Building up a corporate culture
One day after the conference I was asked, "How do you build up an effective corporate culture?" Obviously, it was a difficult question, and I had to leave for an important meeting. I replied in a hurry: "Strive for turquoise." I hardly think the guy was happy with such an answer, but actually, it's not a bad advice to get things going.

You've probably heard about the Turquoise (Teal) Organization concept, a “company of the future” that is similar to a living organism. Such enterprises are distinguished by comprehensive self-organization, integrity, and evolutionary goals.

Everything looks simple on paper, but, in fact, it is a difficult task to reach the "turquoise". There is no one-size-fits-all way, and a manager has only a set of principles that must also be adapted. And not all companies can make the leap due to internal incompetence or outside factors.

In my opinion, companies find the “turquoise” future valuable as the monetary motivation no longer offers enough incentive for employees. Workers tend to want interesting tasks, opportunities for development and a tight-knit team rather than a significant benefits package (this is taken for granted already). This freedom exists in a Teal organization, because employees are self-sufficient and governed by their inner setups. Since the top-down enforcement is out of the question, a higher level of involvement is ensured. Yet, for example, other companies find in “turquoise” organizational flexibility and speed of decision-making process or stimulate staff creativity.

A long time ago at Instformation we realized that “human” social media marketing can only happen in a Teal organization. My vision, as a CEO, and the vision of my partners and employees are 100% the same on this matter. So, we started moving toward the desired goal by trial and error.

So far, the following results have been achieved:
  • We have no traditional chain of command in the company. We use roles instead. The employee can choose what role to play in each project. For example, our worker might be a targetologist in one project and a copywriter in another one at the same time, if he has appropriate knowledge and skills. Projects are led by managers, but they are not permanent bosses, they just supervise the project team gathered for every new project. This is similar to Scrum Teams.

  • The majority of decisions are taken jointly. The company has a board that includes me and my co-founders along with project managers. It turns out that we take almost all the important decisions together. It's not always easy to find a middle ground, but we cope with it.

  • Each employee knows who is involved in what projects and what they earn. All data is open and logged in the table, and the salary depends on the amount of work. An employee can choose one project and earn less, or choose three projects and earn more.

  • All employees work entirely remotely, there are no strict requirements regarding times when they need to be in touch. But we must always respond promptly to the client, and the tasks must be done in time. Over the years, we've learned that not every worker can handle it. The remote work just makes things sharper. But now we have a team that can work effectively in a completely online environment.

  • We choose the best project every month. Cases that reached a certain KPI level are presented on a general corporate call. Employees listen, discuss, and ask questions. Then we vote for the best project, and the winner team gets a cash bonus.

  • We never fine people. I know that employees at many marketing agencies are punished harshly for every mistake. In the beginning we tried to do the same thing, but it turned out to be completely ineffective. Now we do not focus on pointing fingers, and instead try to analyze mistakes and draw conclusions to do better. We arrange project groups on problematic cases, discuss problems and solutions. Then we bring up the project for a general vote, and the team that comes up with the best solution gets bonuses.

  • Employees are a core value. We pay a lot of attention to team building and personal communication. For example, we have corporate parties, every year we play “Secret Santa,” record personal New Year's greetings. The company has its own Instagram account, where employees get to know each other, chat, joke, make appointments, and so on. And if you want to express yourself, we used to run a personal Instagram challenge. Want to learn? We update the base of corporate courses every month. This way, we make it clear that the company cares not only about competencies, but about people as well.
Everyone at our agency strives to build an atmosphere of trust, mutual assistance and freedom.

And despite the fact that Instformation is already a Teal organization in many ways - there's always room to grow, we never stop.

P.S. To be continued…
I'll be posting new tips on building a corporate culture along with insights and tips on marketing and social media.