Today we’re sharing the surprising story of how a ping-pong table, a series of free lunches and the use of a GoPro camera, kayak or paddleboard (take your pick) transformed one organization’s culture—from teetering on the rocks to soaring off the charts!
In 1996, Scott Evans founded Outreach, Inc. with an audacious vision to reach every person in America with a personal invitation to a Bible-believing church. Fast forward to Fall 2015: Outreach had remained true to its calling—but at a cost. Direct, honest and objective feedback from its employees, made possible by the BCWI Employee Engagement Survey, revealed an across-the-board need for:
- Better organizational communication at all levels,
- The clear assurance of being listened to by leadership, and
- More opportunities for personal growth.
Immediately humbled, Scott took these concerns to heart and admitted, “It was obvious we needed to do something, and that I needed to lead the way.”
What Scott then did turned into one of the most innovative, effective approaches to creating a flourishing culture we at BCWI have ever seen.
Scott’s personable, practical response took hold:
- Recommitment to listening well. Scott took it upon himself to meet with all 120 employees, from one-to-one conversations to effective listening groups. The goal: to better hear and understand where each employee is coming from and to reaffirm what each person brings to Outreach. Scott and COO Steve Foster spent time weekly connecting with people in different departments. Such ongoing, genuine interest has no downside.
- Fun on the rise. Says Scott, “We installed a ping-pong table and have been amazed at the fellowship and friendly competition it’s helped create. To take advantage of our great natural surroundings here in Colorado Springs, we created a simple approach for any employee to check out kayaks, bikes, you name it, all at no cost.”
- Hungry for relationships. Scott and others saw a natural opportunity for greater camaraderie with a series of new summer-time Free Food Fridays. These all-employee barbecue fests have begun a regular feature on the lunch menu every June, July and August.
- Bolstering better communication. Leadership added a new segment to the organization’s quarterly meetings called “Live the Culture,” offering stories and at-work highlights that help forge greater understanding and unity throughout departments. New flat screens keep all employees current and connected with news and information.
- Priceless personal growth. Outreach’s leadership said “Yes” to giving every employee $100 to donate to their charity of choice, one more creative example of the organization’s commitment to its people.
Over the course of one year, Outreach went from a near-toxic to a healthy, flourishing culture!
Carefully-crafted, practical solutions like these continue to pay dividends for Outreach, whose people and their deepening satisfaction at work are a big reason why the organization experienced a significant increase in reach, revenue and profit – which in turn means fulfillment of its mission to help Bible-believing churches welcome more people. Says Scott:
- “Teamwork and mutual trust are increasing throughout departments.
- A new culture page on our website is now enabling a better culture fit for new hires.
- A better-defined culture makes for decreased turnover.
- By and large, our people are happier. When your culture is strong, people enjoy coming to work. We’re seeing that happen virtually every day.”
When your culture is strong, people enjoy coming to work. This has paid dividends for our organization.
Join the conversation! Where does Scott’s story intersect with your own culture? What’s your story of how your culture is learning to flourish? Leave a comment below or tell us on Facebook.