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Last week, we were fortunate enough to be a part of NewCo (which also happens to be a part of Elevate). Elevate is a week-long, citywide tech and innovation festival. It acts as a platform that connects businesses to bring light to crucial topics. At UpHabit, we had something to share with the industry (and no, I’m not talking about the balloons and shirts giveaways). One the company’s most significant assets is something that goes beyond tangible things. It’s more important than the people working there, the product sold, the profits made. Its weight of importance cannot be understated as it drives all of the companies decisions and interactions. We’re of course talking about your company culture.
Your Culture Is Your Brand
We cannot emphasize this enough, but your culture is your brand. Think about it. What you stand for and what you represent internally will undoubtedly help not only shape up your way of thinking but will also make its way into the way your brand is. Your organizational culture will affect your day to day life. From how you conduct your meetings, the way teammates handle their communications, all the way to the stance taken on work-life balance, all of these decisions create what we call the company culture. If you’re a company that just started, work at setting the right culture right now. What we are about to share works for anyone that’s new and old, on a company and individual level.
What If The Company Culture Isn’t Right
If you’re running your own company and the culture isn’t right, you’re going to run with a couple of problems. First, you won’t attract the right people. People will join, realize instantly that the company culture is unhealthy for them, and try their best to leave as soon as possible by starting their job search again. These ex-employees go and inform anyone in their path to avoid you altogether, making it even harder to find skilled hard workers (especially if you’re getting great qualified people leaving you constantly).
With the lack of qualified people, your company’s productivity will suffer, and that will directly affect the product itself. Fewer milestones hit means revenue is bound to be hit. It will change multiple parts of your company including marketing.
What You Should And Shouldn’t Include In Your Culture
With so many changing parts, the culture should be your constant healthy constant. Sure, it can grow and become a more refined version of what it starts to be, but it’s not something that should remarkably change for the product’s sake. What we mean by this is that the company culture should go hand in hand with what the company’s values are, and its key beliefs.
When thinking of your core values, think about the goals of the company and the group, put a more significant emphasis on teamwork, allow team members to experiment and make new mistakes. Everyone will make mistakes, and that’s inevitable. Try to aim to encourage team members not to repeat those mistakes, and to feel safe in taking responsibility for their actions. Creating this safe environment to talk about what team members have experimented with, what went right and wrong will help encourage out of the box problem-solving.
What you should include as part of the culture are any operational processes or anything related to the product. These things tend to change over time. How you get the work will improve. It should be encouraged to find better, simpler solutions to problems. Making a process part of the culture creates a safety zone that may become harder to break in the long run.
The Upside of An Aligned Culture
So you work on having a great culture in your company and things seem more positive all around. What happens now?
In short, here are some positive changes you will encounter:
- You will find a real team, one that is positive, wants to stay put, and dedicated to making the product great;
- Teammates get closer to each other;
- People show their respect through their work ethic;
- The office space becomes a great place to work;
- Decisions are become guided by the core beliefs
The Company Culture at UpHabit
At UpHabit, we’ve created a culture that is focused on our team and our Habiteers. We believe in quality, passion, empathy, and integrity. We even have all of our values listed on our website here. It’s something that’s important to us and has helped guide us through the good and the bad (well, they weren’t bad, just tough).
Here are some of the ways we have nurtured our culture:
- Wednesday Lunch: This might seem like a very small thing, but one of the things that we care about is food. Every Wednesday is team lunch day, and we get to order food and have it together. It’s a great way to disconnect and get us talking with the different teams.
- Thirsty Thursdays: We also love drinks too. Every Thursday afternoon is a quiet chill time to disconnect and talk about ourselves, the app, our Habiteers and anything we could think of over a few beers.
- Pinball Machine: Yes, we have a Pinball Machine, and it’s glorious. We have the little play area that we go to disconnect. It’s a great way to get our competitive side out.
- #WILT: We all have Slack messenger downloaded on our phones. One of our channels is called What I Learned Today (WILT for short). Its primary purpose is to share what we have learned. It encourages us to share our learnings.
- #Mistakes: We have another Slack channel, and if you hadn’t guessed what it’s for, it’s for sharing whatever mistakes make along the way. It’s fine to make mistakes. It’s part of the process that will help us not repeat them, plus it’s a good way to show accountability.
Culture building is tough. However, it’s important to note that working on the company culture is a constant effort that requires proactivity. A culture isn’t simply born because you just said: “this is how we do things around here”. It’s taken from proactive action to change and leave a positive mark in our lifestyle.