I am very lucky to work for The Web Showroom.
I’ve always been interested in the work that I do and I’ve always enjoyed working with my partners in the business David and James. Over the years we’ve watched as our company has grown from a handful of people to its current size, growth which recently saw us placed 56 in the 2012 BRW Fast Starters list.
While it’s gratifying to be recognised
for the rate at which we have grown, by focusing only on numerical measures of growth, this type of analysis misses something that is just as important, something that has happened almost by accident, and that is the type of workplace we have become, which can be measured by the culture of the company and the values shared by management and staff.
I say this has happened almost by accident, and this is true to the extent that we have only recently sat down formally as a management group, to identify the kinds of qualities we want The Web Showroom work experience to represent. Nothing has ever been explicitly rolled out through the organisation. But I guess that when you and your partners have a certain vision of the company they want to build, and that vision includes treating people with a mix of respect and good humour, it’s natural that a culture grows organically around those values. Staff who shares those values reinforce the goodwill, and staff that don’t drop out or are dropped along the way.
I remember a number of years ago being asked by an interviewee about the culture within the company. At the time I paid lip service to the question, assuring him that the small number of staff we had at the time often socialized together. These days I look around me and amaze at the friendliness and togetherness exhibited by our people. Much of this is driven by common interests and a collaborative approach to our work. Whether a designer, a web developer, an SEO expert, or an account manager, we are all driven by the common goal of delivering the most effective results for our clients, and we do this by sharing information and educating each other. We have regular sessions where team leaders share with staff from across the company what is happening in their areas, we ensure that we are always approachable, and we try to keep our workplace as free from bureaucracy and politics as possible.
Like many workplaces, we plan regular social activities. Like many workplaces, we put on drinks for our staff every Friday. Like some workplaces, we offer table football and an office dog. This is all good and people appreciate the opportunity to relax in this way. But what underpins this, and stops this being a hollow and artificial attempt to buy affection, is a genuine desire to engage with each other professionally and personally. It is important that everyone here feels comfortable enough to bring up new ideas, knowing that their insights and opinions are respected, not just in their own areas of expertise but across any parts of the business that they are interested in. We are currently getting more constructive input across more issues from more staff that we have at any time in the past.
Recently we’ve started the process of formalize this culture-shaping. As management, we have put lots of thought into identifying the values that best represent the business that we want to be a part of. We also engaged a cross section of staff across all parts of the company to independently engage in this exercise and present their thought to us. And the feedback we got was both informative and gratifying. Not only did these staff members present back to us many of the same concepts we had come up with ourselves, the values they identified were the very values they had been looking for in a workplace before they came to work for us.
Had I taken the time to think about the company I wanted to be a part of shaping all those years ago, then other than the purely business-aspects of such a question, I would have said it had to be full of warmth and humour, good music playing in the background, and people working hard, sharing insights and caring about what they did. And here we are in that very environment.
I think it’s probably quite rare to work for a company in which everyone likes everyone else. It’s a big claim, but I feel confident in making it. And this is why I say that I am very lucky to work for The Web Showroom.
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