Award-winning way to create company culture and grow employee engagement

By Nick Butler


A coach and Booster fill in a Culture Poster. We've found it's great a way to build employee engagement.

Learn about an award-winning initiative that’s helping Boost take employee engagement to new heights, and see how you can apply it to your team.

Boost is a freedom-centred democratic workplace. We know we can maximise our impact by empowering the whole team.

One of the ways we do this is via our Culture Posters. This initiative won us the WorldBlu Top Practice award in October and has fed into a significant increase in our employee engagement metrics.

Helping employees create Boost’s culture

The Culture Posters are part of our one-on-one coaching process. Each fortnight, everyone at Boost has a employee-centred one-on-one session with a coach. These give us all the chance to drive our own professional and personal development, discuss opportunities and issues in a safe space, and give and receive feedback.

The Culture Posters help Boosters jointly create Boost’s culture. They provide a structure to our one-on-ones, and help us find ways we can make sure our colleagues love working at Boost, and deliver amazing outcomes for our clients.

Tracking the positive impacts the team are having

An example Boost Culture Poster.

Each poster is set out in the same way.

They feature an illustration of the team member and their mission. For most people this is “to make a positive contribution to Boost’s culture”.

The section at the top of the culture poster has two elements:

  • a graph for Boosters to plot how they are having a positive impact on Boost’s culture
  • a post-it with space for both employee and coach to give brief reasons behind the plot for that fortnight.

The physical act of plotting and describing the positive contribution is a good way of prompting more detailed conversations as well as reinforcing the value that each employee offers Boost.

We try to reference our values and purpose in the examples we use, in order to make them a company-wide language and to highlight their importance.

Our purpose is “Supporting others to create a positive and lasting impact”.

And our values are:

  • Make it safe
  • Always collaborate
  • Be transparent
  • Making New Zealand a better place
  • Speed without compromise

Refining our values

In 2019, we realised that these could be tweaked to better describe the values that the team demonstrate in their day-to-day work. Check out our Core values case study to see how we’re clarifying and reinforcing our values, and the benefits this is bringing. And learn how putting our values in te reo has helped us better understand te ao Māori.

Employees choose goals

The bottom section of the poster is to track the employee’s goal. They choose their own goals and can change them if the goal no longer meets their needs.

We break goals into:

  • Leading Star — the overarching ambition.
  • Quarterly Ambition — the main focus for that quarter.
  • Stretch Goals — the fortnightly steps they can take to move towards the previously mentioned two.

We openly display these goals so they are easy to track and so other team members can offer support if they see an opportunity.

Appreciation that is appreciated

The posters also note each employee’s love language. The love language is how each person likes to receive appreciation. That might be either:

  • words of affirmation
  • quality time
  • gifts
  • touch
  • acts of service.

This means we can all show our appreciation in the way that has the biggest impact.

How we know we’re building employee engagement

Every month we use the TinyPulse employee engagement tool to ask the team how happy they are at work. To keep ourselves honest we automatically display the running average of our past four surveys on our website.

Since setting up our one-on-ones in mid-2016 our average team happiness scores have often exceeded 9 out of 10, up from 7.8 in July 2016. Our last result in October was 8.8, compared to an industry benchmark of 7.6.

We’ve found that our Culture Posters, and the processes that they embody, have been an important contributor to our quest to make Boost the best place to work in New Zealand. We hope you find some or all of these approaches useful, and that they make a difference in your workplace too.

Further reading

Build trust with one-on-one meetings

Your business purpose: How to discover your organisation’s compass

Award for “the best place to work in New Zealand”

WorldBlu officially recognizes Boost New Media as a democratic workplace

How we kept the team connected when COVID-19 had us working from home

Our employee engagement work in the media

NZBusiness investigates the power of Boost’s purpose-led culture

The National Business Review on Boost’s lasting positive impact

Make a bigger impact tomorrow

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