Some time ago, when people talked about “company culture”, the first thing that came to mind was a fancy games room, comfortable chairs, colorful walls and “casual Friday”. It seemed, at some point, that perks and amenities were the only things that defined the culture of a company. Most companies have, however, come a long way from that simplistic definition and are acknowledging the need for a well-thought-out and inclusive company culture.
Diversity is one of the key words of our times, and it is not just a trend: it is a social need that has come to stay. Organizations willing to thrive in this new era must work hard to create a diverse and open work environment. In this regard, Virtualmind, through its People Care department, has established a diversity policy, with the aim of “building and keeping a culture where people and its individual differences are respected, valued and included”. Each individual difference can be the key to working better, finding new and innovative solutions and enriching the daily work.
The quality of the work environment is another element that contributes to the company culture. These days, “work environment” involves a lot more than just the physical space at the office, considering that a great number of employees are working from home. Companionship, collaboration and understanding of each person’s particular family and home situation has become vital to making the remote way of working, effectively, work. Virtualmind mentions, among the pillars of its policies, the need to create growth opportunities that are equal for every employee, treating every person with respect and care.
At the same time, companies should know that culture is “a living thing” that is constantly evolving and changing. That is why, having a continuous improvement system as part of the company culture is highly necessary. When asking the People Care department in Virtualmind about this, they mentioned that innovation and continuous improvement are two of the key elements they encourage as company values. “We encourage creativity and innovative solutions coming from all the members in our team.” Leaders and managers should keep this in mind constantly: in order to remain current and effective, company culture should never be taken for granted.
One final way to ensure that the company culture is being effective and that employees are satisfied with it is, however obvious, asking them. Frequent -and well-planned- staff surveys are a good way of receiving feedback and knowing if there are adjustments to be made. Sometimes, what may seem as a positive change for some, may not be so good for others; and, at the same time, small actions taken after listening to employees’ requests can improve the company climate significantly.
Company culture may not be something completely “tangible”, but it certainly has a strong influence on the final product that the client sees. It is the glass through which daily work is seen by the employees, and it may lighten their work or make it harder. Organizations should never ignore or take company culture for granted. On the contrary: they should always be on the lookout, trying to strengthen what works well and correct what does not.