The workplace should not be something that people dread every day but rather employees should look forward to going to their job. In fact, they should find it difficult to leave because they enjoy the challenges, co-workers and atmosphere they are surrounded by on a daily basis. While the work itself may be challenging and difficult at times, the company culture shouldn’t add to this stress. As on the contrary, the culture should be designed to alleviate any work-related stress. This is why company culture matters to sustain employee enthusiasm and engagement.
Therefore maintaining an effective culture is so important that it, in fact, trumps even strategy. With the current global pandemic affecting the traditional set up for many organisations, company culture has become more important than ever to ensure that employees are making sure they have both a fun and productive working environment during these unprecedented times.
As culture can also be used a recruiting tool, we spoke with Katy Volkwein, HR Coordinator at ADvendio, to get her understanding of the importance of company culture, an insight into ADvendio’s company culture and how she can ensure employees are remaining engaged especially during these strange circumstances we are globally facing.
An Introduction to Company Culture
How would you define company culture?
Company culture is what provides the context for everything the business does. I would broadly describe it as the values and beliefs proposed by the leaders of an organization regarding how they would like their company to run, which is communicated to employees to ultimately shape their perceptions, behaviors and understanding.
How would you describe ADvendio’s company culture?
I personally would describe ADvendio’s culture as friendly, one where you can witness employees interacting with one another in a positive way. It is also challenging as the employees are encouraged to explore the full potential of their skill-set, which is combined with an autonomous way of work, therefore, we trust that our people take ownership in their projects, and something that is hugely important especially in an international company such as ADvendio, where your manager may not always be in the same room yet alone same country and time zone.
At the same time there is a lot of teamwork at ADvendio, where the various departments collaborate effectively across borders and time-zones in order to accomplish mutual goals. For us, it is also important to have a good work-life balance. We have some full-time home-based employees, and the remainder of our employees can work from home as needed. Due to the current pandemic situation, all ADvendio staff are currently working from home and we make sure that everybody has the required work supplies in order to perform as expected.
Hiring People Who Fit Your Culture
When hiring for ADvendio, what do you look for as a right fit?
When hiring for ADvendio I make sure that, besides having the right technical skills, the candidate is someone that has a sense of ownership with their projects, somebody that can do their work independently and self-organized, as we operate across a number of different locations and time-zones and managers are not always sitting next to you telling you what to do and how to do it.
With teamwork and motivation also being very important in our recruitment, a key factor that we look for is people with a good spirit that will contribute to maintaining a good and friendly environment within teams. We believe our employees should also be adaptable because this particular market and industry changes regularly and people have to be open to that.
In your opinion, why is company culture important for ADvendio employees?
The culture of a company is key for employees, as these days people don’t just work for a paycheck at the end of the month, but it is hugely important that the culture of a company is one that they want to work for and matches their own values and expectations. If they have a social responsibility plan, particularly work-life balance priorities, annual leave requirements and more. To answer your question, the image that a company projects, which is given by the culture and values, is very important for candidates when they make a decision to join or not to join a company.
How To Ensure Company Culture
What kind of activities does ADvendio organise to ensure company culture?
As stated previously, company culture ultimately refers to the personality of a company. It defines the environment in which employees work and can include a variety of elements such as work environment, company mission, vision, values, expectations, ethics and goals.
It is important to maintain a strong company culture throughout the organisation and in my opinion something that is very important to keep your employees happy while ensuring they engage in the vision and values which are at the core of ADvendio.
At ADvendio, we ensure a strong company culture by providing strong employee welfare such as good work-life balance, benefits, regular training and development, bonus schemes and much more. We also host regular events for team bonding and various meals throughout the year, for example, Christmas parties, Summer BBQs and much more.
During COVID-19, how has ADvendio ensured employees remain engaged?
These days, when everybody is working from home and trying to keep the pieces of their lives together, it is key for us to make our culture and identity strong. For us, it is important that all our employees feel the support from ADvendio and they feel that we are there for them. We make sure that everyone has the basic equipment and technology required to do their job. Also, as we are not seeing each other in the offices every day, we miss the social interaction and the daily “chitchat” when you are preparing your coffee at the start of the day, as well as lunchtime conversations and more. Therefore to feel connected with our colleagues, we established a so-called daily “virtual coffee break” (one AM and one PM). Whoever wants to connect with their coworkers can log in and chat about everything (the final episode of that Netflix show, weather, or whatever they have been up to during quarantine, etc.) in order to keep that social connection that is missing these days. When there is a birthday, we also use that occasion to “surprise” him/her and sing happy birthday. These are small gestures that people value and make them feel connected and engaged with the company while working remotely.