To do that, we set out on a culture journey to reexamine (and find new ways to strengthen) what’s been at our core all along: an environment that feels collaborative and unified.
Our culture journey focused on three areas.
1. Culture at all levels
For a culture to feel unified, it has to inspire—and be accepted by—employees throughout the company, from top to bottom at all office locations. We started by earning belief and buy-in from the very top. We made sure our leaders saw this culture journey not as a project or initiative with an end-date, but as a long-term commitment.
From there, a deep belief in our culture—in what it should be and how much it matters—spread downward and throughout, in a way that remained strategic and felt authentic.
2. “Unfreezing” our employees
Getting our employees engaged started with “unfreezing” them—pushing them beyond their comfort zones by getting them to ask questions, feed their own curiosity and see things differently.
To that end, we held unfreezing sessions at 60 offices. This engaging series of large-group exercises led to new ideas, new ways of thinking, and employees feeling eager to contribute and collaborate.
3. Redesigning the recruiting process
Being “disruptive” wasn’t always an appealing quality in a candidate; now it’s the first thing we look for. At Grant Thornton, we hire creative thinkers, those who are determined address problems in new ways and propose different solutions. In short, we hire industry disrupters.
We also make them mobile and accessible, anywhere they’re needed in the Grant Thornton network, regardless of how far away the client, team or office. This helps make our culture company-wide.
Where has this journey taken us? It’s helped us reach all-time-high levels of retention and engagement, as well as high net promoter scores. It’s empowered us to deliver new levels of service to clients (who say things like “Talk to Grant Thornton, they really are different”) and help them achieve staggering levels of success.
Finally, the journey has solidified a company culture that’s clearly defined and known throughout the industry—for being curious and creative, collaborative and agile. We’ve changed what it means to be, as our CEO Mike McGuire calls it, “a Grant Thorntonite.”