Dean Carter Corporate Culture

On Dec 11th, Dean Carter, VP of HR at Patagonia, joined our Humanistic Professionals Lunch and Learn to discuss: How to Make Sure Corporate Culture Makes it to Every Employee. He discussed Patagonia culture and what they do to ensure that culture makes it to every employee, including the janitors, and what they do when it doesn't.

Books & References Materials:

Advice he gave:

  • If you want to change the culture, use change management and if that doesn’t work – change management.
  • If you are in a bad workplace culture – what can you learn from this. How can you frame the central value in a way that will work for yourself and help you survive – in a positive way despite the negative impacts of the culture.
  • If you want different outcomes you have to create different systems. The outcomes you get come from your systems.  Change those systems to support people and help them feel safe. (Example – supporting women – what do they need? On site day care, normalizing nursing and babies in the office. Have a trip – give them a nanny to go with them.
  • With bad managers, more training may not help. You may get one or two better managers. Definitely give people a change, but if they aren’t cut out for management, put them in a non-management role or get rid of them.

3 pieces of advice

  1. Figure out what you value most. What matters. Keep it to 3 things.  (Protecting the earth – not just – integrity – be specific about what it looks like if that value is made real – what specifically changes)
  2. Create experiences that live your values. It’s not enough to talk about values, the way to help create that culture is to give employees experiences where they can live the values.  Example – Patagonia onboarding – takes employees out into nature to help them connect with the mission to save the planet.
  3. Weed your garden. If people don’t fit, or managers aren’t consistent with your values and work culture – get rid of them. Not everyone is a good fit for every job or company.