Do you remember what your first day at a new organization was like? Unless you started your own business from scratch or are a freelancer like me (which is a business of its own, with only one person trying to do everything under the sun) chances are you walked in on the first day to be greeted by the HR and was handed an access card, given some sort of orientation/office-tour and got directed to your desk with an Employee Handbook that you had to read in order to understand what life at your new company was going to be like.
Yay? Well, no. Chances are you read it once (best-case scenario) or gave it a cursory glance (more likely scenario) to see what timings you had to maintain, what penalties applied for signing in late and figuring out how many leaves you are allowed in a year before placing the Handbook in your desk drawer that lies there forgotten for the rest of eternity.
Now imagine we reverse roles. You are the one introducing a new employee to the world within your organization. Would you still want to give them that Handbook and have them forget about it the very next day? What if instead, that Handbook could be elevated to something a lot more exciting so that it becomes a book of inspiration and creativity and stays that way every single day for all your employees?
Welcome, the Culture Book.
Why a Culture Book trumps a traditional Employee Handbook
Think of your employee as a customer. You’re not likely to forget your customer in a hurry after you’ve closed a deal with them. You will work hard to keep them engaged so that you can deliver value to them for an entire lifetime and also so that they are more than just a customer, they are your friends who are vested in your company’s success. It’s the same case with employees.
A Culture Book engages an employee from the very first day, the very first minute of their stepping foot in your door. It may very well tell your new guys “how things are done here” but it also goes way beyond that. It shows them how important and intrinsic every single person really is to the company and why doing their best every day is not going to be just a personal achievement but have ripple effects across the entire company.
People start companies because they believe in something very strongly. And companies are not just a vision statement pinned up on a wall. Companies are passions. They are people. They are processes. A Culture Book encapsulates and articulates all of this in a manner so that the new kids on the block don’t just understand the rules of the game, but are infused with excitement and get in to win not a specific match but an entire tournament.
So what’s this supposedly magical document supposed to contain?
This is your company’s scrapbook. Seriously. To turn your values and stories into a culture book begin by asking the people already on the inside how it feels to them to be a part of your company. Values are not disconnected from the employees, which is exactly why their experiences count and are a true reflection of what a day in the life of a desk worker or an on-field sales rep in your company is truly like.
Take the case of C4E, an Events Management Agency, whose founder, Saurabh Garg, believes in investing in people who want to take their passions and turn them into highly impactful businesses, brands and careers (or pretty much whatever the employees want to achieve for themselves). I helped them create this Culture Book that highlights how the company actually lives its values, about the choices the people will be making at C4E and how they can make them.
Culture Books show the new insiders the inside view from the view of other insiders. It acts as a guide to a company’s ethos. It highlights a company’s approach to work, life and everything else in between. Values are not just defined within its pages but permeate the very tone and language of the whole document.
A Culture Book is an opportunity for companies to bring out the best in them, that might otherwise have remained hidden from the world. Therein lies its true power.
How are you telling your stories to your people?
If you are a human-centered organization, your numero uno priority is your people. They are your focal point – you need to not only find and support new talent but also invest in them, inspire them and mentor them so that they can find their own shores to sail to.
A Culture Book is a chance for a company to celebrate its brand values internally and externally as well, which is why you shouldn’t shy away from posting it on your website or social media and letting prospective candidates know what’s in it for them. It also acts as a great tool for vendors and partners to understand what the company is like, what it values and whether synergies exist for working together.
Culture Books ought to be something your new joiners can resonate with and are also proud to show off to their friends. The intention is simple – to inspire people to create a workplace where everyone loves to work.
So how exactly are you telling your stories to your people?
If you/your company would like to speak to its new (or existing) employees in an inspiring way through a Culture Book, do drop me a note. Maybe I can help. mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org