In today’s job market, company culture is not usually something considered when searching for employment. Salary and benefits are always at the top of the list, with our ideal career criteria (wish list) after that. Company culture probably doesn’t even cross the minds of most job seekers. Hopefully it is important to employers, and if it’s not, it should be. So what exactly is company culture and why is it important?

BusinessDictionary.com defines Organizational Culture as:

The values and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organization.

When I got hired at ActiveLAMP, I was told that “maintaining a positive company culture” was part of the job. I noticed that the other employees seemed very relaxed and happy. Everyone was fairly casual, there was a friendly atmosphere, and the entire office was keeping busy. Whatever this “Company Culture” was, I decided then and there that I would do everything in my power to maintain it. This was going to be a very chill place to work, and I knew right away that I would love it.

A year has passed, and I consider my coworkers to be a second family. We all share an optimistic attitude, mutual respect, similar values, and a strong work ethic. We all want the company to succeed. We laugh together, we help each other, and we all work well together. How is this even possible? I have worked at a few different places that didn’t even come close to this level of employee camaraderie. But how are we achieving this?

The obvious answer is “The boss must be really cool, and knows how to pick the right employees.” But there is a lot more to it than that. Company culture begins with company structure. How a company is run and maintained is the foundation for a positive working environment. Making sure that all of the employees feel valued and heard, that there are processes to follow for getting work done (with a clear understanding of what “done” means), and that everyone is clear on their specific role within the company. These factors make up the base of company culture, everything else is very company specific and develops over time.

Some of the key factors that I think help ActiveLAMP maintain a healthy office culture are: We communicate openly. A LOT. We have monthly company retrospective meetings where we discuss everything from work, to meetings, to processes, to potlucks.

We chat throughout the day, and share laughs. It keeps us connected.

We keep our kitchen stocked with snacks. Yes, the Hot Pockets ARE really that important. Keeping the team fueled up helps to keep the team happy. Feeling “at home” in the place where you work is priceless.

We have an awesome break room, complete with massage chairs and video games. We work hard, so having a place to relax and decompress is wonderful.

We feel free to be ourselves, there isn’t a strict dress code. I don’t have to hide my tattoos, and if I want to dye my hair green it’s OK.

We go out for lunches, have potlucks and parties, and go on company field trips just for fun. Sharing in recreational activities and getting to know each other is a huge part of our company bond.

When it comes to company culture, ActiveLAMP has it down, but we are always looking for ways to grow and get better as a company. If you have any ideas, comments, tips, or questions, please leave them in the comments section below or email me directly - annie@activelamp.com