Innovation: Taking Organizational Culture to the Next Level
April 17, 2018
Guibert Englebienne (Globant co-founder and CTO) and Sanja Licina, Ph.D. (Globant’s Future of Organizations Leader) told the innovation story about how StarMeUp OS was born to the marketing and culture expert Hilton Barbour.
Are you looking for inspiration for how to ignite culture in your company? Then keep reading!
Hilton Barbour: I love the idea of Cultures that are like an amniotic fluid nurturing employees, but how does that happen within Globant? What are these experiments and what have you learned?
Guibert Englebienne: Early on we realized the futile idea of putting “company values” posters around our buildings and calling that our Culture. We also were watching an explosive growth in the number of Globant employees and offices and seeing, first hand, what happens when you grow from 100 to 1000. Initially, you know everyone’s name, hobbies, wives and favorite football teams but then you’re getting in an elevator and you know one person in ten. That startup connection, camaraderie, and intimacy get lost quickly.
We wanted to see if we could build something that kept that connection alive but, because we’re data geeks too, could give us meaningful information on our people and our culture. So we built a holistic organizational system that we recently launched as the StarMeUp OS.
They began as a number of applications to address elements like social reputation, social recognition, performance, and connectivity. (…) we wanted Culture tools to be inherently mobile so we could leverage all the great things mobile tech has brought us. Accessibility, ubiquity because all our employees would have it, instantaneous reaction and participation. All those classic “micro-moments”. But the results we saw internally – and what we’ve subsequently learned – were remarkable.
We immediately saw that we could map the levels of integration and collaboration between teams, projects and even individuals across all our offices. How well a new office was integrating with existing offices. It helped us identify people (culture carriers?) who were the unsung and invisible heroes who connected teams and drove integration of projects.
It was fascinating. In fact, it was so helpful identifying connectors who helped us know the perfect team to assist one of our new offices who was struggling to integrate with their regional partners. Without the data, I can guarantee we would, like most other companies, have sent people based on their job titles. These applications helped us send people with the right skills, not just the right job titles, to get it done right.
“We’re helping our clients build the stamina and the energy to fight the strongest (business) challenge they’ve ever faced which is digitally transforming their business. Our job is to help them get ready for that. To build their strength, their flexibility, their mental attitude. We’re just doing it to their company”
HB: That’s an incredible example, particularly because many organizations realize that the real source of smarts in their buildings aren’t always the most senior, most tenured. But identifying these “hidden” assets is incredibly hard.
Sanja Licina: Yes, that’s why we were focused on trying to build systems (…) which could provide immediacy because we knew immediacy often has the most impact with people. Be it recognition, or participation, immediacy is critical. The mobile technology was the mechanism but it had to be about creating more humanity in how our people worked together.
Ultimately, without humanity, we believe organizations of the future will fail. We see participation building intrapreneurship and that builds competitiveness. That’s what organizations are desperately looking for.
HB: That level of immediacy and transparency sounds fantastic but doesn’t that require a rather unique organization? An organization – or set of leaders – that aren’t intimidated or worried by that openness.
GE: You’re probably right but we think that kind of openness is the only way organizations of the future are going to have to think and act. Hierarchies may have worked in the last century but they’re arcane and outdated for how people want to work today – and how organizations need to structure themselves.
That means leadership that doesn’t rely on shouting orders to junior people but leaders who see their responsibility as one of creating conditions for success. Conditions where teams can self-organize and where employees are employed around finding solutions rather than being allocated according to rigid hierarchies.
And where those conditions are generating droves of data so the organization can observe, can learn and can adapt. That’s the only way anyone can hope to be successful. If they’re unable to be fluid, then they’ll lose to the competitor who is.
Now it’s your turn. Do you have an interesting story to share about how you’re leveraging technology to transform culture in your organization? Let us know in the comments!