When I was hired to manage the web department at Powderkeg, one of the first things I wanted to do was change the company culture. It was a long road but over the last two years we have made some amazing strides and have seen incredibly positive results in all aspects of the company. We improved our creativity, productivity and company loyalty. In this article I will share a few things we did to help improve our culture.
- Hire the right people – When I started doing interviews for new employees, I really did not take personalities into consideration too much. However, I am now realizing just how important it is to hire people who will fit in with your group in addition to being qualified. Having a close knit work group will help reduce turnover and keep your talent. In addition to that, it also makes some of the next steps much easier!
- Encourage and organize social events – The first thing I did when setting out to change our company culture was to start organizing events outside of work. One of the things we started doing was a monthly lunch together where we would play some kind of game. This really helped people start to get to know each other and feel comfortable with each other. Next we started a weekly Friday hang out at the local brewery to have some drinks and socialize with each other outside of work. After time, this all led to everyone feeling comfortable with their co-workers and form real friendships. In addition we formed a co-ed softball work team and joined the local city league. All of this outside activity then led to amazing communication and collaboration at work.
- Tear down the barriers (literally) – Three years ago if you walked into Powderkeg, it would have looked a lot more like a typical call center office instead of the creative tech company that it is. This was caused by big cubical walls separating and dividing everyone. Some days were so quiet that you could hear a pin drop. It was obvious we needed to tear down the cubical walls and create an open concept work space. This promoted amazing communication and collaboration between team members working on projects.
- Add some flair – One of the last things we are now working on is making the work space look more like the creative space that it is. We are doing this by painting the walls fun colors, adding inspirational artwork and posters, and other fun wall decorations. Having your work place look and feel creative, will inspire creativity and help people look forward to coming into work.
In the end, we now have a very close group that encourages each other to take chances, be creative, and give each other constructive criticism comfortably. The results have been improved productivity, record high sales and of course, great friendships.