Communication is the Key to Awesome Workplace Culture

By Brian Scudamore, founder and CEO of O2E Brands

At O2E Brands (the banner company to 1-800-GOT-JUNK?), communication is a cornerstone of our culture. Every day, we strive to create a space defined by transparency and respect, where employees feel comfortable taking risks and speaking up. I’m often asked about the tactics we use to create this kind of culture and maintain it as we grow – with over 400 employees, it can be a challenge to keep lines of communication open. To keep it simple, we focus on creating programs and routines that encourage and support communication at all levels of our organization. Here’s our secret sauce.

Meet Together Everyday

Every day at 10:53am, a bell rings in our office. Two minutes later, everyone gathers at Huddle, a seven-minute, stand-up meeting. We share good news, departmental updates, and key business metrics. During the “missing systems and opportunities” segment, employees can highlight challenges and crowd-source solutions. Huddle is an integral part of our communications strategy, and every member of the O2E Brands team is encouraged to leverage the support of their peers.

Sit Down One-On-One

We also have weekly Goal Setting & Review (GS&R) meetings. These check-ins give employees a chance to discuss the previous week’s results and the next week’s goals with their manager. Employees drive these 30-minute meetings and are encouraged to share new ideas, challenges, and opportunities. GS&Rs are our way of ensuring each person has the guidance and focus they need to achieve their goals.

Say WTF – Often

At O2E Brands, WTF stands for Willing to Fail – not the other thing. WTF is a fundamental part of our culture because it instills a spirit of risk-taking in our employees. Together, we understand that taking risks, accepting blame, and acknowledging failure – and then learning and growing from those experiences – is an integral part of our success. As a leader I’ve learned the importance of leading with vulnerability. It’s never fun to acknowledge failure, but saying “WTF” has created a company culture that champions creativity and innovation.

Talk About Your Dreams Together

We are big believers in supporting our team’s professional and personal goals. Work-life balance is important, and communicating that to our people is even more so. To facilitate this conversation, we have a 101 Life Goals program. Everyone lists the top 101 personal goals they’d like to accomplish on an interactive app. We help these goals come alive with sponsorship, moral support, or making the right connections. Sharing our personal goals with each other drives teamwork and friendship.

The secret to accomplishing great things as a team is to communicate – often. Find different ways to connect and have fun. Champion your employees and encourage them to speak up. Allow some risks and failures, and learn how to move forward. And build a culture to support it all.


Categories: Best Practices Coaching Company Culture Inspirational LEADERSHIP


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