Posted by nyssa on July 09, 2012 in , ,

During my two years with Optimum, I have helped collate and prepare my fair share of recruitment tenders and one of the responses I frequently see is how we will consistently strive to find the ‘right’ employee for your company’s culture. But what defines a company culture? Is it the attitudes of the employees; the company’s mission statement; the way the people within the office interact with each other? I can honestly admit that I take pride in telling those around me that I love working for Optimum because of the people I work with and the environment it offers. The vibe of our office is professional but playful; when we look for another team member we strive to find those with humility, a strong work ethic and a great sense of humour. A simple viewing of one of our Optimum videos on our website proves it and that is what I think defines us, as our ‘culture’.

I scour job advertisements on a weekly basis and have found that the summaries generally express that their company culture is like no other; everyone wants to be unique in a flooded marketplace. After conducting research on company culture, it became apparent that the most common definition is ‘shared values and practices by the company’s employees’; so essentially, ‘culture’ is created and maintained by the team – the dynamics are altered when the team members change and different personalities are brought in, however the core of the culture comes from the management team. Although it is in theory, an invisible dynamic, it can directly impact how an organisation operates internally and how the business is reflected externally. Having a strong management team with positive outlooks, intelligence, determination and a sense of humour will ultimately set a standard for the attitude for the other employees and therefore, the ‘culture’ will be an unspoken set of rules adopted by newer staff.

However, it is difficult to define the buffer zone of when it is appropriate to be inappropriate. Ultimately, it is a matter of testing the waters and catching the vibes from the office about where your boundaries lie and what you can attempt to joke about; I know when I first started, it took me over a month to feel comfortable enough to partake in our offices’ behaviour and those first few group situations can be terrifying. There are always the unspoken rules that appear in every office, like what is an appropriate lunch break stretch, when it is okay to give your boss a little bit of playful grief (in the lightest way possible) and who you should be striving to impress the most. The greyer areas include when it’s appropriate to let your hair down (a little) and teeter towards the intoxicated side at office functions, using profanities and wrongfully guessing other employees ages (the latter which I managed to achieve in my very first day).

It is worthwhile being constantly aware of the environment you are in and simply using your smarts. It is not hard to realise who are the key important people in the company and these are the people who will give you insight into the buffer zones and the grey zones. Ultimately, company culture is about treating everyone as an equal and creating an environment where employees want to come to work every day and feel comfortable. Using your common sense will allow you a gateway into the company culture and become a valued employee who understands the business on another level and knows when it’s okay to make a joke about your bosses false tooth 😉

Bianca Jovicic – Office Administrator


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