Having great company culture is no longer just an option. Today’s workers consider it as important as salary when looking to move jobs. In fact, fantastic company culture is considered a benefit that many find hard to put a value on. While culture can be unique from one company to the next, you can learn a lot from companies who are doing it well, which is exactly what we’ve been doing here at Matrix.
This wasn’t always the case though and when our CEO, Charlie Bradshaw, realised that more emphasis was needed on people rather than just products, steps were taken to ensure people became a key focus. “We invested in performance management and people management, prioritising values and cultural fit in the recruitment phase. For many years I’d believed that the most important part of my business was how we created products through ideation, design or manufacturing processes. Then I discovered that it was nothing to do with the product but everything to do with the people.”
As a company, we’re constantly striving to enhance our culture and have made cultural fit and core values the forefront of the hiring process. As well as this, we’re always being inspired by other companies that have fantastic cultures and finding ways to apply their progressive methods to the Matrix culture.
The Sweaty Betty brand was created when founder, Tamara, spotted a gap in the activewear market for beautiful inspiring clothing to take women from workout to street. The all-female team are on a mission to create stylish, supportive activewear with seasonal design and prints. The Sweaty Betty values include “well + fit = happy. We live this every day”, “Green Juice & Cocktails. We believe in balance” and “It’s personal. Our foundation is family”.
The promotion of the brand across social channels has a big focus on the team and culture with regular photos of team events, guest speakers and team awards. The company culture comes across in such a positive way with work benefits including daily free exercise classes and clothing allowances, employees describe working at Sweaty Betty as being part of “one big family working towards a common goal, which makes people feel really passionate about the brand”.
(Image: Sweaty Betty)
Netflix describes its culture as “unusual” with their core philosophy one of “people over process”. With this approach, they’re able to be a more flexible, fun, stimulating, creative, collaborative and successful organisation. There’s a lot of emphasis on the term Dream Team: “Our version of the great workplace is a dream team in pursuit of ambitious common goals, for which we spend heavily. It is on such a team that you learn the most, perform your best work, improve the fastest, and have the most fun.” Employee benefits include unlimited holiday, free lunches, flexible working hours and health insurance.
Joost and Pim, known as The Corporate Rebels, are on a mission to make work more fun by finding and studying progressive organisations “Through our Bucket List of workplace pioneers, we travel the world in the quest for ideas. We study progressive organizations. We interview management gurus. We learn from academics. We meet the rebels. Everything we learn, we share with our community.”
They share their findings via newsletters, events, their book and corporate company talks to help inspire companies looking to improve their culture and move away from the traditional corporate, uninspiring, bureaucratic workplace.
(Image: Corporate Rebels)
As you would expect with an online fashion retailer, everything at ASOS is fast “When we say retail doesn’t get much faster than this, we mean it. From our designers and photographers to customer advisors and technology specialists, we’re entrepreneurs from top to bottom.” ASOS aims to hire the most creative intelligent people to ensure the team live by their values which include being authentic, brave and creative in everything.
Standard benefits include five weeks holiday and an additional day off on your birthday, you then get to choose additional benefits from the ASOS flexible benefits scheme which are categorised into health, wealth and inner self.
Virgin describes itself as having “adventure as a culture”: “At Virgin we never shy away from the unpredictable and dismiss business as usual. I really believe our people make Virgin what it is – if it weren’t for a bunch of happy, motivated people doing their best, we’d have never launched a record label, never mind three airlines.”
The culture at Virgin revolves around ensuring employees want to turn up to work on a Monday morning and enjoy what they’re doing, giving them choice to empower them to make great decisions. Unlimited leave, working from home and wellbeing in the workplace are among the benefits employees can expect and there’s a real emphasis on treating employees like the capable adults they are. “It’s better to find out what they actually want rather than trying to impose a new set of rules.” – Richard Branson
To help us to evolve our culture and ensure we’re attracting the right candidates, we did exactly what Richard Branson suggests and closed the office for a ‘vision day’ to find out exactly what our employees want.
The first part of the day focused on our journey as a business over the last 24 years and the incredible talent we’ve hired to help us along the way. In the group session in the morning we asked people ‘What initially attracted you to Matrix?’, ‘What were their first impressions’ and ‘Why they were proud to work at Matrix’ and we had such a positive responses from comments like “such a positive and progressive environment with genuinely lovely people” to “exciting projects and a company that truly lives their values and has an ethical/sustainability conscience”. It really made us realise what a unique and special culture we have here!
After lunch, we focused on our growth strategy and how our vision translates to the business. We got back into teams and gave everyone the opportunity to voice their ideas and suggestions. Since the vision day, we’ve created project management teams to ensure we can action any ideas and suggestions. Examples of some benefits and activities that make our culture unique include free team lunch on a Monday unlimited holiday, job swaps, lunch and learns and regular socials throughout the year. You can find more information about what it’s like to work at Matrix over on our life at Matrix page.