- Does the culture of your company matter?
- Should you care if your employees enjoy coming to work and spending the lion’s share of their week working for your business?
- Does paying attention to workplace culture actually help you attracting employees, retaining amazing people, and improve performance and your overall bottom line?
The answer to all of these questions is a resounding YES!!
As Frances Frei and Anne Morriss of the Harvard Business Review put it: “Culture guides discretionary behavior and it picks up where the employee handbook leaves off. Culture is our guide. Culture tells us what to do when the CEO isn’t in the room, which is, of course, most of the time.”
The culture of a business is not the work we do. Rather, it is what ultimately makes doing the work not only worthwhile but fun and enjoyable, too! You can take great satisfaction in deploying amazing integrated marketing campaigns…but, shouldn’t you also like WHERE you do it and with whom?
We have taken a lot of time defining our culture at Avocet (and, of course, it’s an organic process that changes over time). It has a lot to do with our “Why”; WHY we do what we do, and WHY are we passionate about it. Part of the answer is, of course, the work itself; we LOVE marketing. Seriously, we eat, sleep, and dream about this stuff. Helping businesses grow by crafting spot-on strategies is where our heart is.
But, the other part of the answer is that we LOVE working here and with each other. We have implemented a number of internal, team-building rituals and programs that help us to interact with one another on a more personal level – to share, laugh, and release over a board game, a beer, or a plate of BBQ. We don’t just create specific spaces for these cultural moments either. Every day we have moments of levity among the fast-paced action of agency life.
We have developed a culture where it’s always okay to fail, where we encourage outside-of-the-box thinking and bold moves. Ours is a culture where we celebrate wins, encourage attempts at reaching for the stars, and where our individual skill sets and personalities are encouraged. We have made a promise to one another to always take the time to listen and to always engage in productive and healthy problem-solving.
I am always inspired by other companies that care about their office culture as much as I do. And, there are PLENTY! I often get great ideas from my colleagues and from Avocet clients that I then bring back to the team and implement. One of those folks is Scott Sutton, president and founder of Unser Karting and Events, an indoor karting attraction.
I highly recommend listening to Scott’s appearance on the Integrate & Ignite podcast where he and I talk about creating and maintaining a company culture, about how to inspire passion in your team, and about the important difference between staffing for fit vs. staffing for skills.