What most people don’t understand about maintaining a good company culture is that there’s actually a lot of hard work that goes into it. Like any other process that your organization uses to thrive and grow, it needs to be tended to, like a garden... At least that’s how it should be. Instead, many companies treat their company culture like those little animal sponges. You know the ones; They only cost a few dollars, they were shaped like pills, and you’d put them in warm water, and once they soaked for long enough, they expanded into fun little animal shapes. This is apt for those companies, because once the sponges appeared, they were essentially useless. They were too small to be used to clean anything, and the novelty of watching them open like the buds of a flower was gone after only a few minutes. The people that work here are miserable. This calls for a pizza party! It can feel good in the moment, but it’s ultimately empty.

We here at SalesLabX knew we didn’t want our commitment to diversity and inclusion, the community, and to our team members to be hollow gestures devoid of actual action or accountability, so we created a committee dedicated to making sure voices were heard, causes we cared about were supported, and that we learned everything we could about the things that mattered to one another.

We Call it “RISE”

RISE doesn’t stand for anything (we just like writing the name in all caps), but at the same time, RISE stands for everything. It represents everything that’s important to us as a team, and the changes we want to see within ourselves and our community.

To RISE is to:

  • Rise to challenges
  • Rise for personal and professional growth
  • Rise against injustice
  • Rise together as an organization
  • Rise to support the community
  • Rise towards diversity, equality, and inclusion

Why Do We Do It?

We’ve all worked places where our voices weren’t heard. Places where we were a number in a spreadsheet somewhere, and a commitment to diversity meant a few POCs and a single person in a wheelchair in the promotional materials.

We were creative, driven human beings with thousands of ideas and insights that could have been leveraged to make the place we worked and the world around us better. We went into these jobs thinking things would be different, but in the end, we were always largely ignored.

SalesLabX didn’t do that. Instead, our organization heard what we were saying, and said, “Your passion inspires. We need thinkers like you impacting the world. How can we support that?” and with that, our in-house action committee was born.

How Does It Work?

RISE meets twice a week; once to discuss community action, and once to discuss internal events and learning opportunities. Anyone in the organization can join, and jump into any of the meetings at any time, and everyone gets the chance to talk and suggest any action items they may have been mulling over.

When we have the meeting about internal events, we discuss bringing in speakers from the community, having meetups run by our own teammates where they teach us more about their identities or cultures, and figure out more general events where we can enjoy each other’s company. It might not sound like much, but in doing this, we’ve created an atmosphere that accepts everyone, and makes them feel cherished and taken care of. Everyone gets to feel heard. These events are all suggested from people in every part of the organization.

The other meeting we have involves community outreach, and how we can use our resources to help strengthen the causes we hold the most dear. We’ve donated $10,000 to Planned Parenthood because it meant a lot to multiple people on the team. We’ve also made donations to local LGBTQIA+ and Latinx organizations in our community. Even now, we have a program where, every Friday in January and February, we’re donating lunch to a local healthcare facility, testing site, or hospital. We’re doing that because one of our teammates sat in a 5+ hour long, no-appointment, drive-up COVID testing site, and noticed how hard they were working without breaks. That was all RISE needed to hear.

Where It All Leads

Even now, you may be reading this and wondering where it all leads. What’s the end goal? What does it do for the organization? We’re here to tell you that there is no end goal. Commitment to your team and their interests and passions doesn’t end.

It’s something you need to be consistently focused on if you want to keep the talented individuals you have. These are the people working their tails off every day, and they care about those around them and the communities they belong to. To only accept the part of them that does what you ask of them, is to not accept all of them. It’s a mistake many organizations make, but it doesn’t have to be one we carry on into the future. When we band together and use our resources to create the change we want to see in the world, everyone’s role at the organization is made more meaningful and fulfilling, and that benefits everyone!

It’s not about what our team members owe us. People think that if you’re working for an organization, you don’t necessarily deserve a say in what that organization does with the resources it has, but that isn’t the case. You need to be investing in your team just as much as they’re investing in you, and that means listening to who they are, hearing what it is they care about, and putting the organization in a position to act on these things. We can learn a lot from one another if we simply devote the time to listen.

We here at SalesLabX feel that something like the RISE program should be present in every organization the world over. Forget the pizza party, and let the empty gestures fall by the wayside. That may have been enough at one point, but not anymore. Because it’s not about what your team owes you, or what you owe you team. It’s about what we owe to each other, and the power created when we all come together to pursue our shared vision.

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