Creating a unified, motivated team is a vital part of survival and long-term growth

The leadership of Culture Foundry Consultancy says teams can’t perform unless they pitch up.

Consumer insights rely on a deep understanding of what moves and motivates people. But, as global consumer insights company Culture Foundry Co found out, first codifying your own purpose and values must take precedence in order to lay the foundations for any kind of expansion.

The leadership of Culture Foundry Co explains how working with global partnership of growth strategists, Within People, helped them create unified, motivated teams that are a vital part of their survival and long-term growth.

Teams can’t perform unless they pitch up
The Culture Foundry Co was born in the first lockdown in 2020, when uncertainty and fear were at their highest. The two co-founders explain that they knew they needed help to equip their teams with everything they needed in order to pitch up and perform.

“From the outset we wanted to be people focused. In order to do that, particularly during lockdown, we needed to give our amazing people a reason and a purpose to get up every day. We knew we needed to make sure that our teams were waking up and going to work for more than just a salary. We wanted everyone to be clear about the impact we make,” explains Bradley Shrimpton, director of operations at The Culture Foundry Co.

After attending a few of Within People’s workshops, the Culture Foundry leadership knew they had found the right partner to help them achieve this.

“A lot of companies try to intellectualise what they do and hope to breed the feeling of purpose on the back of that. We had the opposite. We knew what we did and certainly had the feeling of purpose, but we just couldn’t quite articulate it. That was the amazing thing that Within People was able to do. They were able to take something intangible and help us put it down on paper,” adds Dali Tembo, CEO at the Culture Foundry Co.

Extending the process to the larger ecosystem
Before the workshops kicked off, Within People had one-on-one interactions with Culture Foundry’s clients, finding out exactly what it was that made them their partner of choice. Sharing the results gave the team an in-depth insight into their strengths and weaknesses from the clearer perspective of an outsider.

“This part of the process was really powerful. The clients were actually very grateful for the opportunity and we have even worked this into our new client engagement process where we ask clients to evaluate our partnership.This allows us to build a far more collaborative relationship with them which translates into better business outcomes,” says Bradley.

Seeing results across the business
The disparate nature of the Culture Foundry Co’s workforce, spanning a big part of Africa, is already a challenge, but starting up in a global pandemic where shutdowns were widespread and travel all but impossible made building cohesive teams a herculean task.

“Since we completed our workshops we’ve had a hundred percent retention of staff, which is groundbreaking. It’s also been a lot easier to onboard external resources. They can quickly understand what our purpose and values are and are even able to share them with other part-time staff,” adds Bradley.

Going forward the leaders at Culture Foundry Co say they will be looking to Within People to help them fully define their hybrid work model as they transition back from a fully remote working environment as well as how to create high performing teams in the new mode. In addition, they will also be implementing a new staff review process which will map performance to the agreed company values.

Interestingly the company will also be taking their clients through a review process, to ensure that the business is optimally geared for sustained growth.

“Covid-19 has forced many businesses to take on projects that they may not ordinarily have done. With a clear understanding of our purpose and values we can clearly see where the connections are that lead to great delivery and where poor synergies leave us and our teams depleted,” Dali says.

Pulling in the same direction, freeing up leadership time
A true testament to how well the Within People work landed with the Culture Foundry can be seen in shifts within the team.

“The team speaks about the work we have done all the time. They are initiating purpose and value check-ins before Dali or I can. Because everything was co-created with the whole team, they embody it. They live it. It’s been a revelation for me,” admits Bradley.

“More than just a generational issue, the culture in South Africa is not one of speaking up in meetings. The platforms that Within People helped us build have created safe spaces for everyone to be heard and even the youngest team members are making use of this. Speaking openly about mental health issues has also allowed us to make changes and we have seen a marked improvement over the last few months,” Dali adds.

The Culture Foundry Co has set itself some ambitious growth goals including securing more international clients. Fortunately, the work done with Within People means the now purpose-led and values-driven organisation is perfectly positioned to confidently handle the pressures and challenges that come with global expansion and growth.