Hi. My name is Joe Heddy, and I’m a sales executive here at Four Winds Interactive. I specialize in digital signage for corporate offices and manufacturing facilities. It turns out, we have a lot of solutions for the challenges those businesses face. But today, I’m only going to focus on one of those challenges: improving company culture.
As far as the sales floor is concerned, I stick out like a sore thumb. The only thing louder than my clothing choices is my voice! It just kind of carries. It would be hard for me to hide even if I wanted to—which I don’t. That said, there are a lot of great people that I work with that are far more interesting than I could ever pretend to be. But with all the time in the saddle we have together chasing our individual goals, I would never know, normally.
The fact of the matter is, especially with more Millennials and Gen-Z folks coming into the workplace, getting lost in the crowd is easy to do. Our young, digitally native coworkers are used to sharing on Facebook and Instagram, but when it comes to being vocal in the office, headphones and Spotify are more common than not.
In comes digital signage. I’m lucky. Four Winds Interactive’s office has 300+ screens that show everything from KPI sales metrics from Salesforce (which tell me I should be on the phone rather than writing this blog entry!) to upcoming events, recent birthdays, work anniversaries and more, all designed to inform us of business information and reinforce company culture. On top of those types of applications, we also have the ability to showcase things about ourselves—things that most people wouldn’t know about us. By embracing the fact that people have lives outside of the office, then using our software to showcase the types of information our employees want to share, we end up driving social collisions. And those are the bedrock of company culture.
I’ll start with me, not only because I am very fond of myself, but because I can also talk about the subject with a certain degree of expertise. I have a scruffy German Wirehaire pup named Murph. Him and I have shared many a cold morning chasing pheasants through snow covered fields, which is definitely outside the norm in our office. And it’s not usually something that comes up during a typical conversation. However, one of the things we show on our signs is an application called the Pet App. It runs at the top of every hour for five minutes, showing pictures of pets on some of our office screens, with the caption “My person is” then shows a picture of the proud FWI pet owner. I recently saw that one of our Senior UX Designers had a picture of her dog Buckley displaying at the top of the hour. German Wirehairs are not a common breed, so imagine my surprise we I saw him up there. This led to us talking about our dogs and their goofy habits for a few minutes that day. The point of this story is that it got us both into a conversation with someone outside of our departments. Now when we run across each other, we smile and talk about something other than work, which leads to a tighter community. It never would’ve happened without that picture on the screen.
We have another guy in our office, Greg. He has pets…lots of pets. He has 9 dogs, 7 cats, 10 snakes, 8 birds, 4 spiders, 6 lizards, 2 rabbits, 2 chinchillas, a bunch of frogs and countless fish...oh and one poisonous centipede. I’m serious. We basically have our very own Jack Hannah, as he regularly brings them into the office for show and tell, of sorts. You can imagine when the snakes Rocket, Groot or Princess Buttercup, Ed the monitor lizard, or Cassius the scorpion come to work, some interesting conversations are had! He is also one of our FWI InstaStars. Almost daily, there is a funny Instagram pic of Greg with Walrus the cat, Peaches the tarantula or Bill Laimbeer the bulldog being pulled into our Social Media feed for all to see. Again, this is not a measurable ROI item that comes from digital signage. It does, however, get different groups of people together, having fun, driving the heck out of our culture.
Then there’s an app we have called Teach and Learn. This is yet another opportunity for any FWIer to share some interesting things about themselves. But even more than that, this app drives workplace collisions—and culture—by actively inviting others to share their knowledge with you. Here’s how it works: anyone that wants to participate submits three things they can teach their co-workers about, and three things they’d love to learn. Those then get populated on the screens. And—you guessed it—they drive interactions. We’ve had co-workers offer to “teach you how to Dougie” “teach you how to hula hoop” and “teach you how frame a picture.” It’s both memorable and meaningful, when your workplace actively helps you connect with your peers from across the company.
Chances are, you have a diverse workplace. And it’s no surprise, people love to see themselves on screens and be recognized by their peers. What company out there doesn’t want a happier, more engaged and connected workforce?
I’m pretty confident that if you’re looking to improve workplace engagement or company culture, we’ve got a solution for you. But don’t just take my word for it. Fill out this form so I (or someone on my team) can show you.