Flexible office space offerings have been evolving to service various lifestyles and values of modern businesses, particularly in fast-paced cities such as London. As a new start-up or SME in a shared office space, you might not know how to strengthen your company culture or perhaps you haven’t had the time to identify your company values. Do you select employees based on their personal values? How easy is it for new employees to adjust to your company culture? Here we discuss how to successfully strengthen your company culture and the importance of employee assimilation, in an open office environment.
Let’s start by identifying the aspects of company culture. There is the material, social and ideological. Material culture: refers to anything that employees may achieve or make and the ways in which they exchange goods or services with others. Social: refers to an organisation’s class distribution of power and distinctions of members’ roles. Ideological: refers to the organisation’s core beliefs and values including emotional intelligence and human interaction guidelines. From identifying these various aspects of culture, it is apparent that it can be more complex depending on the nature of the business and where it is built.
It’s usually up to the founder of the company to set the standard and core values of the business. Start out by discussing core values with any mentors or other cofounders you may have. Try to write down the top core values. Most include some ethical virtues such as candour and respect. Then, depending on the nature of your business, material values will differ. For example, an architect company would value specific procedures and principles to ensure safe buildings are built. Quality control requires reliable tools, good communication, attention to detail and more. Whatever your business, it’s assuring to clarify with your employees that they follow good principles and that customers can rely on good value for their investment.
Overall, the purpose of your company may define your company culture. Make sure you not only communicate the core values but also live them out. They need to be inclusive for all of your employees and diversity. To build it, you must invest in it so that it can grow.
Continue to set good examples and plan company events often. Get to know your employees after work hours when they can express themselves outside of a professional business environment. A conversation outside of direct work-related issues can spark creativity, good humour and team bonding. It’s important to invest in social culture for maintaining a positive office environment and happy employees, both good values to have.
In addition, to employee wellbeing, you may want to accommodate hot beverage lovers with a coffee machine; bicyclists with locker rooms and showers; home cookers with a fridge for leftovers; and any other special requirements. Investing in material values is important for making your employees’ workflow more convenient. However, these expenses can add up greatly, which is why many startups and small business are choosing flexible serviced offices.
These points are always great reminders because company culture takes a lot of effort to nurture and sometimes, we forget what’s actually important to prioritise.
You’ve heard it before, trust is the foundation of a long-lasting relationship. Building trust from the get-go is crucial to making your new employee feel welcomed and dependable. In a small business, social structures will be more intimate compared to large corporate headquarters, so kickstart the relationship building by introducing them to all their co-workers.
These days, transparency is important for not only brand reputation but also company culture, because Corporate Social Responsibility encompasses a great deal. This goes in-line with good communication. Keep transparent about the company’s operations and supply chain.
Check that they understand all their job responsibilities, what they will entail and their purpose in the business…the organisational structure. Depending on their job experience, a mentor whether it be the person they are replacing or a co-worker they would be sitting next to could help them build confidence quickly. Provide them with all the proper tools or equipment so that they can dive in. So, prepare that new computer/laptop and any other important materials in advance. The extra effort will help them learn quickly and feel more welcomed.
A collaborative environment values teamwork and sharing skills to help each other work efficiently. One employee could be wasting time trying to figure a complex problem while another employee is sitting around with some valuable advice that could help generate a solution quicker. Tacit assets are the most valuable and mainly lie in your employees’ minds and skills. Promoting collaboration will help get creative and efficient solutions flowing in the company. The assimilation process will go smoother in a collaborative environment.
‘Assimilating’ can have negative connotations such as losing self-identity and giving up cultural values in the process of integrating with a group. However, this does not need to be the case for assimilating a new employee to the organisation. Many companies appreciate individuality and expect employees to keep their personal values, beliefs, interests, hopes, dreams, goals, loves etc. In a globalised business environment with such diversity to embrace, it can sometimes be difficult to collaborate. Thus, it’s important to share clear, specific goals so that your employees can work as a team to achieve common goals. A newcomer will be more motivated to assimilate their ambitions and apply their skills to achieve the company’s goal if it is clearly communicated.
Employees may be more willing to assimilate their values if they are encouraged to give input and can be confident that their ideas will be considered. It should be a bidirectional process, just as any relationship has two sides. Be open to feedback and get to know more about your new employee’s personal values. Simply talking about the company values can help your employee come to understand them which part of the assimilation process. They, in turn, might challenge the company to expand upon its values or to rethink them for the better.
At Unity Working, our flexible office spaces unify work and life for businesses of all sizes that value work-life balance. We accommodate companies that want to personalise their office space so we welcome you to decorate your office walls with your brand logo and values. Your office. Your space. Your brand.
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