24 Nov Building a Great Workplace
In 2014, Incite was recognized by Alberta Venture as Alberta’s ‘Best Overall Workplace (Under 100 Employees)’. We are really proud of the culture, team and environment we have built at Incite over the last 20 years, and receiving this acknowledgement was certainly a special moment to honour that. It was also a great opportunity to reflect on what helped us win the award.
In looking at what makes Incite’s workplace special, there are the easily identified things like our social events (i.e. Incite Alumni Reunion), our focus on family (i.e. Bring Your Family to Work Day), and our commitment to community (i.e. Annual Volunteer Day). However, I believe it’s the not so easily seen operating principles and beliefs that truly drive us.
There are three key lessons we’ve learned that are critical to how we operate and are important reasons why Incite is a great place to work.
1. Leaders at All Levels
Everyone can lead. Leadership has very little to do with titles and roles, and a great deal to do with the empowerment, engagement, and commitment of each team member. We have embraced the philosophy of building leaders throughout our organization, and firmly believe that every member of our team can and should have the opportunity to provide leadership.
2. Coaching Approach to Learning
We have pursued a more non-directive approach to personal learning and development. The idea that leadership is not about providing answers, but rather asking better questions, has changed the way we operate and is fundamental to our belief in the potential of our people and our ability to help them realize that potential.
3. Accountability and Feedback
Finally, there is the idea that a great workplace is not simply one where people get along and have fun. A great workplace is defined more by people’s ability and willingness to provide honest feedback and hold each other accountable to the highest standards. While not always easy or comfortable, a true friend and ally tells you not what you want to hear, but what you need to hear.
We have seen that people’s job satisfaction is highest when they are learning and growing, and when they are contributing to impactful and significant work.
People don’t just want a pat on the back, they want an honest critique of their performance in a way that helps them get better. To build a culture that embraces delivering such feedback as part of its daily operations is not easy because the truth can be ugly sometimes. At Incite, this is still a work in progress, but we know it will only continue to make us better.
Images courtesy of Alberta Venture.