– I'd been told our orientation experience was less than stellar.
– I'm a firm believer in changing roles with employees and experiencing exactly what it's like to be a receptionist, account executive or, in this most recent example, a freshly-minted senior account executive.
– I believe in testing my organization's brand promise and finding out if what we say in our marketing messages does, in fact, reflect what we deliver in the real world.
I'm pleased to say my first-day orientation was quite enjoyable. Our human resources manager spent a full half-hour reviewing our benefits and explaining to my why I couldn't walk around the hallways wearing my iPod earphones (I'd shown up for work with my earphones in and Ziggy Marley wailing away. I was told that was a no-no).
My direct manager explained my roles and responsibilities on the three accounts to which I'd been assigned. And, my ‘buddy' walked me around our two floors and introduced me to scores and scores of Peppercommers. Ah, but that's when I hit a snag. As we strolled around, my buddy pointed out our conference rooms. “That's fourth floor large. That's fourth floor small. This is the living room and, upstairs, we have the fifth floor large and small conferences rooms,” he said.
My buddy's words stopped me in my tracks. Staying in character, I asked him a question: “Why would a creative agency not have creative names for the conference rooms?” My buddy shrugged his shoulders, and my tour continued.
Guess what? We're now holding a firm-wide competition to name our five conference rooms. We've already had some sketchy suggestions, though:
– Manhattan's five boroughs. Ugh. Would you attend a brainstorm in the Staten Island Room? Maybe if we were pitching the Waste Management account, but that's about it.
– Five different cuts of meat (i.e. lamb, pork, etc.). Something tells me our vegans would never set foot in the roast loin room.
– Iconic authors and actors (that would work if we were an entertainment firm).
– Dead and dying white male journalists (Hello! Has anyone heard of diversity in the workplace?).
– Famous landmarks in London, San Francisco and New York (We do have offices in each city but, c'mon people, these names are for our Manhattan workplace! Explain why the Alcatraz Room makes sense? That said, the latter would be an ideal moniker for Ed's office.)
Happily, I have no say in the final decision. But, I am glad we're making the change.
I believe every single aspect of the workplace reflects on the overall brand promise. That's one of the reasons I waxed poetic about Zappos in yesterday's blog. Their office environment truly embodies the brand promise of 'delivering happiness'.
I think each and every one of you should check out your organization's brand promise (i.e. 'We understand the power of people' or 'Starting conversations since 1948. Influencing them since 1980'). See if your office experience is aligned with the words. I'll bet it isn't (and, btw, that's your opportunity to shine with management. Suggest workplace changes that WOULD make the promise ring true).
Conference room names may seem trivial to you, but I think they're part of the holistic way in which every communicator should be thinking nowadays. Who cares what the brand promises? It's what the brand delivers that matters most.