Chorus Voices Ep 19: Corporate Rebels

Join Dan and Jamin this week on Chorus Voices as they meet with Corporate Rebels founders Pim De Morree and Joost Minnarr. Corporate Rebels is a business bent on understanding what makes a great workplace.

Listen in and read on to find out what Chorus learnt from their time with Corporate Rebels, and what you can do to make your workplace more fun.

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Meet Corporate Rebels Founders Pim De Morree and Joost Minnaar [2:22]

Dan meets with Corporate Rebels founders Pim De Morree and Joost Minnaar to discuss the big idea behind their unique organisation.

Dan asks Pim and Joost: What is Corporate Rebels all about?

“It’s all about making work more fun. We started ourselves in very exciting jobs about three years ago. But after 2 years we realised the excitement was gone and we became very frustrated. The moment we decided to quit our jobs, we wanted to find a way to make work more fun. We now find ourselves on the other side of the world trying to help organisations, and people within organisations to help make their work more exciting,” Joost says.

Dan asks Pim: You’ve explored multiple companies on your “bucket list” of inspiration, and you’ve identified some real trends in progressive and fun workplaces – what would be two or three that stick out to you?

“The most important one to me is to give people a lot of autonomy and freedom in determining how they can best do their job. We need to give people the feeling that they control a part of the organisation. I think this is vital to any business now and in the future. Organise yourself in such a way that people feel like a part of a small team that does their own thing and they’re fully responsible for their own thing. For Chorus, it’s in the communities,” Pim says.

Dan asks Joost: What have been the highlights of what you’ve learnt over the years?

“The highlight I find very interesting on a personal level is the emotions within these organisations. People really put a lot of emphasis on personal development. Some people really discover their own talents, masteries, and they have the room and freedom to develop these abilities further in any direction they want,” Joost says.

Corporate Rebels Joost and Pim have spent some time now with Chorus, in special workshops, and observing Chorus as a workplace.

Dan asks: Do you have a couple of observations?

“There’s a lot going on with Chorus at the moment, a lot of high workloads, a lot of ambition, but a very clear purpose with what you’re here for and what you want to be in the future. Today, that was the most inspiring moment to learn about that vision and to see also how people have examples of how it is in certain pockets already put into practice. At the same time, I think that vision needs to be communicated throughout the organisation so that everyone is crystal clear on where the organisation is heading. I think if you can put that message across then you have a very good chance of becoming a really engaging workplace,” Pim says.

Inside the Corporate Rebels Workshop [8:18]

For those listening to the podcast, you may have heard a bit of background noise during Dan’s interview with Joost and Pim. In the background, Chorus was having a workshop with Corporate Rebels.

“The workshop itself went through their top eight attributes and then the approach is to consider those attributes within our own context to see what we could easily apply in our own workplace to create our own Chorus story of being a great organisation to work at,” Jaman says.  

Dan and Jamin head inside the workshop and capture some of the stories from Chorus employees, as well as more thoughts from Pim and Joost.  

“When we were recently given a team leader for a role I used to be in, we interviewed candidates. The candidates get to meet the team and see if they’d like to work in that environment, the team gets to see if that person would fit in the team, and then we choose. It’s my decision to a certain extent because it’s my responsibility but they [the team] select their manager,” a Chorus employee says.

Pim elaborates on Chorus employees’ story.

“A more radical example we’ve come across is a Swiss IT company of about 300 people. The employees choose their new manager, to a quite an extreme extent. The select all their leadership positions a democratic way every single year, all the way up to CEO. It’s an interesting one because it changes the whole dynamic of the organisation and people are more supportive to the person who is leading them. Sometimes they also organise Fuck Up Festivals and people share their biggest fuck ups. More and more companies are doing it. Giving people a podium to share their mistakes, to learn from it but also a culture where people dare to admit their mistakes,” Pim says.

Pim continues.

“Another organisation that is doing this openly is Ben and Jerry’s, and they have a cool video clip of how they celebrate failures and mistakes in their organisation,” Pim says.

Dan catches up with Cindy after the workshop to ask her what she learnt from the Corporate Rebels workshop.

Cindy is a group manager for reporting and analysis at Chorus.

Dan asks Chorus manager Cindy what stood out in the workshop.

“The importance of having fun at work. You’ll be more motivated to come to work and make a positive contribution if we are having fun whilst doing so. Then also the possibilities of how we can structure chorus to make it more fun,” Cindy says.

Dan asks: They did mention some of the things you can do to make work more fun, did any of them stick in your mind?

“Giving people more ownership and power. Empowering people to do what they’re best at. Along with empowerment comes enjoyment from doing that kind of work,” Cindy says.  

Louise catches up with Chris to ask him about his experience at the Corporate Rebels workshop.

Chris is a Team lead for garden and home maintenance at Chorus.

“What I took away [from Corporate Rebels] was a managing style, as far as taking a step back and letting my staff do what they do,” says Chris.

“Production seems to be better. Taking a step back and letting people make their own decisions, productivity goes up. I put my ideas forth when I need to, but letting them make their decisions because they know what they’re doing.”

Key Learnings from Corporate Rebels [12:20]

Dan and Jamin meet up to reflect on what they’ve learnt from their meetings with Corporate Rebels.

“The sense of purpose and autonomy that people respond to in these kinds of workplaces, it’s very much what we talk about at Chorus. Whether it’s to do with community interactions or a service delivery, experience or simply being a volunteer or employee at Chorus,” Dan says.

“I agree. There is a massive change going on in the industry, and there is a massive change [going on] in Chorus itself. We can create changes for people or we can involve them in the change. In my experience, the way to get people involved in the change is to invite them into the problem and invite them into helping to find a solution. If people can participate, they can own the outcomes. You’ll find that you get a much more engaged team who understands why we do things, and not only that, they drive towards a greater success,” Jamin says.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks for tuning into this episode of the Chorus Voices Podcast.  If you find yourself inspired by these stories, head to our website and learn more about what we’re doing.

If you enjoyed this episode, please pop into Apple Podcast and leave us a review! Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time.

Mentioned in This Episode

Connect with Chorus

Credits

Podcast Hosts:

Dan Minchin and Jamin Hirte

Opening Voiceover: Ryan Burke

Opening Music: “Wattlebird” by Dylan Hatton Music

Producer: Matthew Clark, Louise Forster

Interviewer: Dan Minchin, Louise Forster

Special Thanks To:

Pim De Morree

Joost Minnaar

Cindy Labuschagne

Chris Boyd

Mandy Waters