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Company Culture: What It Means and How to Identify Yours

So you’ve heard a lot about company culture, but you think it’s a waste of time and money or a bit of a fad - maybe even, a sham? 

You don’t need to necessarily invest in pilates classes, table tennis tables, hammocks or bean bags to create a positive company culture, in fact, if you explore your culture properly, you’re more likely to see you really don’t need those things to improve your culture.

What is company culture?

“Company culture is the personality of a company. It defines the environment in which employees work. Company culture includes a variety of elements, including work environment, company mission, value, ethics, expectations, and goals.”

Source: The Balance Careers 

SMEs can often feel like these things are ‘beyond’ them as an organisation because they have much smaller resources, smaller finances, smaller teams, they tend to see themselves as ‘too small’ to need to consider their company culture.

At Thrive we felt exactly the same, until very recently. 

Then we realised just how much value we could get from exploring and identifying our company culture. 

Exploring Thrive’s company culture

Generally speaking, our company has always been a positive place to work, providing a safe, encouraging environment for our staff to develop their skills. We’re proud, as an SME, to have two long-serving members of staff who have been with us ‘since the early days’ (over five years) and they are one of the reasons we chose to really explore what company culture means. 

There are also staff members that have ‘come and gone’, some of whom we maintain fantastic relationships with and who remain a part of our company’s foundations because of their brilliant input and contributions to our company. But it is the fact they moved on and our team has had to ‘flex and grow’ that we realised we should address culture. 

Although we’ve always been consciously aware of creating a positive environment, we’ve never ‘made anything official’ or outlined exactly what we want our employees’ working environment to be. It’s that uncertainty that we decided needed to be taken away. 

We have developed our own Company Culture workshop internally that allows small teams to explore what they want their company to be and how they can realistically be supported to achieve these goals and aspirations. 

Thrive has a strong, recognised North East brand but we’ve never truly defined what it means to be a Thrive employee, we don’t have a mission statement, vision or values outlined, although we had a good idea what they would be, it wasn’t uniform and ingrained in every employees’ mind.

It’s this unstructured approach that ultimately means a company needs a company culture review. 

About Thrive’s Company Culture workshop

Our workshop allows teams to come together and identify what’s important to them as employees, as departments and as a whole company, being mindful to consider everyone’s point of view - there are no wrong answers in creative sessions such as these. 

It then brings these ideas together to define a mission statement, vision and values, as well as for deciding how these changes will be implemented, measured and reviewed regularly.

Exploring your company culture?

  • Start by speaking with senior management in an open and safe setting, where there is no fear or judgement, about what they like about the company they work for and how they see it developing for the better, and not just for them, but for the wider team. 
  • Discover where your business is falling down in terms of reaching goals - the culture at your workplace may be a key part of why performance isn’t as strong as you’d hope.
  • Embrace the process with a positive, proactive mindset and commit to carrying out the recommended, realistic, value-driven changes company-wide. The benefits could be invaluable.

If you’d like to speak to Thrive about our bespoke Company Culture workshop and how it might value your business, please don’t hesitate to reach out and we’d be happy to share our findings and framework.  

Find more like this via Office Life. 

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