What comes to mind when you think of culture? Maybe it’s a contemporary art gallery, local cuisine or the social etiquette peculiar to a group of people. Culture is a natural by-product of people grouping together to pool resources and live together to better their chances of survival against the outside world. It’s developed over time – its idiosyncrasies passed down unwittingly between people. Office culture is just the same: a set of values, beliefs and norms shared by a group with a common objective. As well as dictating how the group functions, office culture defines how the group is perceived to the outside world. We’ll discuss why office culture is important – even for stationery suppliers – and how to build a strong office culture that’ll keep your employees happy and increase your bottom line.
A solid organisational structure is paramount to your business’ longevity.
Having a strong office culture is essential if your business is to survive against competitors and cruel market forces. It’s tied in closely with a structured organisational design – that is, how your business and staff communicate, collaborate, reward and incentivise, measure performance and organise meetings. It’s your values, beliefs and attitudes put into practice, as we expand upon in our guide. Without this solid structure and culture, your company has no backbone with which to withstand internal and external challenges.
A strong culture will attract and retain the right people, and make your business more profitable.
“Employees are a company’s greatest asset”, as ex-Xerox CEO Anne Mulcahy emphasised. Your staff both define your office culture and require it. Not only does your culture help attract the right people, your office culture is instrumental in keeping staff happy and motivated. A poorly defined culture risks attracting the wrong type of employee to your business, increasing the chance that you’ll lose that staff member and have to spend time and money finding someone else. Research carried out at the Northern Illinois University, published in the Journal of Service Research, found that offices with low staff turDecer were four times more profitable than businesses with high staff turDecer – a pretty convincing argument to support strong office culture.
A strong culture will ensure a strong brand.
In addition to the positive impact on profitability and staff morale, a strong office culture is crucial to building a strong brand. A brand that knows what it is and who they are will attract the type of people who will turn into loyal customers and enthusiastic brand advocates. Apple is a great example of this – you’ve only got to look at the commotion surrounding the release of each of their iPhones to see this. While your business might not enjoy the dizzying fandom enjoyed by Steve Jobs’ baby, a solid office culture and brand will ensure that you attract and find the customers and suppliers you want and need.
A simple survey will give you a sense of what your current office culture is.
So how do you build a sturdy office culture? Firstly, build on what you already have. Even if you’ve never considered the personality and characteristics of your company, now is the time to start psychoanalysing your brand and business. Send out a survey to all your staff and get them to write down what they think the defining characteristics, values and beliefs of your business are, as well as what they’d like them to be. Get them to write down a list of buzz-words, then gather the responses and pinpoint any emerging patterns.
Build upon the foundation of what you already have.
There’s no sense trying to force a culture upon your organisation – it must build on what’s already there. Implementing it is less of a doing and more of a letting be. If everyone in your organisation is aware of the values and ideals that make up the culture, it’ll be easy for your staff to apply and live by them. It’ll also be easy for you, when hiring, to spot potential employees with a similar mind set.
Stationery suppliers OfficeBox understand the importance of a strong office culture. We’re shaking up the way things are done in the stationery suppliers industry. If you’d like to find out more about making your business an amazing place to work, download our guide: Office Psychology: How to create workspaces employees love.
Image Credit: Talent Culture