It is common acceptance in todays working world that employee happiness and company culture are the foundations of a successful business. Creating an aura of core values, both internally within your team and externally to the public are crucial to successfully growing a healthy company.
All successful startups and all tech giants place enormous emphasis on the people they employ; their wellbeing, growth and enjoyment of working life. An important factor for many young startups is the fun factor of the office. An engaged and bubbly office that is passionate about their work is much more likely to strive for results and achieve them.
This mindset isn’t exclusively available for the young, trendy tech businesses either. Any company of any size can change their approach to company culture for the better, as was discussed at the Freeformer’s ‘Future of Work Summit‘ held in Central London.
The panel, made up of Era Sahni, head of ecosystem partnerships at Workplace by Facebook (EMEA); Nate Lanxon, global consumer technology reporter at Bloomberg; Miranda Drummond, people innovation lead at Lloyds Bank and Simon Thompson, global head of digital commerce, HSBC; alongside Julian David, CEO, techUK and Lord Jim Knight, chief education adviser at TES Global, explored the far reaching consequences of ignorance with technology in the workforce, as well as where companies need to improve to ensure they continue to grow and improve.
Nate Lanxon of Bloomberg was excited by the possibilities for businesses, particularly when it comes to hiring the tech-savvy younger generations to drive their company forward.
Lanxon said, “The skills that young people innately have impresses me so much. I watched a tutorial video on youtube about video editing software from a child! It’s incredible! But I am quick to include that the future is not owned by the young, it belongs to all people of all ages. The young are just quicker at adapting to these changes and any business that is smart enough to harness this power in their business, encouraging a culture that incorporates a youthful and fun environment, will be the business that succeeds.”
Talent is a significant problem for many businesses today as the UK experiences a severe skills shortage, but the key to maintaining a great company culture lies within building a diverse and passionate team of people.
“A company should limit its growth based on its ability to attract enough of the right people.”
Your ability to be agile and adapt to the rapidly fluctuating demands of the employee will dictate the speed in which you can grow. Lanxon added, “I fear that this may be the death of the corporate office organisation as we know it. The expectation that businesses have a central headquarters where everyone works together in one office is disappearing. It will be interesting to see how businesses tackle this.”
Adam Freeman, a partner of Freeformers, agreed with this and wondered at the impact this may have on cities. “Expectations are constantly evolving and this has slowly changed to a decentralised, nomadic setting where people work flexibly, away from work and it can be hard to maintain that close-knit community in your organisation. I wonder how cities like London will react, as more and more people work from a cafe or from home instead of making the arduous commute into the city.”
“It’s interesting because this is a generational thing and you can see its prevalence as millennials get older and into our spheres of influence. Young people inherently understand this digital version of communicating and connecting; they come to expect interaction via text or online rather than face to face meetings. This is now where the cultural revolution resides and I can’t wait to see where it continues to go.”
Era Sahni from Facebook echoed this, spurred on by the change in culture rather than deterred by it.
“When people think of Facebook they think of modern culture; digital interaction through social channels rather than physical ones. We are on the forefront of that and I think we are already at the end of the corporate office era. We have been working in individual satellite hubs for years now, creating our own ecosystem of accountability and we have become hugely successful from it.
“I think people can be afraid of this change as it is hard to trust that your staff are doing what you want them to, but trust needs to be given! Give your staff a chance to show you that this cultural shift is the right shift and that putting technology in your employees hands can drive business forward.”