Cultivating a workplace culture is one thing, but maintaining it is another thing entirely.
Engineering consultancy FG Advisory began as a band of employees at a big business. Frustrated with the changes made by upper management, Randy Gadient wanted to see something better for himself and the people he worked with.
“We worked in a large, multinational company. We were doing a lot of sustainability work, and the company was very profitable... and we were basically sold off, so we didn't have much of a future,” Randy says.
“When that happened, our team bound together and said we wanted to create our own future. We certainly don't want to be pawned off and sold because we built up our life's work.
“We basically took charge of our future, went out there on our own, without anything, starting from nothing, and decided to build a great organisation. So we came up with all the principles and tenets of what we thought a great organisation would be, using that as a starting point, and then mapped our way from there.”
Those key principles have remained, according to Randy, a core part of the business.
For Randy, the three of the most important factors for creating a great culture within your business are:
1. Everything is important
Business owners may categorise various issues with certain levels of importance, leaving lower priority tasks to deal with high priority issues first. Randy and FG Advisory, however, believe that everything is important, and nothing should take priority.
“One of the principles that we have at our company is that everything is important. That means a lot for us, just to the principle, that it attracts really wonderful people, because people who care about their work will take that tenet onboard and make sure that everything they do is done well; when you believe everything is important, you basically elevate yourself to a higher level of functioning,” Randy explains.
“As an organisation, that principle has really helped us. So, it goes down to how you greet someone in the morning, to how you present yourself at work, how you draft your emails, what you put in reports, what you don't put in reports, how you make them better every time, how you treat people in the office, what you do to make your staff better and more engaged.
“It's a bit of, almost like a compass, knowing where your true north is. If you treat everything as important, you really do wonderful things that come out of the woodwork far down the line, and they contribute to your business in ways that you don't expect.”
2. Ensure your clients are happy with what you do
Happy clients mean happy employees. As such, it is not only important to keep your customers satisfied in their dealings with your business, but also to share great customer feedback with your employees.
Randy says that everyone in his team prides themselves with the company’s customer satisfaction rating, which is almost 100 per cent.
“All of our clients are very happy with what we do. That's one of the tenets we believe is important in our type of business,” Randy says.
3. Make your people better
It’s also something of an upward – or downward – spiral, in that happy employees go a long way to creating happy customers, too.
“The one thing we do focus on is our people, because we are a people business,” Randy says.
“The culture, the environment in our workplace is amazing, and that's not just because of the leadership, that's because of everyone and how they contribute and how they participate, and then caring for the company beliefs and integrating that in their daily lives.”
“ [Winning the trophy at the Optus My Business Awards 2016] was a big validation of all of that hard work that you've put in: all of the effort, the amount of time that you spent on people, all the thoughts and efforts you put into the structure, and how you're going to compensate people, what kind of work environment you're going to have, and going on and creating it.
“For us, it was a really big validation that we had done the right thing; as a smaller company, you get very insular. You don't have different reporting structures internationally, or overseas, so to get that validation from the [Optus My Business Awards 2016] was a huge external validator for us.”
Improvement and growth come in many different forms, from internal and external training, one-on-one mentoring to team building events, office layout, uniforms and flexible working arrangements. No matter which methods you choose to employ, Randy emphasises it is crucial to continually better your employees.
“I'm not suggesting people should get rid of their existing staff and restaff. Make yourself better, make those around you better,” he says.
Fast Facts: FG Advisory
Industry: Consultancy, engineering
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
No. of employees: Approx. 12
Customer base: Victoria