7th November, 2018
Every company and organisation has a culture, but not everyone realises the depth of impact it can have on productivity as well as how your business is perceived as a place to work.
Some companies put effort into improving their culture, while others let their culture run itself passively.
If you’re running an SME, you’ll often find that taking a proactive interest in improving your business’s culture can be the key to setting your workplace apart.
Developing a strong, unique company culture is important because it can transform the environment of a workplace from being dry, meaningless and burdensome, into a well-oiled machine that brings people together and adds quality to the lives of its employees and associates.
While there are many different approaches to creating a unique company culture, one approach that has stood out to me was that of a marketing business called Hardhat Digital.
This creative agency has been around for over a decade and has successfully adapted a unique and meaningful culture that their employees identify with, embrace and grow with on a daily basis.
When asked about the company’s unique work culture, Hardhat’s CEO Justin Kabbani told The Pulse that the company’s entire culture focuses on having fun while working.
“We’re in it for the fun,” Kabbani told The Pulse. “When we started out, we primarily created a job for ourselves – a place where we could always enjoy going to work – and so we try and make sure that every culture decision fits with our idea of a place that we would want to work at.”
READ: R U OK? Building a positive workplace culture
Another benefit of adapting a unique work culture to a business is the fact that it makes people enjoy coming to work.
“The main benefit that we derive from our work culture is that we love going to work at our own business every day.
“That is so important, because there are enough challenges thrown at you as a business owner that at least you can rely on your culture to ensure that you will enjoy the journey.”
In addition to mindset and attitude, unique work cultures can seep into to the most external elements of the workplace, including the office space itself.
For example, the Hardhat office space has a basketball court – putting emphasis on the idea of play and teamwork being a part of work. It also has a whiskey bar – to encourage celebration of accomplishments.
On top of all that, the office has one ‘noodle’ style desk that snakes its way through the entire office space where everyone (from the CEO to an intern) sits – showing that everyone is in it together.
READ: It’s just not cricket: how to put the brakes on when culture turns toxic
They even have two office dogs roaming around the office, because – well, who doesn’t love an on-demand cuddle from a friendly dog?
While it might seem a little far-fetched for a small business to go ahead and build a basketball court to improve their work culture, drawing inspiration from these kinds of ideas can put you on the pathway to making significant improvements in your own way.
While implementing a unique work culture might sound glorious, it can come with its own set of challenges.
According to Kabbani, the biggest challenge lies in maintaining the purity of spirit within the company’s culture.
“The challenges come when you have people who are great at their job, but just won’t accept your values or who make you stray from what you know to be your culture.
“You may be tempted to keep them around because you love their work, but in time they will erode everything you hold dear.”
As a result, Kabbani believes that taking steps to enhance your company culture is a case of ‘no pain, no gain’.
“This is one of the toughest, but most important decisions you will make as a business owner.”