event was never framed as a competition; instead, it was the opposite – a team challenge to work together to move the mascot from office to office under our own steam in one month. 

Through great communications, support and team spirit we managed to smash our goal of 65,000 km, returning to our head office with 3 days to spare of the target. A great metaphor for us in work and our global goals.

People wanted to show off where they worked and what it was like in their community, having fun with the OSF mascot along the way.

A way of uniting the whole team without one mention of work-related activity.

The only area not to go well was raising money for sponsorship. It was hard to get people to donate, even from the people participating. However, being fair this aspect was not overly pushed, as the priority of this event was the team’s personal health and wellbeing. So to have a goal of everyone raising money may have added more pressure, and therefore would have been contrary to the main purpose. If we run this event again, we are considering how corporate sponsors may get involved to help, to raise awareness and sponsorship without losing the spirit of the event.

Finally buy-in from the senior team, especially the Founder and CEO of OSF, helped immensely. Having him announce his backing of the event in team meetings, added weight to the message that it’s good to take time out and to look after yourself.

What, if anything, would you recommend others try if they’re interested in excelling in this space?

Think what your team is really missing, and aim to create something that satisfies that need.

Ensure senior leaders buy into this and promote it. Without this it’s like pushing water uphill. With the backing of the CEO, his involvement made it OK for others to participate.

Make sure everyone knows what the overall goal is, and what part they can personally achieve in heading to the goal.

But generally have fun – create outstanding experiences and it bonds your team together longer than you can imagine.

Judges’ comments on the Winner – OSF Digital

“This whole venture included the team – it had inclusivity and bond-building woven through the very concept, and moreover, was an optional activity that wouldn’t threaten nor impose upon the individual. In fact, the honest figure of 570 or so out of 1000 people is commendable and gives a great snapshot on uptake which can be used as a future barometer for any other global events they elect to launch.

The humility shown by the organisers saying ‘good enough is good enough’ I found very human and touching and, again, not heavy-handed in their approach to the project. This is a true recognition of ability and inclusivity.

The gentle U-turn made by senior leaders as they began to back the project too felt organic and credible. When teams see opinions change from above, this sends such a deep message, the CEO ‘made it okay for others to participate’, and paves the way for individuals to be their authentic self and feel free with their choices. This is fundamental, foundation-building stuff for any culture.

Using the footage of the event as onboarding material is smart too – this is how rituals and stories become tangible and feed into the fabric of the culture one is nurturing. Good reflection on how the small stuff shouldn’t dominate or take-over the bigger picture event.

It was heartwarming and human and the joy it brought to the staff was infectious.”

“This is an excellent case study in solving multiple challenges at once. I loved that this challenge ticked so many boxes – a real multitasking initiative, helping them to build community, a sense of personal connection, a shared goal, improving individuals’ wellbeing, and the ambition!

An ingenious idea that clearly was super engaging for the team – the videos are so heartwarming! Rolling out an initiative like this is always going to be hard work, and the team did a great job to get so many people involved.”

“There was a warmth to the video and something that showed how much they care about their people. To have such global camaraderie amongst the employees in the middle of a pandemic I think is something a lot of companies have unfortunately lost.

They had a beautiful sense of community which just made me so happy to see, especially during so much uncertainty.

To have that many employees participate is commendable and I think this comes down the trust and respect they obviously have for one another.

We know onboarding new employees the right way is critical to setting that employee up for success so it’s great they use the video as part of their onboarding process. Throughout the the video they remain humble, authentic and by the end of the video I wanted to join them. It was innovative, fun, caring all at the same time”

Our Judges

Maria Campbell

Maria Campbell

A Specialist in building People functions and teams, Maria’s experience includes work in: Hiring, Management, Performance, Progression, Compensation, Values, and much more.

Abi Adamson

Abi Adamson

A Specialist in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Abi’s experience includes work in: Institutional Racism, Microaggressions, Allyship, Cultural Appropriation, Privilege Awareness, Recognising Bias, and much more.

Nic Roome

Nic Roome

A Specialist in Belonging, Nic’s experience includes work in: Environment Design, Core Values, Events, Onboarding, Communication, Operations and much more.

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Finalist in the Culturevist Company Culture Awards 2021: Hired 🎉🎉

Congratulations to Hired for being a Finalist and Runner-Up of the Culturevist Company Culture Awards 2021!

To help us all learn, we’re delighted to showcase some snippets of their special story:

In 2020, Vettery, a hiring marketplace owned by the Adecco group acquired, a competing recruitment platform with the goal of creating the world’s largest AI-driven marketplace to match ambitious talent with the world’s most innovative companies through combining the technology, talent, and potential of both organizations.

Hired and Vettery had built powerful AI and people-led platforms powering the hiring for innovative companies including Dropbox, Twitch, Capital One, and thousands of others. With less than 5% overlap in existing subscribers and candidates, this was a significant opportunity to bring two leading organizations and talent communities together to deepen roles/skills, expand geographically and into new verticals and offer greater expertise in specializations such as remote work. In the acquisition, over 95% of the Hired team was retained, despite an incredibly challenging year for hiring as a result of uncertainty from COVID-19’s impact.

The leadership team decided the best approach for the situation was to lead with culture.

The big intention was shared early: the merger was not an integration of an acquired company with a winner/loser dynamic, but a marriage of equals. And this intention was made real through a series of decisions which were made early and communicated widely, including:

· Appointing Vettery and Hired people into key roles

· Inviting and encouraging all staff to participate in organization and culture-building activities.

The next step was to invest in external, objective and multi-disciplinary skills to facilitate the process, and ensure the right skills were in-place at the right time to move fast and thoughtfully.

The Executive Team engaged Blitz Solutions, who initially partnered with the Executive Team to support the merger. Together they set direction and executed with seamless intensity to ensure a rapid integration of operational, strategic, and executive priorities. This included support for the stakeholder engagement of the parent company. 

With the brand refresh and strategy both underway, the Executive Team engaged Kindred Consulting to support the development of the desired culture, and facilitate a program to express organizational values and required behaviours to complement the development of a new brand identity.

The program delivered a series of sessions and survey that spanned all teams and created the space to understand what people felt could be possible, explore and debate options and territories, and through this, co-create the new values.

The final big decision was to create a moment. A memorable moment for the entire Hired team to celebrate the launch of the new organization. 

Meaningfully including our people every step of the way was our guarantee of building something that our people would not just accept, but live.

The external launch was the culmination after a week-long internal celebration including a two day virtual offsite that brought the entire company together to rally behind a new vision, mission, and company values, aligning behind the new brand. 

In the offsite, the team celebrated the immense accomplishment of the integration and past histories of the businesses – then launching into a celebration and “coming out party” of the new brand, followed by an overview of shared strategic initiatives outlined for the remainder of the year and beyond. A gift pack with new brand merchandise was delivered to every member of the team to bring a tangible dimension to the celebration.

Since the launch, the business has thrived, reaching new milestones in 2021 including record highs in interview activity in April on the combined platform that have only continued to grow since.

Day two was oriented around people – celebrating and exemplifying our newly stated company values – including the launch of a new company wide employee recognition program. The new company wide recognition program is presented twice a year and awarded through peer nominations and leadership vote.

To mark the transition into our One Team One Dream culture refresh we paid homage to the two company paths that led us to that point with a Zoom-crash from two singers who captured the accomplishments and personality of the legacy companies as well as set out our values in their bespoke song renditions. It helped set the tone for coming together as one Hired team.

In September, Hired also announced the release of ‘Diversity Goals’, an innovative new solution that provides companies of all sizes with a simplified process for sourcing and engaging underrepresented technology candidates.

The values have been infused throughout our performance management and goals setting process, empowering staff to individually and collectively own and shape the culture in their day-to-day roles. Within a week of the launch, the Product and Tech Teams had already adopted the values as a lens for their upcoming company hackathon, giving participants an opportunity to bring them to life in their own creative ways.

The Executive Team had to be a real team and lead by doing rather than just being in the background of their decisions. For example, this meant not only talking about transparency, but also actually being transparent. This is one of the values we are most proud of, and really try to instill it across every aspect of the organization including Bi-weekly All Hands calls and giving everyone the opportunity to speak and ask questions.

What, if anything, you’d recommend others try if they’re interested in excelling in this space?

Think about culture as a way to achieve your strategic goals; start with the culture you create for yourselves as a leadership team – work on transparency and communication, it will help with inclusion.

Be deliberate about meaningfully engaging your people in refining your organization’s purpose; and be sure to create something that speaks to a higher purpose beyond commercial success so that you produce a mobilizing effect and united direction. It will help drive engagement.

Create memorable moments and shared experiences to kickstart the development of your culture. It is worth the time and investment to turn your cultural artefacts into lived experience that people can remember and relate to as individuals and groups – and find belonging through.

Congratulations to the Hired team for being selected as a Finalist! 🎉

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Guide to offboarding – Leavers checklists

A simple guide of things to consider for offboarding. In this context, offboarding is the process and experience of someone leaving a company.

This guide won’t include everything (for example it does not cover policy/legal/formal-HR implications) though hopefully will be helpful.

Why care about offboarding?

Do you care? The offboarding experience is part of the people experience in your company. How much do you care about the experience someone has can guide how much you care about the experience they have as they leave. Particularly at this time where they leave. How much people care about your company can be a reflection of how much they feel your company cares about them. People may see how people who leave before them are treated.

Memorable: The experience of leaving a company is often one of the moments that are most memorable.

Word of mouth and reputation: People speak about their experience. This could affect how people perceive your company and how attractive it is to be part of it.

How do you want the experience to feel?

Values or principles: Do you have values or principles to guide the experience people have and how you’d like them to feel?

What could you do?

Compliance and audit trail
– Check what legal/compliance responsibilities you have. What must you do, send and receive? What must you not?
– What are the things you don’t necessarily need to do, but would like to do?
– Where will you store the information about what has been sent to, shared with, and received from the colleague?

Checklist for Managers
– Do you have a Leavers checklist that Managers have so that they are clear on their responsibilities?

Checklist for Leavers
– Do you have a checklist that Leavers have so that they are clear on their responsibilities? e.g. making sure the following are up to date: contact details, expenses, leave/vacation; printing or saving copies of payslips and other relevant documentation not company intellectual property; being clear on whether any sponsorship for education continues; and other responsibilities…

Responding to a Notice of someone leaving
– If someone is resigning, what do they need to do?
– What format do they need to give it in (e.g. email/letter/else), to whom, and how much notice?
– When you receive someone’s notice notice of resignation, how do you respond to the leaver?
– Which communication channel would you use, what will your tone be?
– Is there a People/HR system you need to update, or someone to inform about someone leaving with relevant information, e.g. dates; emails/letters, etc.
– State outstanding leave/vacation/other days, and if there are any options related to these e.g. receiving payment, and if there are any constraints around when they are taken.
– Will the Leaver be sent letters of formal confirmation? If so, from whom, what will it state, who will they receive it from, who should they contact with any questions or concerns?

Key responsibilities that the Leaver had
– What responsibilities does the Leaver have? e.g. Management of People; being responsible or accountable for particular work or outcomes; etc. Do they lead working groups, meetings, communities that need to be handed over to someone else to take an active leadership/organizational role? What will the route be to ensure that these are continued by someone else or decided to not be continued?
– Does the leaver have any key relationships with external suppliers or other teams that it would be good to introduce someone else to, so you can continue the relationship?
– Would it be helpful to provide a ‘Handover template’ so help capture everything that could be handed over to someone else?

Communicating to others that someone is leaving
– Will you communicate that someone will be leaving?
– Who will you communicate it to?
– Who will communicate it?
– How will they communicate it?

Keeping knowledge within the company
– How much of what someone knows regarding their work, and how they did it, is already stored within the company?
– For example, have their processes, approached, activities, systems they use, files, etc. already been documented and accessible for people with the company after they leave?
– If not, how can you achieve this in the time you have remaining?
For example, would they do it independently, would it help to set up a meeting with someone?

Returning physical items
– What do you need to receive from them? e.g. physical items (computers, phones, access cards, payment cards, keys, other equipment, online access/files, etc.)
– Will you send packaging for them to send it by post? What instructions do you need to provide?
– Clean/wipe the items, physically and/or digitally.

Products and Services before and after they leave
– What products or services do you want to offer to people before they leave e.g. Wellbeing or Career assistance programmes; support with writing CV/Resume or applications.
– What products or services do you want to offer to people after their employment has ended?
– Which do you need to end? How will you end them?

External supplier contracts
– Does the leaver have any contracts with external suppliers that they need to end or handover?

– What will you pay, and how/when will you pay it? For example: salary, bonus, commission, expenses, any other additional payments?

– What access permissions did the person have, and which should they no longer have when they leave? e.g. for physical locations, and for digital access accounts, software, etc.
– Who do you need to contact to set these, or who will check they have automatically happened?

Intellectual property
– Does the leaver need to confirm they have deleted/destroyed any company intellectual property that they must when they leave?

Updating documents / websites
– What internal or external documentation needs to be refreshed given the person leaving? e.g. organization charts that do not update automatically?
– Is it still appropriate to have their photos, work, comments on company website?

Leaving (exit) interviews or surveys
– Would you receive valuable and authentic insight you have not received from the colleague up to that point?
– If interview, who should the conversation be with?
– If survey, how long, what will be asked?
– What will you do with the information your receive? Who should see it? Are there people accountable for different topics the feedback is related to?

Leaving party/event/recognition?
– Will these be organised?
– How inclusive do you want them to be?
– How much fairness is there – does the company organise things equally for everyone, or are people treated differently?

Communication after leaving
– How can the former employee keep in touch with the company and current/former colleagues?
– What is the best way to contact for People/HR questions?
– What will be sent to the leaver after they have left? How will it be sent? Do you need any further permission?
– What contact details will be retained and how would they be updated?
– Is there an alumni network and activities? e.g. Will you invite them to share their stories of what they did next?
– If the leaver writes for a reference, is there any guidance for how people should respond?

Hiring someone new
– Can/should someone be hired into the role the Leaver is leaving? Or is it actually desirable that the role is no longer filled? Where should someone contact to discover this?