Building a Distinct Culture at Work

By Lisa Hirst Carnes | February 2019

Building a Distinct Culture at Work

According to research conducted by Deloitte, 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success. In fact, their research also shows that organizations with a distinct culture at work have happier employees.

A distinct culture is more than a pool table and a dog. Those are great additions to the culture of your workplace, but they only scratch the surface. A distinct culture starts with a foundation of trust that fosters openness and creativity.

Here are a few things we do at ArcStone to create our distinct culture.

1:1 Check-ins

We started doing 1:1 check-ins a few months ago. Performance reviews are necessary but they don’t create deeper connections. Check-ins are only about 10-15 minutes and happen on a weekly basis. Unlike a performance review, 1:1 check-ins are informal. The frequency and regularity of a check-in is as critical as the actual discussion. They build trust and show team members their value and importance. Benefits of 1:1 check-ins include stronger employee engagement, deeper connections, better collaboration, and improved performance.

ArcMoots and Mini-moots

ArcMoots are basically “state of the company” organization-wide meetings. Derived from The Lord of the Rings Entmoot, ArcMoots usually involve some sort of ice-breaker, lunch, re-visiting of core values and vision, what’s happening from a financial perspective, what’s coming next, and company goals.

It’s critical to share both the good and the bad. Moots build strong connections, improve employee engagement, and may even reduce employee stress levels while providing an understanding of what’s going on. Bonus, who doesn’t like a free lunch?


IDS stands for Identify, discuss, and solve. IDS is part of the EOS methodology. Our management team has been following EOS for a couple of years but recently we introduced the concept of IDS organization-wide. Everyone at ArcStone is encouraged to identify issues or opportunities and bring them to the table for discussion. While it may be too soon to see the benefits yet, I think encouraging everyone from the team to participate in IDS-ing will create a stronger culture because we’ll have many different points of view and ways of looking at a problem.

What Do You Do?

We have internal meetings on Monday mornings. Everyone gathers at our giant bowling alley table and we go through the calendar, projects, KPI’s, normal Monday morning stuff. Towards the end of the meeting, one person tells the team something they may not know about them. It might be a project they’re working on outside of work, a passion, or a past-time. It’s sort of like a grown-up “Show and Tell.” The person sharing then picks the next person to share. “What Do You Do?” creates deeper connections, stronger engagement, and a happy, distinct culture because you get to see all of the incredible people on the team. Our team is chock-full of artists, woodworkers, bakers, dirt bikers, climbers, athletes, activists, musicians, writers, dancers, and so much more.


Like so many digital and technology companies, we use Slack as a collaboration tool. My favorite channel in Slack by far is our #Kudos channel. This is the channel where we recognize team members who are living our core values - Service, Craftsmanship, Evolution, Collaboration, and Happiness. This warm-fuzzy public display brings life to our core values because we are demonstrating them on a daily basis. Core values aren’t uncommon. Recognizing core values in the #Kudos channel has several benefits and it reminds our team members what the core values are. Publicly displaying them has a snowball effect. #Kudos create a healthy, happy, positive culture ripe for collaboration. A few weeks ago, we implemented a new benefit of #Kudos. Over the course of the week #Kudos are added up. The person with the most #Kudos gets to pick the snack for the office.

I’m really proud of our distinct culture at ArcStone. It’s distinct because everyone has a voice and contributes to it. Together we are better. As an author, speaker, and business coach, Dr. Kenneth Blanchard puts it so eloquently, "None of us is as smart as all of us."

Topics: Inside ArcStone