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BirdBrain has always strived to build the right kind of company culture, both in terms of how we collaborate as a team and how we approach our clients. For us, it’s always gone above and beyond creating an environment where people feel appreciated and respected. We aim to express our core values in everything we do, and it’s these values that tend to differentiate us from other digital marketing agencies.
It all starts with having the right people. At BirdBrain, we hire ordinary people with extraordinary skills. Genuine people who can empathise with others, communicate well and operate with full transparency. Our people possess technical expertise and a depth of knowledge in their area of specialisation, yet still have the humility to acknowledge their own mistakes and imperfections.
While having the right people is crucial, this is only the beginning. Company culture is a living, breathing thing that needs to be constantly nurtured and cultivated to ensure everyone is in alignment as a business grows. Throughout 2019, BirdBrain will be focussed on reinforcing our existing culture by fostering the principles of Holacracy.
What is Holacracy?
Holacracy is an approach to organisational hierarchy that removes the concept of hierarchy all together. It promotes flat company structures that move away from the traditional management system, where each individual answers to a supervisor, who in turn reports to another supervisor, and so on. Hierarchical structures can bottleneck productivity and promote oppressive working environments, whereas Holacracy encourages self-management, where responsibility is favoured over control.
Iconic game development company Valve has earned a reputation for promoting a workplace culture that’s embedded in Holacracy. In a 56-page employee induction handbook, Valve refers to its office as ‘flatland’, explaining that ‘this company is yours to steer’.
How can Holacracy impact culture?
Holacracy is all about empowerment. Instead of operating like a cog in a machine, people are able to make a meaningful contribution to their workplace and care more deeply about the work they do. By encouraging autonomy, people have the freedom to decide how to best spend their time and energy, rather than constantly being told what to do. Holacracy promotes trust and respect and allows people to find the most productive ways to go about their own work.
While there is less control in this approach, there is still structure. Holacracy is highly reliant on strong team communication and requires everyone in the business to understand the overall strategic direction of the organisation. When self-managing, people must always remain on track toward achieving specific business objectives and driving progress in line with this strategic direction.
Holacracy also reduces negative workplace politics and the power struggles that stem from having one person oversee another. Hierarchies create a breeding ground for conflict, where people are focussed on what others are doing, but with a flat structure, people become more focussed on their own development.
Benefits of Holacracy
As Holacracy requires all actions to be driven by purpose, it ensures that everyone within an organisation is working toward fulfilling specific objectives that will benefit the business. Holacracy creates a framework that enables people to offer up their skills and contribute where they think they can provide value, leading to increased job satisfaction and productivity. In turn, this can reduce staff turnover and allow a business to mine the talents of its existing team, as opposed to looking to costly external resources.
Holacracy also allows everyone the opportunity to offer suggestions on how to improve the business and its processes. As there is no one in charge of another person, everyone is able to speak up and be heard, widening the pool of ideas when it comes to finding the best ways to do business.
Holacracy & BirdBrain
At BirdBrain, our team has naturally progressed toward a flat structure, and in an unofficial sense, we have already implemented aspects of Holacracy. This year our focus will be on making more concrete change and ensuring there is a clear understanding around the future direction of BirdBrain.
As with all forms of business change, there are potential risks and challenges that may come about as a result of this cultural shift. Some people may not feel comfortable with the Holacracy model, preferring traditional structures and the opportunity to pursue career development in management positions.
It’s essential that we maintain clarity around responsibility and accountability to ensure our transition progresses as smoothly as possible. Overall, it will be a gradual change, with ups and downs, but in the end, we will have a well-developed company culture that promotes proactivity and productivity.
If this sounds like the type of digital marketing agency you’d like to partner with, contact BirdBrain today.