This past month, the issue of culture and how we both protect and develop it has been at the front of my mind. Why? As we face complex problems and opportunities, it's more important than ever that we support doing the right thing – and help motivate positive actions. As a leader within Sedgwick, I’m committed to it and I've seen how some simple actions with my own team have elicited creativity, motivation to do more and the overall satisfaction we absolutely require to be both a great "big" company and one that helps each customer feel like they are the only one we have.
Any of our blog readers – within Sedgwick or outside our company – can consider what's most important to building corporate culture. With over 10,000 colleagues who come from a variety of backgrounds, Sedgwick has a lot to work with. Creating a culture where we take care of those colleagues so they can do great things is really what it's all about.
I follow Cheryl Bachelder, CEO of Popeyes, closely. She writes about leadership in a way that's really common sense and absolutely is about how putting people first gets results. You can do ANYTHING if you have the best team – and to build that, you have to start with relationship 101 – people can't care if they don't know you also care. Spending time with and developing people is important to maintaining and improving great financial results.
Our culture is how we get things done. It's one of the important things that make us different and better. Here's how I share Sedgwick's culture when I talk to my own team:
- Core values: these are not just words on the wall – they are the litmus test of how we make decisions. At Sedgwick, we live by these.
- Camaraderie: work hard and be ready for anything, but relationships get things done. Here, we work hard and we play hard, too. This is important to our colleagues because we understand the need to develop the kind of relationships that build great teams and do great things for the company. Our culture encourages camaraderie.
- Constantly tell the story: it's important to tell the story of how Sedgwick became what it is today so our colleagues know they are a part of how we get somewhere even better! We go after everything we do in big ways – we've blazed trails in this industry people didn't think would ever exist. We all have our own stories – I know mine are epic! Encourage your team to create the future great stories.
- Celebrate: every day our colleagues have an opportunity to do amazing things for our clients. We find ways to celebrate that! Many stories of our colleagues' achievements were recently shared at our MVP recognition event and not only did the celebration encourage those receiving awards for excellence, but hearing their stories reenergizes all of our colleagues and helps us focus on what our jobs are all about – making a difference for clients and their employees.
- Courage: our culture is about knowing we have an obligation to speak up and do the right thing – that's not always easy!
- Commitment: at our best, we are all about commitment – to the customers' needs and improving their situations, to offering our colleagues a great work environment so they can be their best, and to doing whatever it takes to get the job done.
One last comment: when looking for the best example to show colleagues, look to your CEO. Article after book after study confirms that culture starts at the top. Senior leaders have an obligation to spend time improving the financial health of the company by not just perpetuating, but by totally committing to and living a healthy culture. Working in a company with this kind of example has let me and our colleagues do great things every day – because that's the expectation!
I know it can be done because I see it every day. As a professional woman in a large company, I personally know that showing people respect, encouraging their relationships and building a team that's proud of what they do will absolutely contribute to the company's long-term financial health – because we and those teams really can do anything.
So how about you? What ways do you work to build positive culture among your own team?
Kathryn Tazic, SVP, Client Services