Culture Club

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Whether good, bad, by luck or by design, every company has culture.

Scott Elmslie

Company culture is what sets your business apart from others, keeps staff motivated and engaged, and establishes the expectations of how you work with each other. It’s part of your company’s identity.

At Hardie Grant, we have clearly articulated values and expectations of working here. It’s these values (do the right thing, work together, use your imagination, set the benchmark and stay ahead of the game) that help create our company culture. But values are nothing without the right people to bring them to life. Passion for what we do runs through the organisation, and has since the company started 21 years ago.

Why is a good, positive company culture so important?

You spend so many of your days at work that your colleagues become your surrogate family. Office culture plays an integral part in business results and staff motivation and retention. It’s also well documented that the cost of replacing a team member who leaves can be in the tens of thousands of dollars, maybe even more. 

Culture Club

Why wouldn’t you create and encourage a company culture that keeps employees engaged, excited and working together? After all, according to Fast Company, happy employees are 12 per cent more productive. And, according to Deloitte, 88 per cent of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success. 

So, how does the Hardie Grant company culture manifest itself?

Aside from an inclusive, collaborative work environment where everyone’s voices are heard, we have several initiatives that foster a great company culture. 

We have an engagement committee made up of staff from each division across the Melbourne, Sydney and London offices, who instigate initiatives across the business. These include charity volunteer days, lunch and learn sessions (where internal and external speakers come in and share their wisdom) as well as activities to keep us fit and healthy, such as yoga, running and boot camp training. 

People gathered around an office having conversations

There are also regular staff engagement surveys to ensure we’re constantly moving forward and setting a benchmark on which to improve. 

Bringing our values to life

At Hardie Grant Media, we also immerse ourselves in our clients’ worlds. Be that the inaugural Friday afternoon cocktail party (we had just received the first copies of this year’s Dan Murphy’s Cocktail Discovery Guide, which we created, so it seemed only fair that we test run some of the recipes) or attending driving days with Mercedes-Benz. Our Sydney office, which works closely with health fund HCF, puts on music and has stretch sessions at 3pm each day – a great way to engage with each other for five minutes (most importantly, away from computer screens). 

A group of women exercising in the office

We are good at what we do because we are a team made up of individuals all pulling in the same direction, who love the work we create and the opportunities that manifest from the clients we work with. This is our culture. 

So, what can you do to create your company culture?

While a culture can’t be forced there are a few simple things you can do to start the journey towards creating an improved work environment. 
  • Understand your company’s core values and put these at the heart of everything you do. Make sure there is transparency and that everyone knows what’s expected of them.
  • Cultivate employee relationships. We often spend more time with work colleagues than we do with our family and friends. Create opportunities for your team to get to know each other and find out what makes everyone tick. 
  • Ask your team what they want. There’s no point setting up a weekly table tennis tournament if no one is interested. 
“Create the kind of workplace and company culture that will attract great talent. If you hire brilliant people, they will make work feel more like play,” Richard Branson.

Scott Elmslie, account director  

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