Trust Me, This Is an Interesting Blog Post™
Each month at DISHER, we celebrate one of our twelve culture characteristics. The month of June was dedicated to Trusting Relationships. It became the perfect opportunity for me to share some opinion journalism about the country of Denmark, my recent experience with the Danish transit-fare collection system, and how it relates to DISHER. (Yes, we have nerds of all stripes at DISHER!)
Denmark’s Culture of Trust
The opinion piece I want to share with you is You Can’t Have Denmark without Danes by Megan McArdle at Bloomberg. It talks about what makes Denmark special. I visited Copenhagen for the first time last November and was struck by how the city seemed to “carry its own weather”. Despite the constant drizzle for the few days I was there, Copenhagen and its residents hummed with positivity whether commuting, touring, serving, or dining. It’s a little uncanny— sort of like visiting Seahaven from the movie, The Truman Show. Ironically, some people say the same thing about Zeeland, Michigan, where DISHER headquarters is located.
Denmark is consistently ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world with high levels of social cohesion, affluence, and efficiency in terms of its government. Megan McArdle finds that the most common explanation for Denmark’s success is trust. Along with happiness, Danes also top the charts in trust institutions and strangers. High trust can make people happier and make systems more efficient. A great example is the fare-collection system on Copenhagen buses. This is the first photo I took in Europe on the very clean, vibrant bus from the airport in Copenhagen. Circled is the fare collection point.
Copenhagen’s transit-fare collection system is based on a system of trust.
Each bus has a few of these blue scanners positioned throughout which collect your fare via the honor system. The idea is that you can board from any door and just touch your transit pass against the scanner. The driver does not check your fare. This saves a lot of time during boarding since the driver does not need to wait for every passenger to board at the front and pay them. Sure, a person could easily cheat and ride the bus without paying especially when it is busy. However, most people don’t cheat. The city gains more on the saved time and increased productivity than it loses on dodged fares. It’s a win-win when people trust the system and each other.
DISHER’s Culture of Trust
This is the same business model DISHER strives for. We rely on our team members to work with trust, integrity, and competence. We don’t waste time double-checking or second-guessing each other. We practice open, honest, unvarnished communication. With our customers, we strive to build trust with an innovative approach to engineering and design solutions combined with an impeccable attention to detail. The behaviors we aim to live-out every day (seen below) are just as refreshing to our customers.
How to Build Trusting Relationships
Benefits of a High-Trust Workplace
Like Denmark, we know that building a culture of trust increases employee satisfaction and improves our bottom line. According to one of our business partners, Denison Consulting, “The higher the culture scores, the better the financial performance.” Great Place to Work states, “Our 30 years of research, in over 40 countries around the world, has shown us time and again that investing in a high-trust workplace culture yields distinct, tangible business benefits. Our studies of the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® show that great workplaces enjoy better financial performance than industry peers.”
You can learn more about building a culture of trust by signing up for a DISHER culture tour. During our 1.5-hour complementary tour, DISHER team members share ideas on how to design a vibrant culture with intentionality. DISHER has had the privilege of being nationally-recognized by FORTUNE and Great Place to Work. We love to share our practices, cultural rhythms, and learning for the benefit of other organizations.
And if you find yourself in Copenhagen, buy a Copenhagen Card for admission to tons of great sights and unlimited use on the public transit system. It is super convenient, safe, and a great value. And make time to see the hall of chairs at Designmuseum Danmark.
Written By: Martin Hewitt | Product Development Engineer
Martin spent three years as a DISHER engineering intern and became a leading draft pick upon graduation for DISHER’s product development team. Martin is a graduate of Northwestern University with a BS in Materials Science and Engineering. In his free time, he enjoys reading, podcasts, running, hiking, trivia, and soccer. If he could live anywhere in the world, he’d choose Seattle because it smells like the ocean and he wouldn’t get sunburned.