Autodesk, One Autodesk, Culture Code, Fwp, Flexible Work, Rita Giacalone, Debbie Clifford

Autodesk, One Autodesk

Behind The Scenes Of Autodesk’s Culture Code

Behind The Scenes Of Autodesk’s Culture Code

10/24/2021 8:53:00 AM

Behind The Scenes Of Autodesk ’s Culture Code

Autodesk comprises over 11,000 global employees who make software products. How did the introduction of a ' culture code ' help the company weather the pandemic and shift to a flexible work place model?

Autodesk’s Culture Code centers on three key components.First, Autodesk aims to be a customer company. It’s how the firm fulfills its vision of “Helping people imagine, design and make a better world.” Autodesk denotes exceptional customer service and understanding the customer’s needs as pillars to successfully enacting the Culture Code.

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Second, three core values titled “Think, Feel and Do” and corresponding behaviors help align employees to be smart, innovative, adaptable, inclusive, impactful, humble, courageous, accountable, and pragmatic.The third element to Autodesk’s Culture Code is signified by the “Ways We Work.” It’s here where team members act as “One Autodesk,” empowering decision-makers, acting authentically, and demonstrating integrity.

On paper, it looks fab. However, the real test for any team or organization is whether the purported goodness of something like the Culture Code can have any material difference to the organization’s conduct and results. Throw in a pandemic, and you have yourselves an extraordinary litmus test.

How did the Culture Code Help When the Pandemic Struck?“Informed by our Culture Code,” said Giacalone, “our guiding principles were to care authentically, establish inclusive work practices, over-communicate, and create a sense of belonging.”Knowing that there was uncertainty and stress in those first few days and weeks, Giacalone’s team created various resources for leaders and employees that “specifically called upon our Culture Code as a source of guidance and strength.”

“For example,” she continued, “as part of establishing inclusive work practices, we advised teams to develop virtual norms. These could include things like defaulting to video for Zoom calls, reminding everyone it’s okay for kids, roommates, and pets to barge in, or asking for all team calls to take place between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm, with a break from noon to 1:00 pm. By establishing these simple agreements, teams better understood expectations and how to work with one another.”

The Culture Code was also used to help leaders at all levels adopt an over-communication strategy. “When you’re not sitting at a desk near others, communication becomes even more crucial,” said Giacolone. “We encouraged employees to clarify expectations with managers, like what type of work should be prioritized.” Autodesk also suggested that employees and managers be transparent about challenges they’re facing and when they may need extra support. 

It became clear, however, that by already having the foundation of the Culture Code and the experience of putting it to use through various learning exercises that many Autodesk employees were already prepared to use the company’s values and its “Way We Work” trait to get through the initial volatility of the pandemic.

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Introducing Autodesk’s Flexible Workplace PromiseAs the pandemic continued to march on, company leaders had another idea. Why not use this opportunity to reset where the company actually performs the work? Enter the Autodesk Flexible Workplace Promise or FWP for short.

By referring to the Culture Code as the source of guidance for how the company will work together, FWP became a commitment to working in a hybrid environment where all Autodesk employees have the chance to thrive and belong.“Our FWP was designed for flexibility in how and where work gets done while balancing the needs of our dynamic and growing business,” added Giacalone. “This includes fostering an inclusive distributed work experience and the creation of thoughtful team norms between managers and team members so all employees can do their best work and belong, no matter where the work happens.”

The company has further committed to enabling in-person as well as digital collaboration and connection. Said Giacalone, “We are redesigning offices to inspire collaboration, creativity and innovation, while also bridging the digital and physical world with investments in space and technology to enable collaboration and solidify connection.”

Culture Code for the WinThe ripple effects of the culture change at Autodesk are far and wide. Take, for example, chief financial officer Debbie Clifford.Clifford recently rejoined Autodesk after two years at SurveyMonkey. While much at Autodesk remained familiar to her, Clifford was pleasantly surprised by how much had changed for the better. “Autodesk has undergone a cultural revolution,” said Clifford.

She continued: “There’s been a powerful shift in the company’s values and ways we work, and the pace of decision-making has accelerated. As a company, we now benefit not only from the scale of our operation but also from a newfound agility that is enabling our success in newer markets like construction and manufacturing in the cloud.”

In sum, Autodesk positively exemplifies how to use a leadership and culture philosophy to not only weather the storm of a pandemic, but to reshape the Read more: Forbes »

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