For the next installment of our core values spotlight series, we’re focusing on our agency’s next foundational principle: valuing everyone’s authentic self. If you haven’t already, check out the first piece in the series, building trust through transparency.
Authentic is a term thrown around by a lot of companies. Brands ask employees to be authentic. Businesses tell customers they’re authentic. Yet several people are left wondering what the term actually means. At Statwax, instead of ordering people to be authentic, we take a different approach. When developing our agency values, we wanted this concept to be a part of the very foundation which our company is built. Rather than offering a vague adjective, we wanted our authenticity to be presented in a way that’s understandable and accessible to everyone in the workplace. We think the best way to represent this principle is to place the emphasis on valuing everyone’s authentic self.
Why is authenticity important to company culture?
Studies have shown when people feel they can be their authentic selves at work, it improves workplace satisfaction and employee performance. In fact, there’s a correlation between high-achieving teams and a company culture of sharing who employees really are. In a study among high-performing teams, 55 percent belong to a company with a culture where they can share who they are inside and outside the office.
People who bring their authentic selves to the office share a unique perspective that makes a team better. For companies that support and value employee authenticity, they reap the benefits of increased creativity, engagement, and business performance. It takes a lot of energy to not be yourself at work. That same energy could be channeled into things that create a sense of accomplishment.
How we value everyone’s authentic self
Being your authentic self looks different to everyone. Our goal as a company is to value everyone’s unique identity through support and recognition on the group and individual-level. We want to create a space, physically and psychologically, that’s safe for all to be their authentic self. For example, we:
Promote the discovery of individual values
Individual values are a basis for understanding and presenting your authentic self. However, it can be difficult for new employees who are afraid that the wrong comment could put them at a disadvantage from the start to be themselves. We aim to ease that fear through a discovery of their individual values borrowed from an exercise in Brene Brown’s book “Dare to Lead.” We also encourage each person to fill out a “values card” that they keep on their desk. This card features their two personal core values for anyone looking to interact with them at work. In doing this exercise, we’ve found it’s easier for people to be their authentic selves and value the authenticity of their teammates.
Completing and sharing DISC profiles
Many companies have new employees complete DISC profiles to better understand the type of work style that’s joining their team. We take this concept a step further. We look not only at work-style personality but also at each person’s natural style. Step one for a new employee is filling out their DISC profile. Afterward, they participate in a DISC lunch and learn to better understand their adopted and natural work styles, as well as the styles of fellow team members. Our hope is to help each person see how their unique perspective is valued, and encourage employees to continue being their authentic selves.
Regularly have no-judgment brainstorming sessions
We believe in having regular strategic brainstorms whether for our team’s professional development or our client’s digital advertising goals. The big ideas that come out of these meetings are what helps us stay ahead of the competition. It also aids the growth of our team members. Affectionately known as “blue skies,” these brainstorming sessions have no parameters with the exception of only one rule: no judgment. With blue sky brainstorms, the sky’s the limit as we’re able to value the authenticity of each employee and the myriad of ways they contribute to our organization.
Create a welcoming environment
Starting a new job or moving to a different role can be overwhelming for most. However, we aim to ease those transitions by nurturing a welcoming environment for all employees. To create a welcoming company culture, we have monthly happy hours with all our employees to get to know each other outside of work. We also don’t have a dress code in the Statwax offices. We encourage our team to dress in a manner that is comfortable and personal without being unprofessional.
How valuing everyone’s authenticity is incorporated into our work
We work with each of our clients to understand who they really are. This includes making sure we understand our partners’ communication preferences. In addition, it’s important we know what kind of information they want to see, and the roles and responsibilities of their team. But valuing everyone’s authentic self isn’t just about the work. It’s about awareness and respect of the person doing it and build relationships with them. By combining this personal and professional knowledge, we’re able to deliver a personal, humanized service experience that showcases the value we place on the client as a whole.