Bringing business content to life, such as the company vision, or a strategy or explaining a change in process perhaps, requires a great deal of skill and a level of creative thinking.
However, in all these instances, you are working with something which can be written down, described in words or pictures and is tangible.
But what about if it isn’t tangible? What if it’s your organisational culture you are trying to bring to life? How do you know you have achieved success?
How can you get something so intangible clearly understood by every single person in your organisation? No, scrap that, every single person that encounters your organisation?
On arrival at the building, the traditional battle with security – ‘Have you booked a space?’ ‘Can I see some ID?’ was noticeable by its absence. Instead there was a well sign-posted car park, featuring quirky icons for the various zones (a love heart for visitors – cute!)
On entering the office, after walking past a giant gorilla, visitors are greeted at a floating reception desk by a casually dressed receptionist who oozed warmth. Not the ‘I’ve been trained to smile like this’ type of warmth but genuine ‘I am really pleased you’re here today’ warmth.
The décor of the office is funky with a cheeky edge. Sheep on the stairs, giraffes on the landing and a floating shed meeting room. Employee perks were obvious. A pub (called the Dog and Bone – genius) a gym and individually designed wings of the office with themed artwork on the walls. Each employee has a dedicated desk which they can decorate themselves and they all get money to buy a desk lamp of their choice.
Now any company with the cash could design a funky office to rival this, but the the beauty of Moneypenny is that the culture lives in the people; the physical environment, whilst pleasing on the eye, isn’t the point.
The office design is in support of the company culture, not the other way around.
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This isn’t about putting in a ping-pong table and hoping one day someone will use it. Their culture has been around a lot longer than the new building and is based on simple family values. The staff were consulted on the design and it’s fun and friendly, because they are.
- People are recruited by attitude rather than skill set. The recruitment process is extensive and focuses on cultural fit above everything else.
- Teams work closely together and become tight knit so meeting for a drink in the ‘pub’ after work is a pleasure.
- Office requirements such as natural light, natural ventilation and lots of social spaces all came directly from employees. Even the footprint of the building was designed specifically to ensure employee desires were realised.
- Anything less than perfect performance is taken as a reflection of the quality of the leadership, team management or training and not on the individual. If an individual isn’t hitting the targets it’s because they haven’t been supported effectively, not that they are ‘poor performer’.
What these offices have above all else, is warmth. You literally feel it as you walk in. There is a genuine welcoming, homely feeling to the whole experience. It’s no accident.
This isn’t about putting a novelty pub in the office hoping people who don’t talk to each other normally will suddenly have the urge to share a pizza on a Friday night.
This isn’t about scrapping annual appraisals in the hope that inadequately trained managers will hold more regular, high quality coaching conversations.
This isn’t about gathering employee views and then ignoring them because there isn’t the budget or because implementing them is just too hard.
This is about fundamentally understanding the culture you want to create, and EVERY SINGLE THING being in line with that culture.
When a visitor to your office who knows nothing about your company can walk away absolutely clear about what your company does, what it stands for and why it is so successful. Then you know you have brought your company culture to life… and that warm glow stays with you for days.