A positive company culture provides a foundation for an organization’s beliefs, values and business approach. But this can only be sustained by staying true to the company’s core values.
British Columbia Lottery Corporation’s (BCLC) social-purpose integration has seen the company shift away from traditional industry models to utilize gambling to “generate win-wins for the greater good.” Integral to this mission is employee experience and the importance of catalyzing social purpose through company culture.
BCLC’s values (integrity, respect and community) reinforce the social purpose, which is the launching point for a positive culture — providing a foundation for building an organization’s beliefs, values and business approach. But this can only be sustained by staying true to the company’s core values.
“We’re trying to create win-wins for the greater good,” said Lisa Fuller, Director of People Development and Operations at BCLC. “But we can’t do that if we’re not holding ourselves accountable to our core values.”
But accountability takes time. That’s why BCLC is creating a common language around its values and how they translate into action. Aligning values and purpose provides a standard of behaviors, expectations and how people keep each other accountable. Company values, Fuller explained, create a common language for BCLC employees — influencing how they show up and how they interact with each other and the world.
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Therefore, weaving social purpose into the fabric of employee experience is a foundational way to implement, scale and sustain BCLC’s values throughout the organization.
BCLC looked at the employee lifecycle as a blueprint for building social purpose throughout its verticals, starting with how talent is attracted to the company through hiring and onboarding, daily work, professional development, and offboarding and beyond. From this employee lifecycle, a journey map was created — revealing key areas throughout the employee experience that could help fulfill BCLC's social purpose:
Social Purpose and Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DI&B) commitments included in job postings
Recruitment postings in non-traditional forums to target more diverse candidates
Social-purpose-related discussions included in the interview process and new employee orientation sessions
Social-purpose workshops delivered to BCLC employees
Integrating purpose into leadership and development programs
Deep employee investments and a sense of belonging are elemental to sustaining an organization’s social purpose. What’s more, engaged and happy employees are the best brand ambassadors — both on the job and off the clock.
“We want to make sure we are encouraging employee wellness,” Fuller said. “We’re always looking at what is available in our programs and how we can make that an opportunity to not only benefit our employees, but also really benefit the world and make it a better place.”
Leveraging people and culture to generate win-wins
From procurement to long-term planning, BCLC seeks to make every decision through a social-purpose lens. For example, pension plans adhere to the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment; and procurement policies ensure materials are obtained from responsible sources. BCLC recognized that embedding purpose into employee experience was pivotal to driving change through its business operations. Some of the key advancements in this area include:
An employee recognition program allowing employees to donate to select charities
A phased retirement program — giving team members the time to gradually transition out of employment, while effectively supporting succession planning
Expanded opportunities to support employee wellness, such as increased coverage for therapy and other psychological services
“It’s important for the organization to be very clear on asking, ‘Why are we here?’” Fuller explained. “[BCLC] is here to create an exceptional gambling experience while maintaining the health of our players and creating benefit for society.” To achieve this, we focused on embedding social purpose into the employee lifecycle — creating win-wins throughout the employee journey to create a culture rooted in our values.
“As a result, our employees are clear on our social purpose; they believe in it and know it’s the right thing to do.”
BCLC social-purpose accomplishments at a glance:
Focus on responsible gaming, including a successful player health program
Connecting employees to charities
Incorporating ESG into business operations, pension plans and Canadian Registered Retirement Savings Plans
Integrating purpose into procurement practices
Advertising recruitment activities in diverse communities
Accommodating varying employee needs — including phased retirement, benefits coverage and professional-development programs
Focusing on fair, equitable and transparent compensation practices
The fact that BCLC, a gambling corporation, can adopt and align its business model around a social purpose illustrates the power that organizations have in shaping culture — both internally and externally. People want to do business with companies that are aligned with their values, Fuller added. They also want to work at such companies, indicating another important benefit of being guided by a social purpose: Employee attraction and retention.
Organizational change requires both top-down and bottom-up approaches. But without sustained leadership buy-in, no amount of effort can embed social purpose into an organization. Without senior leadership commitment, it’s hard to expect buy-in and follow-through within the organization.
“Culture is one of those things that needs to be nurtured and fostered; and all leadership has a role in this,” Fuller said. “So, if we don’t live our values — if we don’t hold people accountable or set clear expectations — it’s hard to create a positive culture. Therefore, it’s very important for leadership to play a role in shaping culture.”