The startup recipe – how to establish a creative culture

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There was once a time when work was about dropping your life at the door, arriving in a crisp suit and sitting down at your desk at 9am ready to say your Sir and Madams like a respectable professional.

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    But the days of hierarchical businesses are long gone, and the term ‘company culture’ isn’t just a buzzword coined by Silicon Valley, it’s now a clearly successful business strategy.

    It doesn’t matter if you’re a startup or a small business, if your office doesn’t have a personality you could be at risk of making yourself look like you’re stuck in the dark ages. A recent study by Deloitte predicts that Millenials will makeup 75% of the global workforce by 2025, and these young workers aren’t motivated by the same factors as previous generations.

    Millenials value a good work life balance, they’re not after a plump salary – they’re looking for a company that will make them feel valued as person.

    With such a huge talent pool available to your business, you could be putting your company at risk by neglecting the needs of potential recruits.

    Admittedly you don’t have to go to such extremes as installing a Sweet Shop or a dry cleaning service like Google, but taking note from the big brands could help you to carve a culture of your own.

    Virgin are well known for not following the conventional path, but it’s seen them prosper and create a company where people are quite literally queuing for their vacancies.

    Company culture isn’t just about easing the recruitment process, it’s well known to increase creativity, productivity, establish better communication between team members and improve employee retention. Culture isn’t just an option, it’s a savvy business decision.

    Of course not all cultures will work for all businesses, so open your mind to establishing your own with a few of these handy hints and tips.

    Create an atmosphere

    It doesn’t matter whether you’re in the hip location of Shoreditch or slumming it in an unknown town, if you can create an atmosphere in your office that gets your team excited to come to work, then you’ve won half the battle.

    Be inventive with the office layout and attempt to put your own mark on your workspace to make it truly unique to the philosophy of your business

    Banning grey and injecting some colour can make a dramatic impact on your team’s mood, and making it comfortable will also ensure they won’t spend the day by the water cooler.

    In most creative professions music can be a major factor in helping to set an atmosphere, and help people get their heads down when the work gets tough. “The space you occupy speaks volumes, you want your clients to look forward to agency visits and feel the buzz”, commented David Dews Creative Director of Speed Agency.

    Make it personal

    Allowing your employees to inject a little bit of home into the workplace environment can make them feel more at ease and help to get the creative juices flowing.

    Many businesses are starting to allow pets to come to the workplace, as studies have shown that having man’s best friend at our side can dramatically decrease stress levels, and help us to keep grounded in times on pressure.

    “Our office dog Izzy is a great co-worker to have around the office. Not only do we take her for a lunch time walk which encourages us to get away from the computer, but she also has a very calming presence”, comments Lizzie Benton from Datify.

    Some of the most well-known brands have pet policies including Amazon and Etsy, admittedly they have a financial infrastructure to support this, but with so many studies proving their benefits, it could be an attractive benefit for conscious pet lovers. 

    Be open to ideas

    The reason outdated corporate companies struggle so much in the new era of office culture, is because they still work on a strict ‘need to know’ basis. Keeping business issues to themselves and rarely reaching out for feedback from their own employees.

    But this can be a toxic path that will lead many employees to mistrust the business and make their opinions feel devalued.

    Regular meetings that involve every single person in the company, from intern to creative director, can ensure that the team is working towards the same goal, and each person is aware of the role they play in achieving this.

    Encouraging other ideas about company culture or processes can also see the success of the business grow. Adopting a white board wall where notes can be added and ideas shared, will make everyone feel involved and part of the success.

    The diversity that your business holds can help to nurture innovative and creative thinking, that just simply cannot be found in a claustrophobic corporate environment.

    Build a culture committee

    If you don’t have time to come up with weird and wacky ways to insert some fun into the office environment, then rally together a culture committee who can plan it all for you.

    Not only will they love having the responsibility of being in charge of the activities, but you can set aside a budget so they can get creative with their ideas.

    By including more people in what the team should get up to, you’re more likely to have new experiences that are unique to the company, and keep the excitement alive.

    According to the Corporate Leadership Council, “engaged and satisfied employees feel a profound connection to their company, and are driven to help their employers to succeed”.

    Since company culture now directly influences a businesses success, no matter the ways you choose to reflect your values and beliefs, by embracing a changing workforce you can make your team feel driven to make a difference.