When looking for a new job, candidates typically have a mental checklist of qualities they’re looking for in a company. Company culture has crept its way to the top of that list for many job seekers, and I was no exception. You may or may not know that Vantage’s Boston office is fairly new, and currently accounts for a total of 3 employees. So how does a company with small offices across the country establish and maintain a cohesive and successful company culture? Let’s take a look:
A common goal
As Karina Chowdhury mentioned in her recent blog on choosing a winning PR team, a team that’s passionate is a team that will succeed. This applies to internal culture just as much as it does to the work a team produces. When I first started at Vantage, what really stuck out to me was how genuinely excited my teammates got when we scored coverage or placed a contributed article. Hiring employees that are passionate about a common goal boosts morale and brings the team together. Think of how much closer you feel to your peers after achieving something together, like winning a sporting event or getting through a difficult time. You get that same effect time and time again when working with a team that shares your passions.
A little goes a long way
One of the key aspects of a strong company culture is making sure your employees feel valued. Sure, everyone loves a bonus now and then, but the truth is that little things can be just as impactful. Recognizing birthdays is one easy step in the right direction. Our San Francisco and Orlando offices have celebrations when a birthday rolls around, and everyone in the office takes a half hour out of their day to join the festivities. As my birthday approached, I didn’t expect much of a celebration from our three-person office, but sure enough, we had time blocked off on the calendar and some champagne to celebrate.
Another simple but impactful aspect of Vantage’s company culture is open communication. We use Skype pretty frequently, so it’s easy to chat with a coworker in a different office to ask how their day is going. We also use a Facebook group to share funny articles, PR tips, and photos of the activities we’re doing in each office. These casual conversations and entertaining posts boost company culture by breaking down the boundaries of formal emails.
When creating dynamic company culture, it’s important to remember that employees are individuals with unique personalities, and a great way to get to know those personalities is through group activities. Once a month, all of Vantage gets together on Skype for a non-work related game or competition, and noisy as they are, these activities provide a break in the day and a chance for the whole company to bond.
Vantage also has multiple initiatives geared towards getting to know people in other offices. Our “Get to Know You” blog post series paired up people in different offices and encouraged them to interview each other, resulting in a post full of fun facts we wouldn’t have known otherwise. We also have an exchange program, which allows employees to spend a full week working from one of the other offices.
Lastly, our annual retreat gets the whole company together for a few days in January. These retreats really bridge the gap between separate offices, giving the chance for people that don’t work together to spend quality time.
Although it’s not the same as working together in person, Vantage has created a dynamic culture that is apparent regardless of location. Use these strategies to develop and maintain an effective company culture.