Tobias Lutke, CEO of Shopify, recently released a company-wide memo to inform his employees that their company culture is like a team as opposed to a family.
That's an interesting way to motivate your people. I’m curious about how it made everyone feel and what could have prompted such a memo. Nevertheless...
I actually agree that a business cannot be run with the mentality that it's a family. This is because families are meant to be safe spaces; places where you receive support and give love.
A family isn’t necessarily best suited to provide the structure and motivation needed to fuel intellectual and personal growth. That's what a team is for. Think about it this way: When was the last time you gave a complex project to your partner/spouse/sibling/parent then provided successful, critical feedback when it didn't meet expectations? Probably never. I know I never have.
In a workplace, the employer is like the coach; it's the employer’s responsibility to create an environment that helps employees reach their full potential. At the same time, employers must treat their employees well. When there is a problem, it must be resolved amicably with an overarching goal of solving the problem at hand, not assigning blame. It's a two-way street; if an employer is kind, supportive, and focused on employee growth, it will show in the employee’s work.
I always tell everyone who works for CiteRight, "don't just be productive, do work you are proud of." Of course an employer wants their employees to be productive, but productivity isn't the end of the line. You’re being productive when you spend an entire day answering emails, but your employer or colleague isn’t going to be impressed by a clear inbox. What employers should really strive for, and what I demand of the CiteRight team, is for employees to do their work in a way that lets them take pride in the end result.
To illustrate this, I'll share a practice we’ve implemented at CiteRight that I have come to adore and look forward to. On a bi-weekly basis, we do a company-wide demo day. ANY employee can take a few minutes to present what they’ve been working on over the previous two weeks. I have personally enjoyed many of these demos; it’s so incredibly satisfying to hear the excitement our team expresses as they describe their projects. In my opinion, this is the epitome of employee satisfaction.
That’s a workplace culture I can be proud of.