My name is Sandis and I am a company manager. I found it useful to share my knowledge and experience
As the business environment changed, our data technology company SQUALIO needed transformations. One company and one challenge – creating, implementing and maintaining a common company culture and values between different time zones and mentalities in more than ten countries around the world.
I realized that for our company, which originated in such a small country as Latvia, it is extremely important to be able to do ordinary things in an unusual way, thus strengthening the company’s competitiveness and promoting growth. This is the only way we can be different from others – we are not great, we have the same knowledge and skills as others, and the only thing we can do is to present and transfer this knowledge and skills in a unique way provided by the excellence of the service. That unique way is to present the product or service exactly the way the customer wants it to be.
And so, I decided to learn from the best. The Top 3 companies in the world in terms of customer service excellence alternate between The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Network, South West Ireland and the Disney Institute. I chose the Disney Institute, which is one of the best in the world and one of the hardest to beat in terms of their experience and skill, resulting in service excellence. Therefore, I went there to gain new knowledge in the management of an organization. It was important for me to know and understand how to define values in the company and how to pass these values on, so that they can be successfully implemented in the daily life of the company. Undoubtedly, the Disney Institute provided an invaluable insight into building an organizational culture, its fundamentals and how to adapt them to your desired outcomes. Additionally, I gained knowledge on the operating principles of an organization’s value creation mechanism in order to be able to spread the “virus” of a unified culture throughout the organization.
After returning, and being inspired by new experiences and knowledge, we were able to develop and define four main values in our company:
- Wise – our greatest value is our knowledge – we each gain some independently, and then share our skills and abilities. We do not want to be the smartest, but we want to be smart. While it is not possible to be knowledgeable in just any matter in our industry, it is always possible to give smart advice.
- Easy – cooperation and communication with us, as well as between ourselves is easy and simple. Many people in our industry do fantastic things, but they don’t know how to talk about them. Therefore, we want to be able to explain and give advice on complex things quite simply.
- Prompt – our customers and partners don’t have to wait because we do everything right away. We are solving any problems now and immediately.
- Care – we really do care about the needs, wishes and dreams of our customers, partners and employees.
These are the values that characterize SQUALIO. At present, they are an important basis for building our company’s international network, developing new products and services, as well as strengthening competitiveness.
The first task was complete – the company’s values were defined. However, it turns out that the most difficult challenge is yet to come, namely – the implementation and maintenance of the company’s values in the company’s daily life. In various ways, we tried to pass them on and introduce them to employees on a daily basis, from writing values on the wall to reminders at the company’s quarterly meetings. Half a year after defining the company’s values, at the regular staff meeting, I took the stage and invited colleagues to name them. I was surprised because the answer was… silence. At that moment, I realized that something was wrong – either I had made a mistake, or maybe I had not finished doing something or another, or the company’s values were “completely missed”. And in this moment I experienced my ‘aha’ moment!
I understood that the company’s values may be alive and present only if they are brought to life on a daily basis with a reminder at every moment. It must be done in a modernly acceptable form, and the way in which values are brought to life must correspond to the values themselves. Thus, on our own, we created a tool to bring values to life in the company. Originally seemingly just written on paper, now every employee can see and recognize the values in their daily work. Any employee is given the opportunity to evaluate the performance of another colleague, indicating and highlighting one of the company’s values in their colleague’s work. It is precisely the company’s employees and their peers (Peero*) who help to keep the company’s values alive in everyday life.
Thus, we have made our company a living organization with living values. We did this by using elements of games, thus involving and motivating employees, maintaining a positive spirit of competition and encouraging positive feedback.
*English noun a peer – a person who is of equal standing with another in a group