Six years ago, we implemented a change within Allnorth where the term "employees" was replaced with "team members". The perception was that “employees” show up at work to complete tasks within set hours, while “team members” take personal responsibility and work towards growth throughout their workday. The change was made due to the emotional impact this difference in meaning had on our CEO, Darby Kreitz, and by extension the team.
The term "team members" was inspired by Darby’s past sports experience, where players see each other as peers and teammates rather than employees. This mentality is what we aim to achieve among our workforce. A team is a group of people who work together to achieve a common goal. Allnorth's team is comprised of individuals with unique skills who trust and communicate with each other, engage in leadership, and take responsibility for their tasks to complete collective goals.
Integration of the term "team members" posed several challenges. On a practical level, all internal communications and documents had to be modified to reflect the change in terminology, ensuring that the company's actions aligned with its words. However, the change also required a shift in the way people thought about each other and how they perceived their roles. Our aim was (and continues to be) to create a culture where team members trust and respect each other, leading to greater engagement and productivity. Therefore, it was crucial at the time of the change to help team members understand its significance and recognize that our colleagues possess not only technical expertise but also admirable personal qualities and varied perspectives.
The term change aligns with our core principles. Allnorth does not measure success solely by the financial bottom line. Instead, we are committed to achieving success through collaboration with team members and clients. The triple bottom line approach to leading Allnorth includes the team, clients, and profitability. The team segment aims to engage, enrich, and empower team members.
Moving to “team members” has received positive feedback from all levels. Those in leadership have felt more connected to their teams, junior positions have felt seen, and new team members have felt welcomed. Ultimately, having people feeling engaged and empowered results in a better overall culture, and increased happiness among team members. We continue to work towards creating a great culture, and this change is one small part of the picture.
“For me personally, changing the term from “employees” to “team members” holds great significance. I see it as an extension of my long-held belief in the servant leadership philosophy, which was considered a "non-traditional" way of leading. To me, it means serving and assisting team members in achieving success. This change has enabled me to better connect with our team and foster a culture that values collaboration. As we work together each day, we are peers, not just employees”. – Darby Kreitz, CEO.
With locations across Canada and in the US, Allnorth prides itself on being responsive to client needs and to providing leading-edge methodologies, technologies and protocols. Having a local presence helps us build strong relationships, and working cross functionally throughout the company helps us leverage the strengths of our entire team to deliver successful client solutions. Contact us today for more information as to how we can work together for you.