Lambert has always been known to have a “professional cool” culture – I mean, we have a regulation-size basketball hoop in our offices (Go Green!) for starters. And a popcorn machine, yoga on the rooftop and epic staff retreats…just to name a few. But in an ongoing effort to improve staff retention and recruit top talent, our leaders decided to form a staff-driven culture committee. We call ourselves The Culture Club (because most of us are too young to remember Boy George) – and have been hard at work making Lambert a place where top performers want to work, stay and grow.
Currently the Club is made up of eight staff members of varying levels from Grand Rapids and Detroit, our two main offices. Upon joining the Club, we all vowed to have our entire team’s best interests in mind, not just our own. We also made a pledge to be the positive voices in our offices and start finding solutions for areas of our culture that need improvement.
Our first task was to ask – not assume – what our teammates desire in a workplace.
We conducted in-depth interviews with each of our staff members, using the results from a previous survey to focus the discussion on areas in need of improvement. This included career pathing, management training, compensation and work-life balance. Based on the feedback we gathered, the Club developed three themes to focus on in the coming years:
- Performance & Recognition
- Communication & Transparency
- Empower, Enable & Equip
Since last June, we’ve implemented a few fun initiatives and so far, so good. Our new Dress for Your Day dress code is less about wearing jeans and more about empowering staff to make attire decisions that reflect their personal style, while maintaining an appropriate appearance for the professional interactions they will have each day. We also started providing healthy (chocolate counts) snacks based on staff feedback. While that might not seem like a big deal, it’s been fun polling the staff and buying food that they love and are excited to nibble on throughout the workday. Our goal with these simple solutions was to listen and react in a very direct way.
In addition, this year’s annual performance review cycle was a Culture Club focus. We realigned the timeline to better address and attain annual goals and progress in our Individual Development Plans. All managers were on the same page and had similar talking points so that all employees were reviewed in a fair and consistent way, regardless of a manager’s individual style. We also sent and analyzed a post-review survey to ensure that the process will continue to evolve in a way that best equips our people to move forward in their Lambert careers.
The first official year is coming to a close, and we’re looking forward to new initiatives over the next year, which will include more ‘pop-up’ surveys after major firm events and changes, a simple and direct rewards program, and formalizing a summer Flex Friday program.
We cannot take credit for all of these ideas – many were borrowed from other agencies and companies that we admire, and the rest stemmed from our colLEAgues. We’d love to hear your creative culture ideas and are happy to share more of our own – so please reach out!
Chelsea Dubey serves as the director of corporate development at Lambert. In this role she serves as a professional mom – making sure people have what they need to succeed and help the business grow.