“It’s easy when the company is small to encourage this culture but as soon as it starts to grow with a hundred colleagues, people may come in with that ‘It is a 9-5 job,’ but we don’t want them to come in with that.” PR Manager Hannah Sims says that, “If you look after your team, customers will follow. So it’s all about employees first, customers second.”
There are a lot of small, young startups out there. But Perkbox, a U.K. employee engagement platform is unique in its rapid growth and accelerated funding, all with an average employee age of 25. Today we offer their tricks to maintaining a strong company culture and “that family feeling” when you have new teammates joining each week.
- Create a culture book to express your values
A culture book is an amalgamation of stories, photos, interviews and other ways to represent a company culture. It’s a physical (or digital) reminder to current employees of a company’s unique purpose, value and spirit and a great recruitment tool.
I would venture to argue that Perkbox has the most special culture book I’ve seen, with a great reason for creating it. See, Perkbox was growing rapidly, from 15 to 120 team members in just two years. When the COO joined early 2016, he suggested they create a culture book to record the company’s stories, looking to discover team values, while admitting that every person that joins brings something else.
“When someone joins us, we give them the book to understand who we are, what we do, what is our culture,” explained Perkbox’s Engagement Manager Medlena Pozlevic.
Titled “Hey, so…” to have a laugh at their CEO’s common refrain, the book brings together 40 “Perkbox stories” which revealed the following five values, now displayed all over the office:
- Work hard, play harder.
- Test it, try it, make it happen.
- Not a job, a family.
- Above and beyond.
- We don’t know ‘It’s impossible.’
Every quarter they then give awards for the five values, where the whole team is involved in the nominating process. Then they display the winners in an eclectic wall of fame, photoshopping angel wings and spacesuits on colleagues. This accommodates the mostly Millennial team that thrives on recognition and gratitude.
- Make your onboarding process a memorable one
Perkbox is growing so rapidly, they see at least one new teammate joining every week — “It takes a week to get to know us,” Medlena commented. After giving them the first few days to settle in, Friday is the grand initiation — steering the Beer Trolley. In a completely flat company — all co-located on the same floor — anyone is accessible. The newbies wheel around the Beer Trolley, introducing themselves to their new colleagues and leaving surely a good and delicious first impression.
Medlena explained what bring a flat company means to them. “It doesn’t matter that it’s a product director, I can just speak to him freely. I can send a smiley on Skype to my CEO.”
So when someone joins the company, they are greeted by a very branded blue, chaotic office rather like the rec room in someone’s basement, filled with cheeky imagery, pingpong, stress balls, scooters, mini golf and music.
- An office space should be an all-purpose room
As we are moving toward work-life fusion, the traditional office of cubicles and designated water coolers is falling wayside. There’s no doubt the chaotic Perkbox HQ is a warm and welcoming one. It’s not just a place for computers and meetings, nor just for play. The company is trying to snatch up different floors of the building for more interactive spaces.
They have monthly TED-style Perkbox Live talks about employee happiness for both their customers and teammates, where everyone is encouraged to spread out, do yoga or whatever they want to meditate on the motivation.
With a name like Perkbox, they also offer perks to their own customers, like a free event space or “Happiness Lab” to HR professionals — something normally absurdly expensive in central London. And they also send out boxes of their unique version of fun to customers, chock full of office goodies like magnetic dartboards and stress balls — “fun stuff to create a buzz in the office.”
As Hannah pointed out, “Ultimately it has a financial bottom line — if your employees are more engaged, more productive, [with] an ability to collaborate, ultimately it makes them more productive and it impacts a bottom line.”