Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Purplest of Them All

First, watch this video lifted from the Yahoo! Yodel Anecdotal blog:

Shewondia Mills, Yahoo! Security Guard Extraordinaire @ Yahoo! Video

Isn't she just terrific? I think it's only appropriate that we honor workers like Shewondia on labor day weekend. Every organization is (or could be) filled with employees who want to bring their best selves to work. Yahoo, for all of its strategic missteps and competitive troubles, creates a work environment that accommodates unique styles, out-of-the-box thinking and creative approaches.

When I worked there, I met many Shewondias. Engineers, lawyers, accountants who loved their work and took pride in doing great work. It was an exhilirating environment, and I did some of my best work there.

And I would venture to guess that Shewondia is a direct result of the Yahoo! employer brand, Think Big! Think Purple! Shewondia mentions that she joined Yahoo! about a year ago, probably at the height of the Think Big! Think Purple! promotional hype. Perhaps the branding played a role in her decision to join Yahoo! It's very likely that the employer brand provided her with clues that it was ok to paint your nails purple at Yahoo! and call everyone gorgeous. That is exactly how an employer brand should work. It should provide clues about the culture and environment, and encourage employees to live up to the company values.

I remember many conversations about the Think Big! Think Purple! tagline. When we were working on the concept, many had doubts. "It doesn't make sense," said some. "What is 'thinking purple'?" Our marketing folks advised us to forge ahead. "People will get it." And they did, and continue to. Rock on, Yahoo!

Oh and did you note, near the end of the video, when one of Shewondia's daughters said that her mother was much happier since getting the job at Yahoo? That's our mission, sharks, to match folks to jobs that make them happy who, in turn, will spread that happiness -- in the guard shack, the cafeteria, the data center, the cube farm, the conference room and the board room.

Happy Labor Day.






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