Reboarding: getting on board again, especially an airplane or ship.
That is precisely what MetaGeek set out to do with our Culture Reboarding in February:get all the employees back on the culture boat. Over the past three years we have seen enormous turnover, with half the company having three or fewer years’ tenure. This created different interpretations of our Culture, so we decided to address it. The purpose of the MetaGeek Culture Reboarding was to create a shared understanding of the culture at MetaGeek so we could maximize workplace freedom and responsibility, and ultimately well-being in our daily work.
We had eighteen employees and six cultural aspects to cover. We created teams of three, based on complementary strengths from Gallup’s StrengthsFinder, and assigned the culture aspects to those teams based on where we thought those employees had the best or worst understanding/insight. Next, we bought building materials (similar to those used in a Design Thinking session our HR participated in) and displayed them for two days in the break room, without comment, to stoke curiosity among employees.. Each team had 30 minutes to brainstorm and build their models/representations of what each aspect of our culture looks like, trying to answer the question: what is important to understand about this aspect to have it show up everyday? Then they received 15 minutes to present their models to the rest of the company.
Here is what we got:
1. High Performance
The team created high performance cars, adding power as they learn, and bringing other cars (read: employees) along to reach the company’s goals.
2. Freedom & Responsibility
The team created a soccer field to represent a team of players having to understand each other’s roles and responsibilities to succeed. It also represents how each player has the freedom to do their job as long as they stay within the field and continuously drive towards the goal.
3. Context, Not Control
The team showed how without proper context, a simple objective such as “build a slinky holder that is at least 1” tall” can create several interpretations, scope creep and/or creative problem solving.
4. Highly Aligned, Loosely Coupled
This team modeled our cross-functional teams with pipe cleaners, showing how “tactical frogs” are guided by “strategic airplanes” flying toward the company’s goals. And don’t miss the CEO lion wrangling the crowd when necessary.
5. Top of Market, and 6. Promotions & Development
And finally, Top of Market and Promotions & Development. The team showed that getting to the top is an ongoing process that looks different for each employee, but a growth mindset is a must. Obviously the pizza and beer is a necessary building block. 🙂
Overall I thought the exercise was a huge success. The teams worked well together, everyone was engaged, and the employees got a chance to show what the culture looked like for them. In the future, I will definitely use this exercise to create shared understanding for best practices and other cultural aspects as well.
Here is what one of our geeks thought:
Reboarding was especially valuable to me because it brought employees of every tenure level together to discuss and present what our culture should be in the future; not simply what our culture was when they were hired. I’ve witnessed other companies fragment over time as their culture evolved, where each employee was fiercely allegiant to their idea of the company, even if that idea no longer aligned with the culture vision of the rest of the company. Reboarding allows everyone to get on the same page and understand the current and desired culture moving forward. – Brian R.