Over recent years, the ideas and importance of office culture seems to be growing.  But what does office culture mean and why is it so important?  I see office culture as the environment and atmosphere a company creates for its employees – the way things flow within the company, the general attitude of its employees, the little perks a company provides, the events (big and small), and everything in between.

Attract & Retain the Best Talent

Office culture gives your company an identity and an image to the rest of the world and is a great way for you to attract and retain talent.  Your company’s culture can be what makes it stand out above the rest for somebody looking for a new opportunity, or it can be what influences somebody to stay.  If you have a candidate coming into your office for an interview, you are given the opportunity to give them a glimpse into what your company’s world looks like.

You can set the bar for what they can expect, should they decide to join your team.  Any perks you’re able to provide to your employees in the office are going to directly help this.  For example, we offer our employees a casual environment with fast food every Friday, catered lunches twice a month, and a kitchen that gets stocked by Costco weekly – because who doesn’t love free food?!  These lunches also provide our employees a chance to relax and socialize with their teams while also meeting new people on other teams within the company.

Happier Employees, Better Environment, Improved Productivity

Office culture encapsulates how your employees feel at work. What we have found is that when our employees are happy, they are more productive, produce better work, have a deeper sense of loyalty, and create a more collaborative environment.

One practice Affirma partakes in is sending out annual employee satisfaction surveys!  This acts as a quick check-in for all employees to let you know how things are going and address any areas where you can grow as a company.  Once results are collected, you can begin actively working to strengthen any noted areas of improvement.

In Affirma’s practice of this, if we discover someone is unhappy in their position or they’re looking to grow more, our management team will work to make sure that person gets somewhere where they are happy and can prosper.  Each team member is important and we value their opinions – without them, your company wouldn’t be what it is!

Morale Events to Inspire Enthusiasm

Working hard and keeping our employees (and our clients) happy is a top priority for Affirma.  Knowing the people on your team can make a huge impact on how much someone enjoys their job and the company they work for.  To support this, Affirma gives each team a budget to do something fun and get out of the office each quarter.  Whether it be a Mariners game, a cooking class, laser tag, or a team dinner, it gives everyone a break nice from work and the opportunity to build on their relationships.

In addition to these smaller out-of-office events, we also host in-office events and large annual company-wide events.

a group of Affirma employees at Affirma's annual Holiday party.

We do bake-offs, costume parties, ice cream socials, chili cook-offs, you name it!  It gives everyone something to look forward to when they come into work.  The last thing you want is for your teams to feel disconnected, burnt-out, or as if the work they do is unappreciated.

Work can be stressful at times, no matter how much someone loves their job, but giving employees the opportunity to go out and have fun can do a lot to relieve their stress.  Putting teams in new environments outside of work can also really help with their engagement levels with each other, and in turn, can make them feel closer-knit.  The closer-knit a team feels, the better the collaboration that will come from them!

Leadership Communication is Key

Leadership presence also has a strong influence on your company’s office culture.  Managers and executives should keep a steady line of communication with their teams to ensure they are providing the support and resources required to succeed.  To help maintain this communication, set up a cadence of meetings.

At Affirma, our executives meet weekly, managers and team leads get together monthly, and each executive/manager/lead meets with their team members weekly for one on one meetings.  This ensures everybody at each level is on the same page and opens the floor for each party to discuss upcoming events/meetings, set goals, and flag areas for help when needed.

Creating a positive office culture is more than just creating a good company.  It’s about creating a team of people who love what they are doing and feel as though the work that they do matters.  A happy employee is that much more likely to recommend your company to a friend, whether it be for them to join the team or work with them as a client.  Happy employees will lead your company to grow in various directions.  Support them, and they will support you!

Sarah Coxwell is the Office Administrator at Affirma.

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