October 20, 2014

When I read in Fast Company (FC) magazine about ad agency Translation designating “majors” and “minors” for their employees, I was intrigued. FC contributor KC Ifeanyi explains how Steve Stoute, Translation’s founder and CEO, is encouraging his team to pursue their passions in addition to the “day job” they have at Translation.

“We’re trying to get people to be honest about their minors… When I ask you what your minor is, it’s the thing you’d be doing if you didn’t have this job. If money didn’t matter and it’s a passion you have, what would you be doing?” ~ Steve Stoute

Stoute believes – and is seeing proof – that it’s helping the business. Similarly to open-office concepts, Stoute views this as a way to encourage collaboration. And he feels this is a big piece of their desirable company culture, that celebrating people’s minors is a valuable commodity.

On occasion, these minors translate into business opportunities. Joel Rodriguez, whose “major” is account executive at Translation, has a “minor” as an MC in his off hours. Translation client Sprite used Rodriquez’s rapping skills in a national campaign.

“Allowing your employees to be able to use their talents and passions to move the business forward is an incredible thing. It gets everybody to feel like they have the opportunity to help be a part of the problem-solving for our clients.” ~ Steve Stoute

I love what this demonstrates about having a culture where honesty about who we are and what we value is relevant, and I appreciate a company that recognizes its team members as whole people, not just the version that shows up Monday-Friday. This is honing in on the truth and is contributing to a feeling of acknowledgement and appreciation.

These Translation employees will benefit greatly from practicing truth with themselves and they will be well prepared to carry their passion into each next stage of their lives and careers.