It may seem contradictory to have the words “fun” and “work” together in the same sentence, and for many it is. Work hard, play hard, right? In recent years, however, it has become increasingly obvious how important having a fun company culture is.
Your business’s culture should be as unique as a fingerprint – it defines how you do business and how others interpret your business. At LocknCharge, our culture reflects the way that we want our employees, customers, and partners to feel when they work with us – that we make their life easier.
“We inspire this by trying to always challenge status quo, to not create barriers to doing business and enabling employees to think that way,” said Stephanie Gassen, Global Vice President of Marketing. “Are we perfect at always embodying our culture exactly how we want it – in no way – but we are becoming experts at recognising when something doesn’t fit and we act quickly to steer things back in the right direction.”
According to a 2014 survey by consulting firm Mercer, voluntary turnover is up 5% since 2011, and it is thought due to more millennial workers who are likely to have had twice as many jobs over their lifetime as baby boomers, job hopping seems to be becoming the norm.
Perhaps social media and the rise of online communications can also be attributed to driving job change, highlighting any gaps in employers treatment of employees (good or bad), as everything is shared now online.
But with an average cost of replacing an employee set at around 21% of a person’s salary, it makes sense to keep your current employees happy and motivated.
One of the ways we’ve been redefining our culture at LocknCharge is by implementing fun initiatives for the entire team. At LocknCharge, we pride ourselves on having an EPIC team, built on Excellence, Positivity, Integrity and Collaboration. We take great care in bringing in individuals to our organisation that can embody these values – having cross-functional interview teams and a rigorous screening process to bring in high-talent with EPIC values.
We’ve been recognised for our workplace culture – by winning Best Places to Work in Madison, USA, as well as Madison’s Most Innovative Company.
So what tips do other companies have for creating a great working environment?
The Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For 2019 believes that it is more important than ever to celebrate the businesses and organisations that strive to make a difference. Some examples of how some of their winners for 2019 have done just that are below:
At Admiral every day is a dress-down day and office breakout areas come with ping-pong tables and games consoles. Fun? There’s a dedicated “ministry” for that, taken over by a different department monthly, each aiming to outdo the previous one by coming up with ever more imaginative ways of raising a smile during the working day, from circulating cat videos to staff quizzes and fancy dress. Charity fundraising is similarly ingrained.
There is method to the fun and games. “Insurance is a complicated business, and the longer people stay with us the better they are at their job. One advantage of people enjoying being engaged is we have really good retention. It’s hard for someone to steal our best people,” explains Chief Executive, David Stevens.
Focusing on staff engagement helps Connect win contracts. “We get really smiley people who we love working with, and our clients are happy.” says Managing Director, Kate Bendall.
“The staff restaurant is a company benefit,” she says. “It’s a place to come to and mix with people, which helps with the client’s own staff engagement.”
Culinary flair is encouraged, and the firm has its own trainers delivering full courses and refreshers in kitchen skills such as sushi preparation, sugarcraft, catering for special diets, artisan breadmaking, dry ice and fish cookery. Innovation trips such as a recent outing to street food stalls in east London and to trade shows also help keep employees’ passion for food alive.
Pioneering computer programmer Grace Hopper and three other tech legends have had their names commandeered by digital hosting provider UKFast as monikers for the four teams that compete for its “house cup”. Employees are allocated to a team to take part in challenges throughout the year around themes such as sport, coding and baking.
Winners are awarded points for their house with the top team — and biggest individual contributor — crowned at the firm’s Christmas party. The employee-engagement initiative, introduced by the business last year, encourages cross-departmental interaction, with teammates liaising on company app Fastbook.
A collective of employees, the Veg Patch Pennies, manage a communal allotment in the grounds of Moneypenny’s offices in north Wales. The telephone answering service encourages staff involvement in environmental pursuits as part of the Wrexham firm’s aim to “lead the way in making positive changes to our environment”.
The idea arose via a staff suggestion box tool on the Workplace by Facebook platform, introduced last year to improve communication across the 601-strong firm. The green-fingered collective, which distributes the harvested produce among the workforce, is representative of the firm’s environmental motto: “Together changes everything.”
Has this ignited your creativity and inspiration for your staff? What are some ways you harness your company’s culture?