It started with a bad Glassdoor review... | Climax Media

It started with a bad Glassdoor review…

The journey that one bad review sent us on, and what we discovered along the way.

It started with a Glassdoor review. A really bad one. We try to take Glassdoor reviews with a grain of salt. Unfortunately, it’s human nature to write a review when you’re upset, not when you’re happy. There was something about this review that stayed with us. We couldn’t just look at it as a grain of salt. It was staring us right in the face and we knew we had to do something about it.

The Survey

The anonymous reviewer had left the company quite a while ago. Although they didn’t work with us anymore, we had to ask ourselves, “Do our current employees feel the same way?” If the answer was yes, we had a big problem on our hands. We needed to dig deeper and look under the bed. We were a little afraid of what we would find. We were hoping for some big dust bunnies, but prepared for a hairy monster.

We sent out a simple anonymous survey to the entire company with three questions. “What do you think Climax Media does really well?” “What do you think Climax Media needs to work on?” and “Do you have any feedback for management?”

The data we got from this survey was gold. It gave us data and insight into what our employees honestly thought of working here. There was some positive feedback, which made us feel better about that looming glassdoor review. More importantly, there were multiple areas of improvement that we could clearly see.

So, did we find a dust bunny or a monster? We’d say it was a very large dust bunny, but nothing we couldn’t handle.

The Consultant

Bring in Beth Corcoran. We decided to work with a consultant to tackle some of these issues. Bringing someone in from the outside gave us a fresh perspective and opened our eyes to new opportunities for growth. Beth put together a program called “Your Ideas Matter”. This was a people-focused initiative where the idea was to gather qualitative feedback from all employees. Each focus group had 6-8 participants who met with Beth for two hours. The focus group methodology was selected because it would help us to discover a range of items that matter to employees with different perspectives. It provided a setting that was friendly, respectful, and confidential.

The Findings

A variety of topics and themes emerged from the focus groups. Employees discussed topics such as workload, office environment, management, compensation, training, clients, communication, recognition, and events. It was important for us to understand what we were doing well, so that we could continue to invest our time and resources in those items. It was more important to understand what needed fixing.

What people love about working here:

  1. The people

  2. The type of work

  3. Compensation

  4. Flexibility and autonomy

What we need to work on:

  1. Communication: This includes people changes, organizational updates, and tools used.

  2. Work and workload: This includes volume of work, planning, estimating, pace, and structure.

The Plan

We knew that gathering information was the easy part. It was now execution time – we needed to deliver. We quickly acted on two items that were easy to address. We said goodbye to our yearly “Town Hall” and instead introduced “Campfires.” A Campfire is a monthly get together where general updates are shared. Topics include: people coming, people going, new projects, and general company updates. Campfire’s allow us to address a communication gap and bring the team together in a casual and open environment.

Listening to everyone’s feedback, we swiftly built a new boardroom, as there was a lot of feedback regarding quiet work space. Along with the boardroom we added two working pods for collaboration.

Beth introduced 7 initiatives to be implemented by Q1. Posting your goals publicly holds you to them, it lights a fire under your seat. So, here are our goals:

  1. Work Hard, Play Harder Program: Educate employees on company values and implement a program to reward behaviours that align with those values.

  2. Re-examine organization values: Recommit to existing values and work to develop appropriate values and Code of Conduct.

  3. Update policies and provide guidance on how to work effectively at Climax: Create guidelines for communication and project planning.

  4. Examine new employee onboarding to ensure effective socialization: Implement and roll-out a new employee buddy program.

  5. Finalize values: Share them and link them to observable, behavioural anchors. Build this into our performance management program.

  6. Develop a learning and development plan: Address skill gaps in core competencies.

  7. Examine all roles and organizational design: Identify gaps in terms of career streams and levels required to best serve our clients.

Closing the door

We had a bit of a Michael Jackson “Man in the Mirror” moment. It’s tough to take an honest look at yourself. We are grateful for the bad review because it led us down a path we wouldn’t have taken otherwise. A path that will make us and our work better.