It’s one of the most open-ended questions there is – just how do you create a successful company culture? More specifically, how do you create a company culture that reflects your brand, your ethics and the people who work for you? Here are our top tips.
Have a clear brand identity
The foundation of any successful business is a strong brand. Your brand isn’t just defined by a few glossy business cards and a neatly designed website. It is made up of every element of your business that you portray to consumers. Essentially, it is the story of how you got to where you are today.
When you’re trying to get key stakeholders to buy into your business, how do you want it to look and feel? Think image, think tone of voice, think values – in other words, build a brand DNA. This is the first step towards developing your business and achieving your goals.
John Woosey, Founder and Managing Director of Ripe Insurance: We started out as an agency, and I like to think we still look and feel like that today. We’ve always had creative types and marketeers – it’s engrained in our DNA. Even though we’re an insurer, marketing drives what we do.
Our brand is bright and fresh and is designed to reflect how modern, confident and innovative we are as a business. Above all this, we’re knowledgeable and have specialist products. It’s easy to create a company culture around brand values like these.
Like a business, an employee needs a sense of identity in order to thrive. The reason you set up a business was to make a tangible difference to others, and the people who work for you will have the same motivation.
They don’t want to feel like mere cogs in a machine – they want to feel like they’re integral to the journey of your company. Empowering them not only makes them feel valued, it allows you to focus more on your own responsibilities.
JW: In a small business, people can see the difference they make and their actions can have a real impact on the fortunes of the company. In larger corporations, you can be lost.
At Ripe, quite a few of our staff have been with us for ten years or longer and I’d like to think they’re motivated enough to still be here because they feel they can make a difference.
Provide incentives to employees
As well as empowering your staff, providing incentives which recognise their value to your business is another great way of nurturing a motivated workforce.
Incentives create a culture of meritocracy and keep workers engaged in their jobs, which has two positive outcomes – 1) it ensures that your customers receive the best possible service and 2) it saves you money on hiring new employees.
When we say incentives, we don’t just mean handing out the occasional bonus or promotion. These days, companies are getting smarter in terms of how they reward their employees. Take Ripe as an example…
JW: We’ve recently introduced a Company Share Option Plan (CSOP) for key members of staff, which is designed to reward business success and engender loyalty. Employee incentive schemes such as this give you a better chance of attracting and retaining talent in the long run.
Create a feel-good factor
The cornerstone of a strong company culture is a feel-good environment. This factor is arguably even more critical in today’s business world, with millennial employees motivated by much more than just a 25-day holiday package and a decent salary. The bottom line is, your workers should feel like they can get out of bed in the morning to work for you.
Of course, you have to strike a balance between creating a positive working environment and ensuring productivity. There are a number of ways in which you can strategically create a positive working culture so that you don’t put profitability at risk.
JW: We have an office pool table which perfectly typifies our brand values – work hard, play hard. After all, it can’t all be work, work, work, there has to be an element of fun. Hopefully we’re playing our part to ensure our staff get their work-life balance just about right!
John Woosey founded the agency JRW Advertising & Design, now Ripe Insurance, back in 1989. Today, the business employs more than 60 people and has a turnover of over £10 million.
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