At Vanna we believe a sense of purpose and happiness are essential ingredients for any successful career. Checkout our Expert Advice, Great Companies, and Jobs - specifically designed to help millennials.

The Makings of Good Company Culture

Corporate DNA

A business may be known for its brand but it is company culture which will dictate its reputation in the marketplace for new employees. To attract the best candidates, it’s important to project the best image both externally and internally. Keeping internal employees happy is as good a marketing tool as any, as they will project that positivity outside the workplace.

Company culture goes a long way to improving employee gratification day to day. It’s not all about the perks and pleasures put on for staff but the simple policies and procedural constancies that can make such a difference to a day’s work. Breeding good culture takes effective leadership, holistic understanding and trust. It’s not as common as one might think so know what to look out for! Here are a few of our favourite company culture trends.

Personal Development Plans

Knowing your staff and knowing what they’re capable of is one thing, but keeping employees moving forward in the right direction for the company as well as the individual takes some strategising. Personal Development Plans project the career path that employees wish to follow. Giving employees the opportunity to map out how they’d like to move from A to B within a company under the guidance of managers, mentors or team leaders is invaluable.

With more growth and experience, doors open internally and it’s reassuring for staff to know that the right ambition and focus will result in an upward momentum. A company needs to harness the strengths of their internal teams and, by assisting with individual development programmes, clear goals are set and parameters defined.

‘Three sixty’ reviews are an annual manifestation now for companies and employees alike to feedback on hardships, successes and frustrations. Identifying areas of growth are made that much easier when gaining perspective from those working around you. There is always room for improvement and companies should be cultivating staff every step of the way.

CSR

Upholding Corporate Social Responsibility is fast trending as a key factor in a company’s likability. Being environmentally conscious, engaging important outreach initiatives to local and greater communities, respecting and valuing staff, playing by the rules and setting an example in areas of ethics and moral high ground, are all key factors of significant corporate social responsibilities.

Employees want to be proud of where they work, to be a part of something that makes a difference, that projects a positive impact and that creates much more good than harm.

Team building

The term makes many of us cringe. Team Building often implies that awkward day where everyone shows up in jeans and we get to work on menial tasks in pre-selected groups that later uncovers our strengths and weaknesses. Personally, I’d rather schedule my root canal in lieu of attending these offsites. It’s safe to say, however, that corporates are cottoning onto the cringe-worthiness of these events and slowly taking a different approach.

While it might be important to remind everyone that our different strengths are important for different reasons, it’s as easily communicated in a short preamble. “Thank you for your amazing efforts – your varied strengths make for a very dynamic team and for that we are so proud and so grateful.” Followed by tenpin bowling. Or bubble football. Or a meditation class! Something colleagues do together in an inoffensive environment and can later talk about or reflect on, share photos or recount the event just like they might in any other social situation.

The term “team building” no longer has to imply shoving everyone into a loathsome exercise to create some sense of solidarity. Humans tend to do this on their own in the right social circumstance. Maybe let’s abolish the “team building” term all together and just call it play time.

Autonomy

This isn’t something that can be gifted by a company to its employees, it needs to be earned. Earning the respect and trust of both your employers and colleagues that you’ll get the job done. It suggests that you’re capable and devoted and that your time is your own to manage. Working from home might be an option occasionally. Having flexi-time to come in early and leave a little earlier or vice versa. It’s the level of autonomy where you establish your working day around your workload. It’s the pinnacle of work life balance and something so many of us are striving for.

Companies structure employee autonomy differently. Some might favour time in lieu or working from home or some might allocate a percentage of your working hours to be spent on personal projects each month. It’s becoming more and more popular to give employees hours within the working week to pursue some of their own goals. These may be projects aligned with company objectives that need to be accomplished onsite but they will be initiatives driven, directed and credited to the individual.

Passion projects or personal interests can be explored on company time using company resources. Elevating employee’s interests within the realm of the workplace is a really invigorating concept. This is a mutually beneficial, idea generating and unmatched motivational asset that most companies can implement fairly easily.

Recognition

Celebrate the wins, big and small. These don’t need to be extravagant nights out that involve a karaoke catamaran up the harbour. Call a staff meeting and hand out verbal, meaningful kudos to deserving staff that helped win a pitch or close a deal or sign a client. Call them out. Shake their hand. Say thank you.

This stuff may sound obvious but so many companies overlook the small gestures that make us feel good. Celebrate the staff meeting with cookies and send everyone on their way. The odd team brunch or beer or early finish is a great way to reinvigorate hard-working employees. Instil a sense of value in staff by rewarding them with your acknowledgement.

Fostering individual growth

Offering employees development opportunities is vital for company expansion and momentum. Introducing staff to new engaging areas applicable to their role or to the company’s progression will only catapult value-add longer term. Employees will have their own pursuits applicable to their role and encouraging that personal growth will only add to the wealth of knowledge a company keeps.

Investing in staff instils the faith that you have in them and what they can do for the company longer term. So where possible, companies should offer courses or educational grants, bring in experts to talk about applicable topics, host seminars on a broad variety of topics, encourage public speaking or presentation skills. It is a great way to inspire staff and motivate them through their own skills and accomplishments.

Good culture

Research suggests that creating good culture is more beneficial than creating company strategy. An impassioned workforce will drive everything your company needs. And with the right direction, a motivated team are unstoppable!

Sueanne Parker

Writer, Production specialist, Creative enthusiast.

9 min read

Read these next

Topical > Related topics

Can we send you a helpful email?

More articles like this one, jobs and insightful company profiles that give you everything you need to succeed.