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Culture Fulfillment Case Study: Zaizi

Zaizi is a dynamic, London-based company that helps public sector organizations design, build and sustain user-centered and secure digital services. Seeking to make a meaningful impact on the lives of millions of citizens, Zaizi recognized the importance of fostering a values-driven culture. In this case study, we explore Zaizi's experience with the Culture Fulfillment Program, their journey toward culture transformation, and the impact on their daily operations.

CoreVals™ & Descriptive Behaviors: A Catalyst for Change

It all began when Tracey Robinson, Zaizi’s Chief People Officer, met Will Scott, The Culture Fix® Founder & CEO, during an EO event he was facilitating in London. Intrigued by our Culture Fulfillment Program, they decided to explore how it could enhance their organization. Zaizi has always prided itself on having a strong culture, but as they continued to grow rapidly, they realized the need to embed their values deeply within the organization.

Before we began working with Zaizi on the Culture Fulfillment Program, they already had core values, or as we at The Culture Fix® call them, CoreVals™. They identified the values as openness, selflessness, and passion. But their company was scaling quickly, and they wanted to ensure these values were integrated, both in memorability & in behavior, in their new-hires & across the spanning company. Together, we revisited their values, making them more catchy.

Now the core values’ simplicity & verve leave a lasting impression: People, Passion, Purpose. We admire the clever use of alliteration as a mnemonic device and how their existing values seamlessly align with their newly embraced principles. Crafting impactful CoreVals™ doesn't necessarily mean discarding the company's existing values. Instead, it entails a process of uncovering the true essence of those values and identifying the inherent strengths of the organization. Additionally, they have provided detailed descriptions of behaviors that align with each of these core values.

“It wasn't that we felt we weren't open or selfless anymore. We just wanted to expand on that and really bring them alive. And create descriptive behaviors so that it's a lot clearer to understand what our values mean.”

- Tracey Robinson, Chief People Officer of Zaizi

As Zaizi underwent rapid growth, they recognized the imperative of fully integrating certain elements into their organization and making them integral to their hiring criteria, work ethic, and interactions—both within their teams and with their clients.

Their substantial scaling looked like transitioning from a single company into a network of teams, which they fondly term "clubs.” Their aim was to ensure that their CoreVals™ remained unifying principles across the entire company, preventing silos and preserving a sense of unity.

Culture is Fun: Theme Songs & Making CoreVals™ Memorable

Zaizi completed Culture Fulfillment with ingenuity and inspiration…

Another way they made their CoreVals™ memorable and impactful was by creating a custom theme song that encapsulated their core values of People, Passion, and Purpose. They even featured team members recording themselves singing the chorus! This song is played at their weekly all-company meetings, leaving a lasting impression and fostering a sense of unity among employees.

“We play it every Wednesday at our All Company Meeting. So at the beginning of a meeting, we'll play the theme song, and it just puts a smile on everybody's face. So it's definitely memorable.”

- Tracey Robinson, Chief People Officer

Pre-Culture Fulfillment eNPS Scores for CoreVal™ Memorability

Post-Culture Fulfillment eNPS Scores for CoreVal™ Memorability 

Overall, the eNPS survey results indicate that the implementation of Culture Fulfillment tools had a substantial and positive effect on core value memorability within Zaizi. The vast majority of employees found the core values more memorable and referable, suggesting that the company's efforts to enhance its culture and communication value were successful. This improved understanding of the core values is likely to contribute to a more aligned and engaged workforce.

Integrating Tools: Notice & Nominate Scheme and Catch & Correct

Zaizi has effectively implemented their Notice & Nominate™ into their regular operations. This initiative is designed to recognize and celebrate employees who consistently demonstrate the organization's core values. This tool is beneficial because it empowers employees to actively participate in recognizing their colleagues for specific behaviors aligned with each core value, and reinforces that alignment within themselves and others. The process has become a cornerstone of Zaizi's culture.

In practice, Zaizi introduced a straightforward yet effective procedure. In every meeting, the first slide is dedicated to Notice & Nominate™. Employees are encouraged to fill out a Google form, providing details about the colleague they wished to nominate, including the value they exemplified, specific behavior exhibited, the associated story, and how it had impacted them or others. The name of both the nominee and the nominator are included in the process, so that the nominator is also recognized for showing gratitude toward their colleague. This incentivizes more employees to submit nominations. In fact, Tracey Robinson said that employees often submit nominations either on the same day or the following day of these meetings, because people feel so inspired to share.

To further acknowledge outstanding contributions, Zaizi introduced prizes. Starting with a small token of recognition, recipients receive fridge magnets featuring each core value's icon corresponding to their nomination. As employees accumulate three nominations, they’re rewarded with different gifts, with the value of the prizes increasing over time.

Conversely, when there’s a situation where someone isn't aligning with Zaizi’s core values, a colleague or director will plan to have a conversation with them. They’ll inform Tracey they plan to initiate the process of Catch & Correct™ with them. This means that their team is actively using their values to identify and address deviations, effectively promoting a culture where these values are consistently upheld.

The team actually practiced this exercise during the Culture Fulfillment program. Because these conversations can be difficult, we encourage teams to act out what employing Catch & Correct™ could look like - to neutralize potential conflict and encourage confidence in productive confrontation. 

While there’s lots of laughs in this video, in reality, employing "Catch & Correct" can sometimes lead to uncomfortable discussions. However, what has contributed to its success is that everyone within the organization is well-versed in their values and has seen "Catch & Correct" employed in a positive and constructive manner. Zaizi’s employees understand that upholding those values is ultimately for the benefit of everyone, and so it is seldom overly challenging for them to receive this feedback.

One element of Zaizi’s business that stands out is the transparency and openness within Zaizi were evident during company-wide meetings. The Wednesday meetings served as a platform for discussing a wide range of topics, from successes to challenges. This transparency, stemming from leadership, allowed employees to openly share ideas and concerns, fostering a culture of collaboration and collective problem-solving.

In summary, Zaizi's Culture Fulfillment Program showcased a multifaceted approach to incorporating core values into every facet of the organization. From recognition initiatives to decision-making processes, from talent acquisition to daily operations, the core values became an integral part of Zaizi's identity, fostering engagement, alignment, and transparency throughout the company's journey.

How Zaizi Fosters Unity Through Transparency

Another interesting facet of Zaizi's culture is their transparency amongst the team, while they balance the privacy of their clientele.The company fosters a sense of unity and knowledge sharing among its employees. So let’s say somebody might be in a particular club (team) working on a particular project, and their discipline is user research. There's a community across the whole company for all of the user researchers and all the user centered design experts. Rather than operating in isolation, Zaizi promotes a sense of community that extends across the entire organization, encouraging them to come together regularly, whether it be bi-weekly or monthly, to exchange ideas and insights. This collective effort ensures that employees remain informed about ongoing initiatives and projects.

This approach means that employees are kept in-the-know of both positive developments and challenges the company faces. Zaizi takes pride in celebrating its successes but also doesn't shy away from acknowledging when things may not be going as planned. In such cases, the company makes it a priority to outline its strategies for addressing these challenges.

While some aspects of transparency may pertain to the intricacies of specific projects, Zaizi encourages its employees to share ideas openly, even if they cannot divulge the specific details of their ongoing work. This commitment to open dialogue and knowledge exchange permeates the company's culture, further embodying their value of “People.”

Zaizi’s CorePurpose™

Zaizi’s CorePurpose™ is bold & clear: by 2030, they aspire to make a positive difference in every person’s life throughout the UK. This is an effective CorePurpose™ because there is a date attributed, and a target number to quantify the goodness they do for the world. They are dedicated to projects that enhance the well-being of individuals across the nation.

Zaizi’s commitment to social impact goes beyond their client projects. They have a key performance indicator (KPI) aimed at creating a positive impact through volunteering and social initiatives. Zaizi encourages their employees to devote their time to volunteer for causes close to their hearts. Their initial goal is to impact 3,000 lives through the efforts of their own team members. They plan to expand and enhance this program year after year, ultimately involving everyone in making a positive impact through non-profit organizations and important causes.

Maintaining Culture With a Growing Team

A huge part of maintaining culture as a company expands is getting hiring right.

At Zaizi, they recognize that they may not compete for new-hires on the same scale as some larger financial or public sector companies. However, they take immense pride in their culture and values, which set them apart.

“You're not just coming here and tapping away on a piece of code. That piece of code that you're writing will help somebody in the UK, and it could be really close to your heart as well.”

- Tracey Robinson, Chief People Officer

Zaizi’s talent team excels at assessing how a candidate might fit into their culture and values. They extend this expertise to all individuals involved in the hiring process, fostering a shared commitment to their culture. They’ve established a comprehensive hiring process to ensure that their values and culture are integral at every stage, including technical interviews.

Zaizi’s culture is also woven into their training process from day one. They begin by sharing their journey and explaining how they utilize various tools and strategies, such Notice & Nominate™ and Catch & Correct™. They also tell their company stories, and through storytelling, they provide concrete examples of how these behaviors come to life within their organization.

In Summary: Realizing Potential Day

Zaizi recently hosted a Realizing Potential Day, where they took stock of how far they have come and celebrated their culture wins.

 It was an exceptional day of team-building, including engaging talks by their CEO, Aingaran Pillai, their Non-executive Director, Tracy Westall, and the first female GR4 pilot on the frontline Mandy Hickson.

From Drum Cafe to the awards ceremony, celebrating their outstanding team members, this was truly a lively event. This was the perfect showcase of the lively, fun-loving, and community-fostering spirit at the core of Zaizi’s culture.

In summary, Zaizi's Culture Fulfillment Program exemplifies how a values-driven culture can be cultivated, integrated, and celebrated at every level of an organization, ultimately leading to a more engaged, aligned, and transparent workforce. Zaizi's commitment to its core values - People, Passion, Purpose - and its mission to make a positive impact on UK society are inspiring examples of how culture can be a driving force behind an organization's growth and success.


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