How to Create and Maintain Company Culture
What is company culture? And how does it impact your business and workplace? Your company culture is essentially the values and beliefs that your business is built on; How does your business behave towards clients and employees? How does it present it’s personality to the outside world? What are your core company values that dictate the way you carry out business? The essence of your company culture lies in the answers to these questions and it will be a foundation and driver to the decisions and actions that are made within your organisation.
So why is it important to cultivate a strong and positive company culture? Well to put it simply, your brand culture will dictate how employees and clients view and interact with your business - which ultimately affects financial performance. Successful organisations are constantly considering how people perceive and talk about their brand and that’s because a business cannot succeed without hard-working employees and loyal customers. If you think about the companies who are constantly attracting the best talent to their workforce or the dream, high-paying clients: the Googles, Air BnBs and Netflixs of the world, they seem almost tribe-like to outsiders. They have created such unique and effective company cultures that people are queuing up to work for and with them. So how can you emulate these strategies for success in your business?
If you consider a company as four components, being: people, environment, output and consumer, you can begin to understand the areas in which you need to be managing and promoting company culture. So who are you attracting to your workforce? What environment are you creating for your employees to keep them enthusiastic about working for you? How is this environment meeting their needs so that they can continually do their best work and increase output? And what brand message is your company putting out to clients?
Although there are many paths to consider when curating brand character across all areas in your organisation, from marketing strategy to the language used when writing an email, the best organisations undoubtedly understand the importance of using inspiring and thoughtfully-designed environments as a tool to create and maintain an over-arching effective company culture. For most employees, productivity and enthusiasm toward their job comes from a feeling of being valued and cared for and the environment in which they work has a big part to play in their overall job satisfaction and productivity levels.
Unfortunately there are some mistakes that many companies are making time and again when trying to design their offices to promote company culture. Slapping the walls with company logos, using brand colours throughout, buying a foosball table and putting some beanbags around the place are not necessarily going to be effective methods in creating an inspiring and inclusive workplace that supports productivity and communicates company ethos. To achieve truly brilliant office interior design, which works successfully as part of your organisation’s culture-creating strategy, a designer needs to evaluate the true spirit and specific goals of your company.
When re-designing a workspace environment you’ll have the opportunity to work with professionals to gain insight into your existing organisational culture, define desired culture and create designs that expressly facilitate the changes that need to be made. The Haworth white paper, titled How to Create a Successful Organisational Culture: Build It – Literally, says “to encourage change and positive growth, the first step is to analyse the existing culture. Even if an organisation is relatively satisfied with its culture, assessment is still important to provide a common language for a conversation about current culture, workspace, and direction for the future. It’s typical to discover a difference between existing and desired culture, so diagnosis is critical in order to effectively implement a space that both supports desired culture and helps create ideal working environment.”
The desired company culture is then going to effect every aspect of a workspace design from colours and materials used to overall spatial layout and functionality of smaller areas within the space. There are many elements to consider in order to achieve an effective design; it will be necessary to analyse individual personalities within a team, workflow of employees, cross-team collaboration, ratios of individual and group spaces, environmental psychology, and more. Plus it’s important to recognise that design strategies may need to vary across different areas to support subcultures within an organisation. For example, although there will always need to be an over-arching dominant culture, the subculture and needs of your marketing or design team may differ from those of your finance team.
It is critical to identify and integrate the various values, requirements, beliefs and behaviours of the people in your organisation in order to meet company goals. Different teams and subcultures will require different methods to work efficiently and harmoniously. In recent times, the copy cat trend has been for open plan office layouts but this isn’t going to be successful for every organisation so spatial layout plus workstation design needs to be carefully thought out with consideration to unique individual and team needs. For example, for a company who’s culture is focused on collaboration a high ratio of group and informal spaces may indeed be beneficial. Whereas, organisations who thrive on stability and control of internal procedure may require more structured layouts with an increased number of quiet or enclosed spaces.
By taking the time to examine and understand the requirements of the people and teams within your workplace alongside your business goals and values, it is possible to make intentional and founded design decisions that enhance performance and both employee and client perceptions of your organisation. Culture can sometimes be difficult for a company to define and articulate but gaining perspective from an external professional can be helpful in beginning to understand what it can look like for your business and indeed how it can be linked and achieved through workspace design. The impact of brand culture is far reaching; it influences process, productivity, employee retention, client attraction, output quality, reputation and ultimately the bottom line. This is why successful organisations view their workspace as an asset to drive performance rather than a cost.
If you’re ready to take the next step in becoming a forward-thinking company that is focused on engaging employees and attracting customers through positive company culture, you can read more about how we use insight and research to provide effective interior design on our services page or contact us to find out how we could work together to transform your workspace.