Seven years ago, the GeoEngineers marketing team sat around a conference room table planning a big website redesign. The question arose: Which of our employees should have bios on the new site?
I started doing quick calculations in my head. Three hundred or so staff, 12 offices spread around the country, photographers in different cities and field staff on project sites for long stretches of time. Featuring everyone seemed like a management nightmare for our small communications team. I also thought of the conversations I’d had with our company leaders, who felt we needed to keep our staff under wraps. “Other firms will poach our best people if they know who they are!” was the common refrain.
Someone at the table repeated the question: Who should we include? A few seconds passed, and one of my team simply said, “All of them, of course.” Knowing GeoEngineers’ culture, I couldn’t argue. It was the right decision.
The logistics of including everyone on the site challenged us almost immediately. The marketing team had to interview and write short bios for hundreds of people, coordinate schedules for photo sessions across multiple office and regions and maintain a database of this information to keep it all straight. And once we got all the profiles up on the site, we had to update them as new staff arrived and others left.
Despite the challenges, there has been no looking back. The decision, while a little scary at the time, turned out to be a powerful statement about the company’s culture. GeoEngineers is a place where collaboration, empathy and broad company ownership (more than half of our staff are shareholders) are highly valued. Countless new employees have reported that seeing all GeoEngineers staff on the site helped them make the decision to join the company.
Corporate culture is strange. It’s always evolving and can be influenced in many subtle ways. In the years since our decision, GeoEngineers’ commitment to people-focused culture has only deepened. Making the leap to include everyone reinforced and validated attitudes that already existed. It differentiated us in a crowded market and became a sort of feedback loop, priming employees to expect a certain type of environment while also encouraging them to make it reality.
That decision many years ago to tell everyone’s story was, in retrospect, one of the best we’ve ever made.