Company Culture Matters!

Today’s blog post is written by Aaron Schwartzbord, Marketing ManagerPatron Technology.GUEST-BLOG-ICON

In my work life, my goal has been to work for companies that encourage me to learn and grow, challenge me, treat me with kindness and compassion, and make me want to come to work every day. Prior to working at Patron Technology I worked for a variety of non-profit and for-profit companies all focused around the arts and entertainment and they’ve shown me a real variety of company cultures. As many of you can probably relate to, finding that company with a really great culture can be a challenge.

But as leaders of arts organizations, what can you do to ensure a focused, (hopefully) positive, and sustained organizational culture?

I came across a post on the Salesforce blog entitled, How We’ve Made Salesforce a Great Place to Work, and the following passage really caught my attention:

People ask me what Salesforce does to earn recognition as a “Best Place to Work”, and my answer is always the same – we are INTENTIONAL about culture. If you think about it, most responsibilities and day-to-day activities of a particular job, such as a software engineer or an account executive, are the same no matter where you work. What’s different is the people you do it with and the environment you do it in. That is culture, and that is the beating heart of your organization.  

Yes, I realize Salesforce is not an arts non-profit. But, in the quote above, replace “software engineer” and “account executive” with “box office manager” and “development assistant” and the statement still works.

The blog continues to recommend, in three steps, how to cultivate organizational culture:

  • Define your culture. Align on what your culture is and establish a simple story that everyone in the company can articulate.
  • Hire for culture fit. When bringing new people into the company, elevate culture fit to be as important as education, experience, and skills.
  • Immerse new people quickly. Encourage new hires to bring the best of what they learned at their last employer, and conversely, to let go of cultural habits that don’t fit.

Do you think about the culture of your organization and make it a priority? Is it something that your staff, board, and artists can all articulate? It’s usually not the first thing on the minds of arts companies, but I think it should be. Is it really valuable to produce and present great art but be a horrible place to work?

I’ve heard so many leaders use their non-profit status as an excuse for not having a company culture and putting emphasis on the fact that they don’t pay enough or have the best perks and even apologizing for it.

Yes, companies like Google and Facebook (and Salesforce) provide their employees with perks such as meals and transportation, and higher salaries. But I have found that a supportive, happy, positive culture at a company can outweigh those perks. It’s as simple as cards on staff birthdays signed by the whole team, or summer fridays to let people enjoy the good weather, or even an established company-wide process for congratulating and appreciating hard work.

Think about how you can institutionalize your culture in order to make your organization the best possible place to work. As an employee, I know it will pay off!

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