A recent email from friend and colleague, Brett Hurt, CEO of Bazaarvoice, to his team prompted me to stop and think about the importance of Human Capital in a world that can focus on the mechanics of business.
When a company experiences tremendous growth and success, the core values it began with often get watered down (see The Top 12 Warning Signs of Success No. 4). Culture is a priority for Brett and Bazaarvoice (which recently had a successful IPO) as it should be for every organization.
Read his email below to his team and please let me know your thoughts in the Comments box.
As our company gets bigger and more “successful”, it is easy to forget how we got here. And it is especially easy to start thinking that we are turning nobs and dials of one big corporate machine. We have to fight this habit, and it starts with the way we treat and talk about our people.
We are a company of equals.
We value difference.
We are people first, roles second.
Why did we craft this value two years ago? Because it represented the best of how we had evolved up until that point. And RESPECT is as important now as it was back then. Actually, it is even more important now that we are public. Our PERFORMANCE matters more than ever and that starts with all of our great people stepping up to perform like never before.
From here on out, I want all of you as our leaders to refer to our great people as exactly that – people. We are not headcount; we are not resources; we are not heads, bodies, belly-buttons, butts in seats, or any other body part; we are people – working here under our own free will and determined to change the world, one authentic conversation at a time. If you must adhere to corporate speak because of your past programming, then feel free to use the word employees at times. But I would prefer people to be top of mind in your Bazaarvoice corporate vocabulary.
And don’t ever forget – what retains great people most is respect of their peers (players who also live our values), their boss (players who set the leadership example and cultural tone – i.e., all of YOU), and the company’s mission and performance.
Now that we are public, we must commit to our values like never before. I need your help in that recommitment, and while language may seem too stylistic, it matters. There have been many words used throughout history to refer to people that no one viewed as “malicious” at the time because of the cultural norms of the day, but they really mattered, and as we look back now with hindsight, we are shocked they were ever used – perhaps you yourself have been the target of these words. The golden rule is to treat people, regardless of their differences, as you yourself would want to be treated. http://www.bazaarvoice.com/jobs/culture
COMMENT: Let me know if you agree with Brett or not. What did this stir in you?