Defining Company Culture

Company culture is a complex subject to describe, as it’s difficult to define, design, or even to find in some companies. How does it come about? How does it grow? Is it a good or bad thing if it starts to change? Who’s responsible for it?

The most important variable of the culture equation is awareness.  Aware that there needs to be one (a culture) and that it’s a living, breathing thing that does morph over time.  At SingleHop, our culture is a constant point of conversation.  Our leadership takes great pride in understanding that rapid growth like ours (almost 8,000% over the past three years) can cause an unwanted or even a hard to notice shift in culture if not addressed openly and often.

So what makes up culture? Is it the location or even décor of the office? Or maybe it’s perks like free energy drinks or wearing what ever you want that make the culture? Is it possible that policies play into the make up of a company’s culture?

It’s a combination of all these factors that create culture.  We’re currently growing at such a rapid rate that we are ordering desks and office chairs like they’re going out of style! But that said, we are very conscious of how our office looks and feels. The environment needs to be aligned with the culture of the office, right? For instance, our company believes in teamwork and open dialogue between team members so our workspaces are set so these both occur daily basis.

Coffee (and good coffee) and energy drinks – we’re no fools, we know even sheer determination for personal and company success can use a little caffeine once in a while.  Sure, it’s a nice perk that saves our employees a few bucks a day, but that’s no why we do it.  We do it to show we care, we thought of them, and want to provide any small comforts as possible as we all know happy workers are good workers! Recently, we rolled out Donut Fridays, which to no surprise has been a big hit!

Some startup-like environments fear or avoid the word ‘policy’ because they believe it equals a loss of agility or quickness to adapt, or maybe just because it sounds really lame.  It may not be a sexy word, but it is a necessary word in any successful growing business.  Our culture has helped conceive some of our policies and vice versa.   For instance, we have an open door policy within SingleHop that allows employees of any tenure to speak to their manager(s) if they’re unhappy or uncertain of anything at all.  This method of management has spawned round table discussions within the company that are a concrete part of our company’s culture.

We know our growth will continue if not increase even more over the coming years, but have also made it evidently clear our culture defines us and we define our culture.  If your company cannot say that, it’s time to make some changes!

-Kevin Swan