What is a culture report?For the uninitiated, we ask our team to list five words to describe our culture, highlight what they love about it, what should change, and what poses the greatest threat to it (spoiler: it’s not hugs). Then we sprinkle in a few questions about their health and goals and summarize the findings.
So why take the time to do this, you may ask?
While it’s fun to make a word cloud emphasizing how fun your team thinks your organization is (for the record, 13 team members thought so — that’s 6 more than the year before), we do this yearly because it serves as a marker in the sand.
So when summer is a distant memory and the beach is covered in snow, you can see where your organization’s culture was and where it could go.
This is especially important when culture is influenced by the values people hold and no amount of perks and pizza parties can change those. People have to already align with your company’s non-negotiable core values if you expect to keep them intact.
As a company grows, so does the potential for dilution and the need to gut-check. Culture surveys provide an excellent barometer of organizational health as team members old and new are encouraged to give their two cents and five or more words.
So on that note, we are proud to share our 2023 culture review.
Culture eats strategy for breakfast.
About our culture
What are people saying about what we got?
Here are the three main takeaways about our culture, straight from the source.
- It’s supportive – people feel encouraged to grow, take risks, and help each other professionally and personally in a warm, welcoming, and family-like environment.
- It’s authentic – people feel like they can be themselves, whether they’re feeling the highest of highs or experiencing the lowest of lows (thankfully, the latter is far less common).
- It’s inspiring – people appreciate Pixel Dreams’ commitment to excellence, continuous improvement and pushing people to be the best versions of themselves.
What makes PD unique?
While it would be easier to list out how we’re the same as other agencies (that list would be blank), we’re not ones to take the easy way out.
Here are the top three reasons out of many equally unique responses.
- Our gritty and innovative culture – we embrace challenges, promote innovation, and aren’t afraid to step out of our comfort zones.
- Our focus on accountability and values – we live and breathe our values and keep each other accountable. No exceptions.
- Our love of people and personal/professional growth – we genuinely care about our team and invest time in not only their lives but their goals, dreams and aspirations.
What would you change about PD?
At the end of the day, it’s about progress, not perfection.
Here are three overarching themes on how we can improve.
- Keep comms constructive – although it doesn’t help anyone to sugarcoat things, neither does brutal honesty or ALL CAPS. If there are learnings to be had or plans to pivot, keep the criticism constructive and the advice actionable.
- Encourage a balanced approach to grit – while it’s no surprise that we value grit and perseverance, sometimes it might unintentionally send the message that you have to go it alone. A few extra reminders that it’s ok to reach out to others may go a long way.
- Embrace a mix of leadership styles – a few team members suggested that a mix of leadership styles would be beneficial. A collaborative team-based approach to maximize creativity for complex asks and traditional top-down delegation for more straightforward tasks.
What are threats to PD?
With new opportunities come new challenges.
Here’s what our team thought were the biggest three.
- Ineffective hiring choices – between hires that don’t buy into our values and rapid scaling without the proper checks and balances to assess and correct performance, finding the right people at the right time was a big topic on a lot of our team’s mind.
- Cultural dilution – as PD expands, our team believes there’s the potential that we could lose our organizational uniqueness and identity between our core values being compromised, the rise of interpersonal conflicts and cultural dilution.
- Suboptimal management decisions/behaviours – between rapid adoptions of new processes without adequate lead time to avoid confusion, leaders not leading by example, and concerns of micromanagement eroding employee trust and discouraging candid conversations, the team expressed the potential for management-influenced decisions posing a threat if not handled with care.
Health & Growth
In addition to soliciting the team’s opinions on the current state of PD, we asked them to reflect upon their own personal and professional goals and how the company has helped them support them.
Here’s what they had to say.
Overall, the team thought PD did a great job supporting their mental and physical health needs. Some expressed the desire for more ergonomic workspaces (spoilers: since the survey went out, we’ve gone ahead and implemented many changes to support this!) and more information on benefits.
Our team generally tends to grade themselves harder because they have very high standards for themselves, so generally, it’s very common to see lower self-evaluation scores. The lower scores generally stem from team members who express that they’ve not fully taken advantage of everything on offer.
How much do you feel PD supports you in your health and wellness goals?
How satisfied are you with your health and wellness goals over the last six months?
Personal & Professional Development
Our team scored themselves similarly when it came to their own personal & professional development.
The main sentiment expressed was that they loved to have more opportunities to connect with mentors and coaches and stretch themselves creatively.
How much do you feel PD supports you in your personal and professional development goals?
How satisfied are you with your personal and professional development achievements over the last six months?
In summary, both the opportunities and pitfalls associated with a growing team were the main focus of the 2023 culture review.
Given that 2023 was a year filled with explosive growth as our team, clientele, and even offices evolved and expanded, it made sense that the team’s priorities paralleled the very reason why we aim to do yearly culture surveys in the first place.
So with that in mind, here’s to striving for an even more prosperous 2024.
Until the next time…
One last thing.
Every year we ask our teammates to provide three words that best describe our culture. We take those words and create wordclouds. The following images were programmatically created based on frequency and theme.
Accountable x 4 | Wisdom x 3
Creative x 4
Gritty x 6 | Ambitious x 4
Unique x 3 | Weird x 2
Fun x 13
Excellent x 2
Teamwork x 4 | Family x 3
Fun x 13 | Gritty x 6