It's easy to go into work, put your head down, and just stay siloed all day. But can a computer monitor make you feel valued for the hard work you put in day to day? An inclusive organizational culture where employees are empowered to have a voice and engagement is top of mind is one where workers thrive. We got a chance to chat with the CEO of Peabody Engineering & Supply, Mark Peabody, to go behind the scenes of their culture and find out what makes their company so great.
Q: Tell us a little about your company and its culture.
A: Our company is a manufacturer of innovative products for environmentally safe storage of hazardous chemicals and creative solutions for hiding cellular telephone antennas in places other than fake trees. Our culture reflects our Christian values. We care for others and treat everyone with dignity and respect. This goes for our team members, our customers, our vendors, and the public at large. We enthusiastically support local and international charities by participating in volunteer opportunities to serve others.
Q: What's one thing your company practices that sets its culture apart from everyone else?
A: Everyone on our team has an influence on how we make our company a great place to work and a great company to do business with. From our daily team huddles each morning to everyone willing to chip in and help where needed, we work as a team to provide our best for those companies and the people we deal with. If it means the office staff needs to get dirty preparing an order to ship or the company ordering lunch for the team so we can all work together to meet an important commitment, we all do what needs to be done as a team.
Q: What advice can you give to organizations seeking to close the communication gap?
A: You have to lead your team from behind: empowering them to have authority with their responsibility. Servant leadership is the best way to create a winning culture, creating an atmosphere of excellence through humility. Everyone has unique gifts to offer, and if you set the tone that allows people to excel, they will and you will benefit. Attitude comes from the top, so your people will treat your customers the same way you treat them.
Q: What's the most common mistake you see companies making with employee onboarding, and how does your organization succeed at the process?
A: Companies usually don't teach company values, mission, and vision well. New employees will only be successful if they fit your culture. Nuts-and-bolts training is important, but employees have to share your core values or they will never become a part of your team.
Adding an employee is like adopting someone into your family. You need to make the effort to help them feel like they belong. That will go a lot further in employee retention than what you pay them or what their title is. For an employee to love their job, they need to feel like a part of something greater than themselves.
Q: What was your favorite Cheers you've ever received?
A: Always the ones that acknowledge and affirm. Everyone wants to be valued and loved. These are the most basic human needs. People know when they aren't at their best; it's our job to tell them that they are appreciated.
Q: How does your organization help your employees recharge or maintain morale?
A: We do a lot of things that build team morale, like cookie Fridays, when we bring in fresh cookies for everyone or the "Sure Happy It's Monday" drawing for a spin on the wheel of fortune for a prize that could be anything from lunch with the boss to Half-Day Friday.
On the 4th of July, we hand out a "Picnic in a Bag" to each team member to enjoy on their holiday weekend. We recently entered two teams in a chili cook-off for a local charity. One of our teams won second place out of 30 competitors. We all celebrated the win and everyone is making plans to win next year. These are but a few examples of how we "do life together."
Q: What was the most important or impactful employee feedback you've ever received? And why did it make such a difference?
A: When someone told us how they truly felt unappreciated. Sometimes, people put on a good face and inside they are unhappy. It could be related to something outside of work and it usually is. Everyone has challenges and difficulties in their lives, but by giving them a chance to anonymously express themselves, we can help them deal with it and make work a safe place where they know they are valued and appreciated. If you don't know, it's impossible to do anything to help.
Q: What's the one advice you have for any organization or leader out there?
A:Always remember that everyone is important to someone. They all have self-esteem and all deserve to be treated with respect. We all have to work. If you want your people to perform at their best, you need to treat them like a star player. We are all made in God's image and we are called to "Love your neighbor as yourself." If you do that, your team will follow wherever you lead.