Mindful Company Culture: Is it by Design or Default?

June 12, 2018

Article written by Neema Jyothiprakash, Product Marketing Manager 

Has anyone told you to meditate recently?

People rely on meditation for various reasons, one of which is to improve decision-making through focused intentionality. By pausing to observe, you’re in a better position to reflect and act thoughtfully. With regular practice, those observations turn into principles for how you live your life. This simple, yet elegant logic has parallels in organizational culture as well.

Companies frequently throw around “culture,”  as a value, but how can you tell if a company is intentional about its culture, where its culture is rooted in principles, and those principles guide all decisions, versus allowing them to develop organically? 

I recently sat down with Allison Hishmeh, a Senior Business Analyst at Bluewolf, to talk about tangible ways Bluewolf designs its culture. In our conversation, we spoke about how intentional Bluewolf is about its culture; similar to a meditation practice, Bluewolf sets aside time for its employees to reflect and be mindful about its values and team spirit and works to embed the results from those mindful sessions into day-to-day employee experiences. 

What is your role at Bluewolf?
I’m a Senior Business Analyst at Bluewolf. I support ongoing innovation for existing Salesforce customers through our Bluewolf Beyond™ service, helping drive employee and customer engagement and increase ROI from their investment. 

What’s unique about Bluewolf’s culture?
Part of why I love working at Bluewolf is our internal culture. Bluewolf encourages a culture of constructive feedback and all teams participate in “Wins, Learns, and Changes,” sessions every quarter, or at the end of projects, which are led by our management team. Bluewolf leaders take key findings from these sessions up the chain, so our executive team also has insight into all levels of the company. 

We also have “Feedback Friday,” which is a dedicated time in addition to a one-on-one with your manager. This allows us to check in on our career progress, develop SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) goals, and create an open space to talk candidly about performance. 

Where does Bluewolf’s culture come from?
I wondered the same thing when I first started here - is company culture is determined by default or by design. Does the loudest person in the room determine culture or does leadership intentionally design a culture from the top-down?

For me, design determines culture and it starts with people. Bluewolf’s leadership team plans for company growth by investing in its people first. The way we hire those who don’t fit the mold for example, is people-first. Our CEO advocates hiring from non-traditional backgrounds for technology roles because he believes we all have unique perspectives and talents to leverage, regardless of educational or professional background. 

Once you join The Pack, our leadership team focuses on creating a strong internal culture of collaboration, entrepreneurship, and innovation from the top-down. To facilitate internal collaboration and friendship for example, managers places Beyond team members in “Bluewolf hubs,” instead of in the field in our client’s offices. 

Another example is when Bluewolf leadership set aside time for all our regional offices globally to workshop a set of values for their office, and discuss how they fit into our corporate values. It was an effective way for each office to build trust and empathy amongst its colleagues. 

How do you design a culture and make it stick?
I think it is about aligning everyone on the team behind one vision - and then pursuing goals based on that vision. 

We have a set of core values, our rules and boundaries that define our culture and beliefs. Every month, during our all-hands meeting a value is chosen as the theme for the call. Employees tell stories about how they live out those values during engagements with clients or among our teams, and get a chance to highlight the work we’re doing, as well as inspire others to reflect on how they’re living up to the values we’re all responsible on carrying forth. 

We also have a gamified employee engagement platform in Salesforce, where we “badge”  organization-wide recognition to teammates when they exemplify our values. Our values have become catchphrases in a way. During a team meeting or talking each other through a tough project, we rely on the values as a way to drive focus, stay positive, and find innovative solutions for clients. 

If you’re looking for a company with an intentional culture at its core, apply to be part of the Pack, now!

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