“taking the stairs two steps at a time”: creating a workplace vision

Here’s something you may not know: Content Copywriting doesn’t have any employees.

Well not yet anyway.

We’ll likely become incorporated as a company before the end of the financial year. And I’ll (Sarah Spence, as our Head of Strategy) become our first official employee.

Meanwhile, what we do have is an incredible trans-Tasman team of contractors. They’re all people who are experts in their field: copywriters, copy editors, social media managers, Graphic Designers, Website Developers, Virtual Assistants… the list goes on.

Together, they’re the reason Content Copywriting has so successful. Without them, we simply couldn’t produce the kinds of results that we do for our clients.  

BUT… having a geographically diverse team with a range of different skills presents a few unique challenges:

  • How do you light them up to do their best work on every project?
  • How do you position your business to be the one they’re excited to work with, especially when they’ve got a few different clients?
  • How do you cement their loyalty and commitment toward a shared goal?

    Workplace Vision: why it’s so important

    Different humans are all motivated by different things. Just a few motivators include:

    • Money
    • Helping others
    • Learning new skills
    • Being creative
    • Flexibility
    • A person or a leader
    • Topics or clients they like

    Our team members are no exception. And we’ve realised just how important having a shared workplace vision is to bring their varied motivations together to form a cohesive business and output.

    I’ve been reading Leading with Vision, by Bonnie Hagemann, Simon Vetter and John Maketa recently, and it’s really brought this message home for me. The book details how, “a compelling vision that motivates and inspires is key for organisations that want to hire and retain talent, be more competitive and thrive.”

    And, wow… that’s exactly what I want to achieve with Content Copywriting. I want it to be an organisation that: 

    talented individuals want to work with because it allows them to flex their motivational muscles while delivering exceptional outcomes for our clients.

    And to do that? I want our team to be excited enough to “take the stairs two-steps-at-a-time” as they start work each day.

    What do steps have to do with workplace motivation?

    Basically, the Leading with Vision authors say that a modern workplace needs to be somewhere that employees want to take the stairs two-at-a-time when they arrive at work. And that’s what Content Copywriting is working towards becoming.  

    Of course, for our digitally connected team, there’s no ‘coming into the office’, so there are no physical stairs to climb. Instead, we’re aiming to ensure that our contractors feel a thrill of anticipation whenever:

    • they get a ping on Slack from us
    • a new client opportunity email lands in their inbox
    • we share the results of what their work has delivered for our clients.

    Every time one of those events happens, we want their hearts to skip a beat with excitement. We want them to ‘take the stairs two-steps-at-a-time’ in their eagerness to read our message to them. We want them to feel wildly enthusiastic to be part of something bigger than themselves.

    And we don’t just want that sense for our team members

    We also really want our clients to feel the same way. Whenever they see an email from us, we want their hearts to skip a little beat as they think:

    • “Oh, awesome – a Content Copywriting email! I wonder what it is?” or
    • “Great, this is my next lot of content – I can’t wait to read it!” or
    • “Brilliant, here are the campaign results from last month!”

    Regardless of the specifics, we want them to get excited at the prospect of hearing from us and feel like a part of what we do.

    So how do we plan to make this happen?

    It’s a great question: how do you do that? How do you give your clients and team – whether they’re in-house or contractors – that feeling? Especially if you only see them in person once a week, once a month, or not at all?

    You do it – and we plan to do it – by creating a workplace vision with a purpose that’s deeper than just ‘doing’ the work in exchange for pay. 

    It’s actually something that’s really hard to nail. On the one hand, Content Copywriting’s official purpose is to deliver exceptional outcomes for our clients, based on their needs in the online space. Technically, this means helping our clients to improve their sales and grow their online presence, which in turn generates more income for them.

    But, as we’ve seen above, humans aren’t always just driven by cold, hard cash. There are so many more motivators than money alone. We all want to feel connected and part of a higher purpose. We all need to have something more in life.

    And right now, many of us in Australia are feeling this more than ever. Especially in the the middle of the bushfire crisis, we want to do something and be part of something bigger to help the planet and our fellow humans.

    So, what’s Content Copywriting’s purpose beyond just ‘delivering results for our clients’? What’s the workplace vision that draws on everything that motivates our team as individuals and makes them feel part of something bigger?

    Our workplace vision: a work-in-progress

    In 2020, we’ll be actively creating a strong workplace vision by partnering with a charitable organisation to drive real change. This isn’t just a ‘share of profits’ thing (although those are great too). Instead, we want to actively partner with an organisation to create change in an area we’re all passionate about.

    As a starting point, we’ll be looking at organisations that help to improve literacy for marginalised Australians.

    I hold a Masters of Applied Linguistics (effectively a Masters in understanding language and its implications in, and on, society), so I understand the power of literacy in improving people’s lives. In essence, if you can read, you can be educated – which means you can make a difference in your own life and the lives of people around you.

    We’d love to work with more clients in this space, as well as partner with a non-profit and donate our time and money to create a direct impact. That would give us a greater purpose than simply providing fantastic outcomes for our clients.

    Why focus on literacy?

     

    Our Content Copywriting clients are all big brands with big ideas. So we know that the people who run those brands, and the people we work with there, are lucky enough to have been educated. We know they’ve all worked hard to get where they are, but they started with the advantage of that education.

    What we want now is to give that same opportunity to people who might not otherwise have access to it. That’s why we’ll be investigating partnership options.

    We want our team members to have their say as well

     

     Over the next year, we’ll also be talking to all our contractors to find out what motivates them. We’ll be asking them what in their lives gives them a sense of purpose. Once we know that, we’ll fold it into our Content Copywriting vision too.

    Initially, they might only talk about what we already offer in terms of flexibility, stability, financial benefits, etc. But we also want to know what gives them a sense of purpose, so we can build that into what we’re doing.

    Watch this space for more information

     

    As we explore this idea in depth, we’re hoping to create a Content Copywriting vision where all of our team members feel like part of something bigger. That way, when they see that Slack ping or email, they’ll think, “Oh, yes! How exciting! Working on this means I’m really doing something good for the world!”

    And of course, we want our clients to feel that same sense of purpose – not only because we get results, but because they can share in our workplace vision.

    So that’s what we’ll be working towards for our vision in 2020.

    Stay tuned for when we announce it.

     

     

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