Moishe House is a member of The Talent Alliance, a community of practice focused on talent and culture, run by Leading Edge. This past year, Moishe House asked the question: how do we bring the values of our organization truly to life?
In 2017, Moishe House developed The Moishe Mindset to provide clarity on how employees show up to work every day, how they treat each other and their constituents, and how they pursue their Mission, Vision, and Values.
Through its work with the Talent Alliance, Moishe House aimed to bring the Moishe Mindset to life in all areas of how they work, have fun and do business. They wanted to show job candidates who they are during the recruitment process and the onboarding process, and fully integrate this into their culture for all employees.
Recently, Leading Edge sat down with Ann Baumgarten, Moishe House Sr. Director, Human Resources & Risk Management, to learn more about the project. Here are some highlights from our conversation.
How did you land on the Moishe Mindset idea?
Ann: At a strategic planning meeting, we said to ourselves, if Moishe Mindset is really who we are and how we treat each other and work together, then we have to figure out how to bring it to life. What would that look like? We left the strategic planning meeting with that goal in mind, and did a lot of brainstorming with different people about how to move forward.
Who was involved with the project?
A: After soliciting broad feedback, including from our C-suite, I engaged a skilled consultant who helped me create a project plan, and think through how to best create coursework around it. Our Communications Director was very involved in the program design, and our Human Resources Administrative Coordinator was full of ideas and took on designing and teaching one of our courses at our Resident conference
Along the way, our program leadership helped us map out how to bring the Moishe Mindset to our constituents.
Tell us exactly how you brought the project to life.
A: The project included a great deal of training, including a course on organizational culture in general, and as defined by the Moishe Mindset. We asked employees to do reading beforehand on organizational culture, why it’s important and how it’s demonstrated, and to think about which mindsets they wanted to strengthen and how to go about it, and then commit to taking on a specific goal.
We also offered a course for supervisors on coaching the Moishe Mindset with their employees. Many supervisors indicated afterwards that they had been winging it when it came to coaching, or not asking the best questions, or even putting off talking to an employee. This course was valuable for them, and while a coaching model could be taught at any time, making it part of our larger workplace culture conversation was impactful.
Finally, we offered a course on increasing employee effectiveness using the Moishe Mindset while giving staff specific tools to use to be more effective in their work.
In what other ways did you incorporate the Moishe Mindset?
A: We established a monthly Moishe Mindset series to promote interaction between employees and senior leaders who don’t get to interact on a daily basis. That way employees could hear directly from leadership about how a particular mindset has been important to leaders in their own careers.
We worked the Moishe Mindset concept directly into our performance appraisals.
We also incorporated the Moishe Mindset into our recruiting and onboarding processes, including our online materials and our CEO video for new employees. Because it’s also incorporated into our job descriptions, we’ve now seen a couple of cover letters that have come in explaining the Moishe Mindset and how the prospective employee demonstrates it. We provide hiring managers a list of questions to use during the interview process that get to particular aspects of workplace culture.
Moishe House also put the concept into wall hangings that are designed to be very visible in our homes all over the world and provide a visual reminder of these values, every single day. We sent a card along with the wall hangings asking program staff to display them where people gather.
Our program team put the Moishe Mindset at the front of our agenda at our resident conferences to provide a foundational conversation about how we strive to interact with one another. It wasn’t that different from what we were already expecting of people at resident conferences, but putting it into these words does make a difference.
What is important for other organizations who are interested in this concept to consider?
A: Have a plan, reconsider the plan, think about the interdependencies within the organization and plan for them ahead of time, and set realistic timelines. I also suggest that people determine what will be easier to do in-house vs. what should be outsourced. For instance, when it came to developing coursework, I knew I would need to know the material well enough to teach it, and I felt the best way to do that would be to create the material myself. When thinking about your own capacity, I wouldn’t recommend that you take that on unless creating coursework is something you really enjoy.
Do you feel you successfully incorporated the Moishe Mindset into staff culture during this project?
A: One employee was out on parental leave for about three months when we began implementing some of the bigger initiatives with the Moishe Mindset. When she returned and saw the emphasis we were putting on it, she asked her boss, when did the Moishe Mindset become such a big thing around here? It was interesting for her to act as a mirror for our work and see that the cultural emphasis was very noticeable. Now, all new employees are trained on the Moishe Mindset. At this point, this is simply who we are and what we do.
Of course, we still have work to do on our culture. This helps to define it. And we know that we have to continue to keep this Mindset top-of-mind, and to maintain our focus not just on how people behave, but on how we stay the vibrant, exciting organization we’ve been since our inception.