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Building a Strong Culture is a Conscious Decision

—September 27, 2016
Building a Strong Culture is a Conscious Decision

Culture isn’t accidental. It takes a conscious commitment from leadership across the company to decide what they want the company experience to be and deliberate action to drive it into all aspects of the business—including the employee and customer experience. At Mitchell, our culture is closely tied to our brand promise of better outcomes, brand beliefs and behaviors, something we collectively call The Mitchell Way.

An Inside Out Approach

Mitchell has taken an inside out approach to culture, with the expectation that it will have a direct, positive impact on business—a philosophy that many companies are also embracing. By clearly defining culture and encouraging employees to rally around shared values, companies gain consistency in how employees speak, act and make decisions. From there, the culture works its way outward, informing how products are developed, services are delivered, and what customer touch points look and feel like. For companies with strong, positive cultures, an inside out approach can be an essential tool for strengthening customer relationships.

Culture Begins During Recruitment

At Mitchell, driving our culture deep into the company begins with the recruitment process. At each touch point in the interview process, from the first phone screen to the interview with the hiring manager, every prospective Mitchell employee is asked how their values align with the Mitchell Way. Throughout debrief discussions, the interview team is asked to share the candidate feedback they received regarding it. This exercise underscores how important personal connections are at Mitchell, and sets the stage for new employees in terms of our expectations about how they interact with each other and with our clients. Successful adoption is ensured through a buddy system pairing new employees with existing employees who understand the culture and can guide them as they navigate new situations.

A Daily Practice Driven by Empowered Employees

For culture to flourish, it must become a daily practice at all levels, for every employee. To do this, companies must provide opportunities for employees to own and invest in it. At Mitchell, we have a number of ways we reinforce culture, and communication plays a key role. First, we have an active internal social media channel where employees all across the company publically recognize team and individual contributions and share subject matter expertise. Anyone can post, like, share or comment, and our executives are as active as the balance of our staff.

We take things a step further on our internal news site. Volunteer ‘content ambassadors’ from across the company are able to share stories on the site that demonstrate the Mitchell Way. Content ambassadors primarily work independently, with limited oversight. Not only are they responsible for creating, proofing and fact-checking their own work, they are entrusted with interpreting The Mitchell Way when curating and submitting stories. Through this activity, we’ve been pleased to see the commitment to quality and pride of ownership our content ambassadors have demonstrated as culture and brand stewards.

Another way we drive culture into our business is through our annual career development program, Career Tracks. Employee volunteers from across the company organize a full week of sessions that allow all employees to gain and share the expertise needed to grow in their careers. Ultimately, employees come away with a better understanding of how their contributions impact company strategy, how Mitchell fits into the overarching industries we serve and how we bring value to our clients.

These programs are just the start. Mitchell has a robust portfolio of initiatives focused on giving back to the community, living healthy lifestyles, and sharing subject matter expertise externally. Our in-house experts even guide companies from unrelated industries in the adoption of Agile processes! While we provide corporate oversight for these programs, it’s ultimately our employees who own them and make them thrive.

Driving Employee and Client Value

At its core, driving culture is an exercise in empowerment. When employees understand and believe in the culture, they are able to demonstrate it through their words, actions and choices. And that results in greater trust and autonomy. Equally important, employees who have opportunities to both embrace and own culture are empowered to drive that culture into the products they develop, the services they offer and their daily client interactions. By focusing on culture, we are able to provide better outcomes to everyone—company, employees and customers.

Culture is an important, foundational element of corporate strategy. And building a strong one really comes down to this—being deliberate in defining the culture and supporting programs that empower employees to own that culture. I’m proud to be a part of the culture we’ve built at Mitchell, and I’m honored to be entrusted as a steward of such a valuable resource.


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