Company culture extends far beyond just a trendy buzzword or some throw-away comment. It’s everywhere inside a company; not just between its walls, but between every person, every client, every product, every relationship.
And whether it’s defined or not, every company has a culture.
Some companies take an approach to company culture the same way some folks approach a health issue – if you leave it alone, it will just work itself out.
But as many companies (and people) have learned the hard way, company culture isn’t just something you can leave alone, and taking a passive approach to it can actually be detrimental to the brand identity in the long run; it can lead to workplace that is not positive or inclusive, can alienate employees and clients and severely impact the bottom line.
What is culture, and how is it being defined?
Culture isn’t just limited to the physical environment – it’s really the personality of a company.
While it sometimes gets likened to workplace gyms, cafés and unlimited beer (which are all well and good), a company culture goes layers deeper than that. It’s wrapped around the overall mission, value, ethics, expectations and goals that serve as a guiding principle for employees to find true value in the work that they do.
‘Culture is an important differentiator to set your company apart from the competition. It’s also what attracts the right talent and brings in the right customers.’
Employees are much more likely to stay with their current employer when they feel they are treated right, enjoy going to work every day and feel valued. Most people don’t want to simply exchange their time for money; they want a culture that supports their personal and professional development while contributing towards a clear goal they can buy into.
Why is a distinct culture so important?
As the modern workplace continues to evolve, developing a healthy ecosystem and a platform where workers feel empowered everyday starts at the top — and it’s about having a management style that is malleable and adjustable to change.
A leader should take 100% responsibility for their part in creating success and integrity. It’s an ongoing involvement across the entire organization to work together to develop that strong sense of identity and character that everyone wants to live in.
Today’s ultra-competitive environment forces companies to take complete ownership of their culture. It’s a living and breathing thing where you can’t just set it and forget it. It’s an ongoing process that takes complete transparency and communication to foster a blueprint that works for everyone.
It’s vital for a company’s success because it increases employee loyalty, and is an important differentiator in attracting and retaining talent. People want to work for companies with a good reputation from previous and current employees. And when you collaborate on a team where you feel like your voice and work matters, it leads to less individual stress, high employee morale and stronger work performance.
“The way we work is a big part of Glance’s culture.”
One of the reasons Glance exists and why Julie started it in the first place (other than to provide digital marketing services) was to offer a home for marketing professionals who wanted to break away from the antiquated 9-to-5 mold, where they could work smarter and live a lifestyle they designed for themselves.
When I was first introduced to Julie in the Spring of 2015, there wasn’t a big booklet of guidelines, company policies or procedures; just a simple idea on how this new model of work could look like — and how flexible work can help you reclaim your life. As the face of the company, Julie showed the way about what type of unique culture was right for her business and her family.
Even though my career was still young, something triggered inside me that this was where I needed to be. With this mutual trust, respect and a shared vision, I was immediately bought into what she wanted Glance Marketing to stand for — and I had no idea how far it would go in shaping who I wanted to be in life and what I personally wanted to stand for.
How remote work ignited this new fire in me
It’s an incredibly powerful feeling to be completely coordinated and unified with the Glance compass since day one.
As the company grew up, it became apparent that a huge part of the culture was built on a model for flexibility in where, when and how you wanted to work. It became a determining factor how I wanted to live my life. As I cast my sails away from the shorelines over the years, a few things really started to stand out to me about how this model for remote and flexible work was really embedded in the Glance culture before I even knew about it.
- It redefined my own personal roadmap: Working remotely and having a supportive company backing me showed me that work and lifestyle didn’t have to be mutually exclusive. Being able to travel and work while experiencing the world is aligned with the Glance Marketing culture.
- I’m personally inspired by my surroundings: Whether I was operating in a co-working space in Downtown Toronto or looking out at the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, having the freedom to work from wherever ignited my motivation to do my best work.
- Overall team support: When a culture is strong and gives their team the best tools, it leads to motivated employees and high performing managers. I was given the framework to do my best work and had complete support along the way.
- I can travel and take my job with me: Work doesn’t dictate 100% of my life. While I love what I do, I don’t want to be a slave to my laptop 12 hours a day. Remote work forces me to take a critical audit of my calendar and focus during my time blocks.
- Striking a healthy work-life balance isn’t a myth: Having the flexibility to work wherever and whenever just comes down to delivering value. It goes back to the old adage, “if you don’t trust someone to work remotely – you shouldn’t have hired them in the first place.”
- Working on your own terms: Having the autonomy to work from wherever is a very empowering feeling. Independent work has let me take complete ownership of my work and life – and allows me to work on myself along the way.
A positive culture put me in a position to pursue what I found meaningful in life
Four years ago, I’m not sure if I could have envisioned this nomadic life even being possible.
Stepping into an environment that enabled me to travel while working has (with zero hyperbole here) quite literally changed my life. I didn’t think that I would be able to work from a coffee shop in Lisbon, or a hostel in the Swiss Alps. Working with a team that was built on a foundation of an open, flexible and positive culture empowered me to step out of my comfort zone and really stretched the fabrics of my thinking.
It opened me up to the realization that I can work to build a decentralized and unconventional lifestyle that I otherwise would have never thought possible.
I’ve been given all the tools and opportunities possible to get out of my comfort zone and make it happen — and it’s set me up for success in all facets of my life.