Every week over on our Facebook page we ask Lux Everyday team member’s what they love about working here. The response is generally, overwhelmingly, about our company culture. But exactly is our company culture, and how was it achieved? We sat down with the lady who has it in her title, and in her blood, to ask her all about it. Meet Elise MacFarlane, Lux Everyday’s People and Culture Director…
What makes Lux Everyday’s culture unique?
I think what makes our culture unique is that it’s REAL! In my experience, there are a lot of organisations that have an amazing ‘poster’ culture that they promote at functions, on posters up on walls and in job ads, but it isn’t really able to be experienced by the team on a daily basis. Our culture, much like our name, can be felt, heard & experienced by everyone, every day! We don’t just promote things like celebration, diversity and flexibility (just to name a few) and not follow through on them, and the biggest testament to this is when new team members join us and can’t believe our culture – they actually get what they were promised.
Do we work hard? That’s a resounding yes. We work very hard, in a lean, dynamic and fast-paced team environment, BUT we make sure during any recruitment that our new team will align well to this type of culture. It’s very much ‘work hard play hard’ – there is not a day that goes by that you don’t hear laughter, positive recognition (and the sound of champagne popping on a Friday!) all whilst we are all working super hard to get the job done brilliantly.
Was this consciously built, or organic?
For a culture to be ‘real’, I think it has to be both. Culture doesn’t happen by accident – it’s consciously (and at times unconsciously) built and reinforced by the people who work here, by team members and senior leadership. It’s important that the actions we take to build and reinforce the culture, are aligned to the vision and strategy of where we are going as a business.
We can do conscious things like have company values and awards, offer great employee benefits like yoga classes, free breakfasts, baby bonuses, beer fridge, birthday leave (the list can go on!), but it’s when a culture becomes organic, when team members are living our company (and their personal) values every day, going above and beyond to contribute to the business in whatever way they can and are just using their full potential… that’s when the magic starts!
Culture can be consciously built, but it’s not real and organic if it’s simply on a poster on a wall. It’s real when team members and leaders are all aligned on ‘how’ we behave and do business every day – and for us, that’s with a splash of fun!
What makes company culture so important, and why should management spend time and resources on it?
People are the most important ingredient for the success of any business, and company culture is the ideas, customs and behaviour of your team. So for me, it’s really a no-brainer if someone in management should invest time and resources into building, understanding and evolving their culture. It’s important to remember that culture isn’t set in stone. It changes, adapts and transforms based on the people and their ideas, customs and behaviours at the time. This is why it isn’t a one-off exercise to build a culture, it’s dynamic.
Great leaders will continuously seek to understand their team – we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. One of the biggest investments you can make in your people and culture is to just listen (and it costs you nothing!). We all learn behaviours by reinforcement, so as a leader you can genuinely and organically shape your culture with the type of behaviours you reinforce on a daily basis. So for me it’s not necessarily always about investing more resources, it’s just leading more effectively with your team.
How can a candidate best evaluate a company culture during the application process?
Good question! I think it can be really difficult to understand company culture before you are in the door. That’s because there is a difference between ‘poster’ culture and real culture. I think the best thing you can do is ask a lot of questions at the interview – and don’t be afraid to be specific. For example, don’t just ask “What are your company values?” That’s going to give you a poster culture response. Maybe try asking “Can you give me an example of how someone in the team was recognised and celebrated for living your values in the last month?”
I’d also ask to walk around the office as much as you can and to meet some of the team – actually get a sense of where you’ll be working every day. Check out their social media pages to see what types of updates they are posting and if it’s the type of culture you are looking for. Of course, it’s always great if you can talk to someone who has worked there but take this with a grain of salt – their experience is just that – it’s theirs. Yours may be completely different with a different leader, team or role.