Great office culture is critical for a thriving, scalable, and sustainable organization. In my years of working with CEOs on shaping their office culture, I’ve identified a few key traits that are important across the board. Actually, these few items make for a really cool culture.
Defined Core Values
First and foremost, great office culture requires a set of core values that the entire team buys into and that shape your company’s culture statement. Now, when I say “core values” I am not talking about things like honesty, integrity, etc. Those should be a given in every organization.
Core values that your team can really get behind are the handful of values that truly define your organization. They should be values that are actionable and clear. Some examples include:
- Thought leadership
- Create remarkable experience
- Attract the best talent
- Commitment to greatness
- Clients come first
- Have fun
- Whatever we do, do it best
Work with your team to identify the values that really define your organization (probably not more than five). From there, create a culture statement that everyone can live by. Remember, culture applies to all your stakeholders – it is how you work together as a team internally, and how you treat your employees, clients, suppliers and the communities where you live and work.
I see so many companies just come in and do the same thing day after day, expecting different results. But as the saying goes, “nothing changes if nothing changes.” Defining clear goals is a key step toward creating a great office culture.
In order to live by a strong culture statement, you need to have clear goals in place as well as a defined way to execute on them. Without defined, measurable goals that the entire organization buys into and knows how to execute on, it is extremely difficult to move your organization forward.
Importantly, a great office culture provides opportunities for your employees to come up with ideas – simple, innovative or anything in between – to help the organization. Encourage and welcome what they bring to the table.
Fun and Flexible Work Environment
There are now five generations in the workforce: Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Gen Z. Each generation has different ways of communicating, different ways of working, and different expectations from their employers for compensation, benefits, and advancement.
A key element to creating great office culture and helping to appeal to the various generations in your workforce is to create a fun and flexible work environment. A few ideas include:
- Try to make the space fun. It allows for greater creativity and collaboration.
- Where appropriate, let people work remotely. If they get their work done on time and with high quality, does it really matter if they are in an office (likely a cube) or at home? Working from home isn’t for everyone, but it can make a huge difference in motivation and focus for a lot of people. Plus, it can help with office space.
- Post your goals and objectives in a common area. Using colorful markers for measurable progress, fill in the progress as you move forward. People love to see a thermometer or equivalent so that they can see their hard work paying off.
- Make sure your culture and vision statements are around the office to remind people. Out of sight, out of mind – you want everyone to remember what they stand for.
- Bring in breakfast or lunch once a month. Food brings people together for conversation – work and personal – which creates a more cohesive team. Other things to do to make things fun are a popcorn machine, monthly potluck, etc.
Don’t forget to reward your team with fun experiential activities (and this is more than a holiday party). When you achieve major milestones, go celebrate. Get outside and find different ways to experience nature. Go race cart racing, play miniature golf, go to an escape room, etc. These activities are a good way to say thank you, they bond your team, and they contribute to a great work culture.
A fabulous office culture will help you retain and attract great employees. They will be more productive and bring more ideas to the table to help move the needle forward in your organization.
Need help creating a great office culture? Let me know.
By Blair Koch