In May, the 2015 Positive Business Conference met at the Ross School of Business in Ann Arbor to award grand prizes for organizations with unique positive business practices. The conference is open to organizations internationally to showcase the practices and culture which make them unique. Team Detroit, a marketing firm based in Dearborn, Michigan, was one of two grand prize winners alongside Newmind Group. Finalists each submitted videos highlighting those practices, and you can view Team Detroit’s video below:

We wanted a closer look at Team Detroit’s culture and practices and Christopher Jimenez, their Manager of Business Intelligence, took the time to tell me their story. Below are three tips to building workplace culture that Chris shared with me during the call.

Create a recognition system

Passing along recognition is one of the most basic forms of culture there is. Team Detroit takes advantage of a unique platform for recognition called YouEarnedit, and Chris pointed out something important there—having a formal, public channel for recognition incentivizes your teammates to recognize each other. YouEarnedit helped remove certain barriers for praising fellow employees.

“Before YouEarnedIt, our main form of “recognition” was to send an email to an employee’s manager to recognize his/her effort. The challenge with that is we are all working hard and even those with the best intentions may forget to share that recognition with the employee. This is worse than not being recognized at all. We wanted to do better.

Committee-based culture initiatives

In their culture video, Team Detroit highlights the Positive Incentives Committee, but they’re just one of many committees and teams within Team Detroit, each with their own initiatives and agendas. Encouraging the creation of committees (formal or not) within your organization empowers employees to solve their own problems and band together surrounding culture interests and office issues—Team Detroit exercises that to a full degree.

“We have a lot of different committees here—a green initiative, different diversity groups—each of those pockets of people have their own extracurricular activities. We throw a company-wide holiday party, and a townhall event, but in a larger organization it’s important to foster culture within smalls groups and teams throughout the year. The Positive Incentives Committee is one piece of that, but there are a lot of other groups with driven employees who believe in something outside their day-to-day work, and want to see it happen. We have that freedom here.”

Dedicate time to researching culture

One way to show a dedication to improving culture, is by showing a passion for it—even if that’s as simple as taking 15 minutes from your week to read an article and sharing it with your colleagues – maybe even trying to implement some of what is shared. Newmind Group practices this, and we even pass some of that along to our readers in our “Best of the Web” blog posts.

“Throughout the whole organization as well as within our subgroups, Team Detroit employees share articles and research on better workplace culture—we celebrate the research out there in the industry and within academia. Within our committees we find ways to institute those practices, based on the way we work.”


We’re proud to be in such awesome company within the Positive Business Project, and Team Detroit is setting a great example for how good culture can empower a team. Does your organization use any of these techniques, or different culture methods? We’d love to hear about them!