We can build better places to work. Businesses don’t know how to manage people and workplaces are at a breaking point. Such moments of tectonic change in history are often marked by charters, documents that codify a shared desire for a better world. At Charter we think this is one of those moments.
To that end we have drafted a charter for what we think organizations can be. It’s one that we are committed to following at Charter and we hope others will find inspiration and direction in it as well.
A Charter organization is:
Fair and equitable—Ensuring equal access to opportunities, transparency around cause and effect, respect and compassion for all, and positive and open dialogue. A Charter organization pays everyone a living wage, invests in the physical, mental, and financial wellness of its workers, shares ownership and governance wherever possible, and creates and vigilantly safeguards a climate of respect and dignity for all.
Diverse and inclusive—Recognizing that users and customers are diverse and global, and the team and the brand created should be too, bringing together people from different backgrounds to turn a shared vision into reality. A Charter organization is consciously aware that we have unconscious biases and actively works to challenge them, providing an environment where traditionally marginalized people feel safe and supported, and everyone can thrive. It is open to new perspectives wherever in the world they come from.
Positive for the earth and community—Acknowledging the environmental and societal context for any endeavor, and honestly accounting for and offsetting any negative impact on the earth from its activities. A Charter organization is engaged with the community around it, actively contributing to a better life for its employees’ families and neighbors. It also engages actively with our common project of advancing toward a more just society and boldly deploys its voice and resources to advance that.
Creative and innovative— Actively searching for new solutions to existing problems, and open to finding better approaches wherever they are and whoever originates them. A Charter organization is not overly sentimental about how things have always been done, and is focused on getting things right rather than being right. When process is overly constraining, it prioritizes freedom.
Pursuing impact and learning—Committed to consistently exceeding customers’ and users’ high standards, focused on outcomes over hours of work, and always looking for ways to improve. A Charter organization has a culture of appreciation and feedback that is timely, consistent, constructive, and kind. It recognizes that individual and collective potential for growth is limitless and essential to the organization’s long-term success, and views the workplace as a lab to master life’s most useful skills.
Purposeful—Pursuing a worthy mission, with workers at all levels of the organization clear on where it is headed, and how their work drives impact and propels the group forward. A Charter organization takes the work seriously, but is humble and appreciates that it is a small part of a bigger world. It strives to break free of the gravitational pull of the status quo to achieve a better end.
Future-focused—Engaging with the changing nature of work and the role of technology in shaping organizations and the skills required of workers over time, and taking responsibility for charting a human-first approach. A Charter organization also values the contributions of younger generations of the workforce and their voice in where organizations and work—and society more broadly—are headed.
As with other charters, this one will be amended and improved by many hands. We expect it to evolve based on further research and experimentation, and as the future comes into sharper focus. We welcome partners in shaping it.