When asked to describe your company’s work culture, you boast to your friends about the infinite carb-filled sweetmeats, plush sleeping pods, and the infinite supply of *insert appropriate beverage*. They nod approvingly, while inwardly wishing it was them instead who got the chance to work in a company with a pool table. However, it is not these material things which make a company culture.
As nice as it may feel to brag about your hip working space, we all know that having unlimited leave and Instagrammable breakout spots mean little when you work in a toxic and exhausting environment that generates more drama than a badly scripted soap opera.
Sure, based on cool perks and benefits, people will form impressions about what the working culture might be like. However, company culture is complex, layered and an integral part of a company’s core identity. An intangible concept which permeates across all facets of a company and influences everything – from interactions between employees to overarching company policies.
All the perks and benefits in the world would not be an adequate cover up for a rotten company culture. A company devoid of a culture, with no guiding principles to dictate its myriad aspects, would simply collapse. With a robust company culture in place, a company would not be able to pursue and achieve its desired goals.
COMPANY CULTURE AND ORGANISATIONAL SUPPORT
Waxing poetic about a company’s culture means little unless it is practised and reinforced by one and all, from the interns to the C-suite. Build a concrete company culture by drawing up actionable, measurable steps in order to achieve it. Remove company culture – an integral part of a corporation’s personality, and you would be left with a husk, as best.
Rather than pushing out feel-good catchphrases, company leaders should conduct themselves in a way that serves as a gold standard for other employees. Take for instance Netflix, whose controversial company culture (available for access on the public domain), is set in stone, practiced across the entire hierarchical structure, and reinforced by senior management.
COMPANY CULTURE AND EMPLOYEE HAPPINESS
In a healthy company culture, all talents are nurtured, celebrated, and provided with ample opportunities to grow and prove their worth. In an inclusive working environment where everyone gets to thrive, there is no room for toxic office-related politics and unhealthy workplace rivalries. Being part of a bonded, close-knit team would actually mean something, as opposed to working environments where people treat each other as desk-mates.
If you fail to take care of the people who work for you, you can expect high levels of employee burnout, turnover and soaring attrition rates. Employee dissatisfaction and resentment would be the norm.
COMPANY CULTURE AND PUBLIC IMAGE
If your company’s working culture is nothing short of hellish, don’t be surprised when your disgruntled employee “spill the tea” about the torturous times they endured. And they won’t just talk to their inner circle. Consequently, you might find companies wanting to keep their distance from you, if you become the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.
The people or entities you choose to do business with, the products you endorse and the clients you represent – are all an extension of your company culture. The businesses you choose to associate with should share some of your own corporate culture and values, and act as a stepping stone towards achieving your overall organisational goals. Mutant follows its own advice in this respect – in the past, we have turned down potential clients due to their moral bankruptcy and questionable practices.
Work with people who can reinforce the narrative you want to build. For instance, if you boast of a diverse and inclusive company culture, yet continue to fraternise with people or organisations that are prejudiced in any way or form, you will be perceived as inconsistent and hypocritical.
MUTANT’S (AWESOME) COMPANY CULTURE
Mutant offers plenty of material perks. We have relaxed dress codes, because we believe that productivity and capability trumps adherence to unnecessary rules. One of our directors brings his pet to the office, so we can take a break and indulge in a little fun by posting Instagram Stories of ourselves interacting with them.
The real ‘perk” is Mutant’s wholesome and close-knit, family-style corporate culture. As a mid-sized team, we have many opportunities to collaborate, working across teams to produce great results for our clients. While there may be a titular hierarchy, everyone’s voices are given equal weight and importance. Client brainstorms and kick-off meetings often see the younger employers more than hold their own.
If there is a problem that needs solving, we work on it together. Micromanaging people here isn’t the way we operate, because we trust people to be responsible for their time. However, we do nudge each other gently every now and then, if work piles up.