In Episode 5 of the BSuite podcast hosted by Anne Richardson, we welcome Melissa Krchma from Bluedog Design. Anne and Melissa dive into why acknowledging and respecting employee individuality can lead to a happier and healthier organization.
What is a Director of Workplace and Digital Empowerment?
Melissa admits she has an unusual title and Anne is curious to find out how she sees her role fitting into the overarching goals of Bluedog Design. Melissa explains that her day-to-day activities combine best-in-class research with the “boots on the ground reality” of doing what it takes to nurture a culture of belonging. On a personal note, Melissa says she seeks to help make it possible for her colleagues to do their best more often during the day. Anne wonders aloud how Melissa makes sure that individual employees and teams of workers at her own company and at their clients’ organizations feel seen and heard…in other words…how does she ensure that all employees feel empowered to reach their highest potential?
Tips for Building a Welcoming Organization
According to our guest, the use of the word, “welcoming” goes beyond simply fitting in at work. It includes encouraging employees to take ownership and play an integral role in maintaining your company’s mission. In addition, it means we should expand the profile of our existing teams and new hires to cover a broader spectrum, even going beyond demographic diversity. Melissa advocates for business leaders to open doors to people with all types of skills, attributes, idiosyncrasies and personalities. Melissa tells us that this approach is the only way to truly promote a sense of belonging.
Modeling Best Practices in Company Culture
Bluedog Design has clearly found a successful formula for their own team of approximately 35 or so “distributed” employees. So it’s a natural next step for Anne to ask Melissa how that experience gets applied to their work with their roster of blue chip clients. Well-known companies like General Mills, McDonalds, MarsWrigley and other household names retain Bluedog’s services year after year to ensure they are promoting welcoming environments inside their corporate walls and communicating those wellness messages in their consumer brand messaging. With an average 93% client retention rate, Bluedog Design is clearly doing something right! Melissa agrees with Anne’s observation that Bluedog has become a model for best practices in company culture.
Life as a B Corp Certified and Women-Owned Agency
Melissa shares the story behind the early days of Bluedog Design when its founder, Michelle Hayward, herself a seasoned brand strategist in the grocery industry, decided there was a value in telling the stories behind the brands on grocery store shelves. From that point on, listening to the needs of consumers and finding out what they are looking for when making purchase decisions has been key to Bluedog Design’s business. Melissa explains that they take an inside-out approach to their brand storytelling process which is what really sets them apart as a company . As a B Corp certified and women-owned agency, Bluedog Design enjoys an advantage in a lot of different ways in terms of perspective and leadership.