Better the culture, better the results

Stuart Simms, President, Rakuten Marketing | 06 Jun 2018|

Last month around 100 of our employees from all over the world met at our Rakuten Marketing Playbook Summit to work out how to create a lasting high-performance company culture. Knowing that a high-performance culture isn’t something that can be developed solely by the leadership team, we invited representatives of all levels from our global Rakuten Marketing offices to participate in our Playbook Summit, where we shared our vision for the company, and collaborated on what kind of culture would be needed at Rakuten Marketing to support it.

We operate in a quickly moving landscape, where rapid advancements in technology are changing and shaping the way we do business every day. At Rakuten Marketing, we face the challenge of evolving our business faster than the pace of the ecosystem, so we can best serve our clients and stay ahead of our competition. To be successful, it’s vital that we have an informed, educated and passionate employee base. Our Playbook Summit was designed to inspire our employees to learn about our vision, feel inspired by our culture and, most importantly, share their excitement with their peers.

Underlining our Playbook strategy is an understanding that there is a clear link between culture and performance, but culture is often misunderstood, can be hard to define, and is even harder to measure and evaluate. Partnered with our Playbook strategy, we wanted to obtain a broader and deeper view of our current culture at Rakuten Marketing. Historically, we have relied on engagement surveys to get input and feedback from our employees, but we felt the insights we were getting were limited. So, before the Summit, we partnered with the Culture Analytics experts, Temporall, and used their Culture & Innovation Index (CII) to understand more about the existing culture at Rakuten Marketing, and then work out where and how we need to improve.

The CII gave Rakuten Marketing an overall Culture Performance Score based on four categories: People, Leadership, Organisation and Technology, as well as findings for each market and office. We were delighted to find we scored highly in the ‘People’ category, encompassing many of the attributes identified by Temporall’s team of experts as essential for a forward-looking and future-focused company. As a next step we are analysing the results for each of the markets where Rakuten Marketing has employees, and using data from the CII and the insights from Temporall to prioritise and refine our existing plans. The data comes from our employees, so we are responding directly to their feedback and collecting their input on how we shape and embed a high-performance culture that is right for Rakuten Marketing.

In response to results of the CII so far, the Rakuten Marketing executive team has committed to providing more transparent and frequent updates, especially concerning the company strategy and vision. The insights have also inspired a new talent acquisition process and talent development roadmap, a renewed focus on diversity and inclusion, and a stronger communication strategy around our tech advancements and investments.

Sophie Berryman, our VP of HR in Europe and Australia, who worked closely with Matt Barker, our Head of People, to collaborate with the Temporall team has reinforced that “the next step will be for us to ensure the values and behaviours that we have identified as critical for our success are systemised and ‘owned’ throughout Rakuten Marketing. We’re aiming for a consistent approach to how we attract, hire, develop and retain our Talent”.

We are optimistic that when we run the CII again later in the year we will see an even bigger impact and will be able to see a correlation between our investment in company culture and overall organisational performance.

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