Rule 1 of Culture : Follow through!!

Rule 1 of Culture : Follow through!!

I made a mistake last month which I’ve just corrected and it’s worth pointing this out publicly in case it saves someone else from doing it too.

We’ve always worked super-hard to be honest, open and transparent at Reward Gateway. I’m convinced it’s the foundation of employee engagement. Doing that is infinitely easier said than done because complete honesty means more than just telling the truth when asked, it means defaulting to being open and being highly selective about what you make private.

I’m convinced that honesty and transparency is the foundation of employee engagement 

All of our internal calendars default to being open access for everyone at RG to look at and see. I use my calendar extensively as you’d expect and I put everything in it – all my work meetings, time I reserve for thinking about something, vacation, flights, birthday reminders and even my daily trip to the gym and PT.

I’ve always thought out was important to be accountable to our staff about where I spend my time – anyone could have a look in my calendar at any time and see what I’m doing.

Well that was the theory

In practice, I had no idea if anyone ever did look in my calendar and see what I was doing. There isn’t a hit counter built into Google Calendar! So when I was trying to support my new EA Samantha in her quest to bring order to my mildly chaotic life, I (stupidly now I realize) changed my calendar visibility so that everyone could only see blocks of time and not what I was doing. I thought this might help create an environment where colleagues went to Samantha to discuss time in my diary rather than just nipping meetings in directly, which can cause occasional hiccups when Sam is trying to arrange something else. And I wasn’t sure if anyone ever did look at my calendar online anyway so it didn’t seem like a big deal.

But the effect and the impression was wrong.

Firstly I found out, pretty quickly, that people do look in my calendar to see what I’m doing and working on. And I found that my making my calendar private – well, that was seen as making it “secret”. And secrets are used too hide things. So pretty quickly people started worrying and talking : “What is Glenn up to? His calendar is “Secret”. Is everything Ok?”

So there you go – I fixed it at the weekend and my calendar is now open again to all at Reward Gateway. It was a great reminder to me, and clearly I needed one, that honesty and transparency gives comfort and confidence. Secrecy spreads fear and worry. And this was a mistake with an easy fix.

Written by 

Glenn is an employee engagement and tech entrepreneur. He founded Reward Gateway, the HR technology company in 2006 and continues to lead it as CEO today.

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