How to Foster Dialogue at Work

Q: How can I get employees to create more dialogue in the workplace and listen to one another’s views?

A: 1-800-GOT-JUNK? is the world's largest junk removal service. The 1-800-GOT-JUNK? headquarters in Vancouver, Canada, has an open meeting rooms, desks, and lots of windows, but no private offices. The Call Center shares the floor with Operations and a central staircase joins the first and second floors, which is quite unconventional for that type of office building. The founder and CEO even shifts from desk to desk as free space opens up or while someone is away. This design aims to promote an open, equal opportunity workplace.

Every morning, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? has a "huddle," which is a stand-up meeting that all staff are encouraged to attend. It's an opportunity to share good news, review metrics, and discuss opportunities and areas for improvement. During huddles, every employee has the chance to share a positive thought, speak out about something that's not working, or to offer up a suggestion. Any employee can sign up to be the "Huddle Master," who hosts the huddle.

"1-800-GOT-JUNK? chooses to practice democracy in the workplace because our People are our single most important resource for success," says founder and CEO Brian Scudamore. "Hiring the right people and taking the time to treat them well and support their growth is the smartest practice a company can maintain. At 1-800-GOT-JUNK? our democratic principles have created a fun, hard-working, and diverse culture where every single employee, from a new sales center agent to a leadership member, has the opportunity to share in our success and grow."

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