The importance of Corporate Culture and how to implement it into the Office Environment...

Part of the: Office Fitout Collection

Increasing employee productivity is by no means a new concept and an area that gets a lot of attention when it comes to the office work environment. From designing open plan offices with the correct colour palette as to not over stimulate employees, but incorporating just enough to keep them motivated according to colour psychology, or the importance of plants in the office and natural light to keep employees stimulated- the list goes on, the fact is employee productivity is at the top of the list for most companies. However an area that is probably one of the most important when it comes to success in any office environment and one that won’t show up as a line item on the balance sheet or in the annual report is Corporate Culture.

Why is corporate culture so important?

The buzzword that each company is defined by but many people don’t even know exist, is quite frankly the DNA of any organisation. Corporate culture is like the companies personality, the formula that guides and glues the entire team, and is the one thing that makes each company unique. Corporate Culture is so important for a company as it not only outlines that way employees interact with one another internally but just as important is the way your company interacts with the outside world- clients, partners and suppliers. Corporate culture is also important as it helps make your company desirable for future employees, retains current employees, helps create a fun and dynamic environment and inspires employees to keep motivated. Although creating corporate culture may not be the golden ticket that sends your business straight to success, neglecting it is far more damaging and can result in delaying your companies’ long-term sustainability. Thus when it comes to validation for expenses towards culture think about the long term extra costs from a lack of culture than a direct ROI of investment. Interestingly, according to industry leaders short-term benefits such as end of year bonuses, light workloads or extended vacation time are not the top reasons why employees value their jobs but rather employees prefer perks with long term benefits instead. Here are some tips on how companies can incorporate Corporate Culture into the office environment.

Hiring the right people

Members of a community welcoming a new member.

Rule number 1- Hire the right people that are a cultural fit to your company but remember one size does not fit all. Hiring the right person for the job ofcourse sounds simple and yes a person who doesn’t fulfil his job is obviously not the right person and can hinder the success of your company, but hiring someone who isn’t right and doesn’t fit into the company’s ‘personality’ despite their hard working credentials can be just as harmful. However, this also doesn’t mean hiring a team of like-minded clones who are all the same. Combining a team of people from varying backgrounds, interests and talents creates challenges and facilitates conversations and ideas amongst work employees and is far more productive than everyone simply agreeing with one another. Wiley Cerilli’s sales team at SinglePlatform discovered a few shortcuts to get the right people hired. "It's pretty obvious to us whether someones going to be the right fit for our culture just as how often the word "I" comes up in your interview with them, versus how often they talk about their team and how many team members' names come up," Cerilli says (article originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum)

Technology

tech

Thanks to technology the traditional 9-5 workday is being blurred allowing employees to become more mobile and flexible with work. Thus by offering this flexibility through flexible working hours and the option to work remotely can help those employees who juggle work and life. Additionally, using software tools and programs can help generate good ideas from employees that are more introverted and shy allowing those employees to share their ideas in a group environment. Entrepreneur and contributor Sarah Haselkorn suggests software tools like Attentiv which helps enable introverts and brings out the best ideas by giving your team a level field of participation or Sqwiggle which keeps your team in the loop regardless of distance.

Communication and Transparency

Another simple one yet so important for creating the right corporate culture is communication. Keeping employees up to date and in the loop about the company, where is it going, news etc with frequent communication is a constant reminder that they are part of a team. Adopting an open door policy is also a great way to create a flow of communication, accessibility, closer working relationships and fast access to information.

Recognise Success and Support Failure

Recognising success goes such a long way for employee satisfaction, morale and performance and 70% of employees say meaningful recognition of success actually has no dollar value. Some ideas for recognition can be in the form of certificates, cash or gift certificates, food or create a weekly email including photos that recognise people so employees get to know their work colleagues as well as promoting their success. However, supporting failure can also help create a better corporate culture. Whilst we don’t want employees to fail all the time eliminating the fear from failing can actually help employees think of the bigger picture and strive for bigger opportunities even with risk involved.

Build Trust

Lastly 90% of workers said honesty, trust and fairness were the most valued attributes in workplace relationships. Building trust within your company can be actively fostered by proactively building interpersonal relationships and regular communication amongst colleagues. Start meetings with a 'Take 5' approach, allowing teams to chat about anything for 5 minutes prior to a meeting to build relationships and encourage trust amongst employees.        
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