There is a topic that often gets neglected in the popular entrepreneurial discourse which I think needs a little more focus – culture. The culture of a company or enterprise is often that unquantifiable force that drives an enterprise, guides recruitment and selection and impacts on performance and team retention. Culture is shaped by a mix of a lot of differing factors including the vision of the entrepreneur(s), the company’s approach to recruiting talent and working with people, the practices and ways of doing things on a day to day basis, the style of communications, decision-making and how the company engages with customers, suppliers and partners. A lot of companies even put huge emphasis on manifesting their company culture through the symbols and signs and layout of their offices as they recognise how important it is to reinforce positive culture and their way of doing things.
Unfortunately, I think that culture is under appreciated on the road to success, when in fact it is vital. We often forget that culture uniquely binds people together in a shared approach and way of operating along the business journey. A positive, high energy and driven culture can massively impact the performance of individual workgroups and the enterprise itself. Culture impacts performance. Culture drives work practices. Culture impacts hiring and retention and it is one of the key success factors in scaling your business. It also explains why some companies buzz with energy and performance while others don’t.
At Blueface, we are fortunate to have a unique, differentiated culture that has grown with us as we scale the business. I am thankful that our culture is a positive one, where strong performance is demanded but also where being a friendly, decent person is equally as important. We have a mix of extraordinarily talented team members – from technology to sales, marketing to customer care and finance/operations. We have a strong bunch of talented people with a friendly, nice approach and positive attitude to others around them. Our culture has uniquely blended from a core focus on service quality, innovation, delivering for customers and achieving strong results while growing the business sensibly. Our team’s culture is what provides an edge and I think it’s also that which helps us have fun along the way.
I’ve noticed this impact of culture most when we recruit new people. Our team seems to select new team members that they believe will have the right attitude, values, commitment to performance and approach to others that will work well in Blueface. This is particularly comforting to know, particularly as we scale. Blueface’s headcount is growing constantly and it’s reassuring to see that we are attracting new candidates who our team believe will fit into our performance culture and positive working environment. It helps build the right attitudes, competencies and approach to work on our growth path. It reinforces our Blueface culture and identity.
Reflecting on our growth, I have noticed that it is important to actively reinforce your company culture from time to time. That can be as simple as going out for a few beers or organising a team trip or team afternoon out of the office. We try to do this often – although in my opinion, we probably don’t do it often enough. It’s so important to encourage open dialogue and communications among all of the team and there is nothing better than an informal event to let that happen naturally. It’s also a great way of sharing the myriad of entrepreneurial stories or company folklore with new members of the team. This context setting, bound by some fun, can be the most reinforcing catalyst of a company culture. I firmly believe that creating opportunities like these to reinforce our positive culture, ultimately helps us to build Blueface’s successful growth story here in Ireland and abroad. Culture is a vital element of any successful entrepreneurial story.