Ping pong vs purpose

In her second blog, Jo Dalton, founder and CEO of JD & Co., discusses what really makes a successful organisation and what makes a great company culture.


Today, it’s no longer about being the best company in the world. The most successful organisations are striving to be the best company for the world, on a micro and macro level.

It’s a question of culture, and the correct working culture is essential if firms are to attract and retain the talent needed to get a competitive edge.

In the past, prospective employees were attracted by big salaries, but focus has switched to more intrinsic incentives, such as being part of a strong team, finding purpose and discovering opportunities to learn.

But if times have changed, then businesses are yet to catch up. I often see individuals set up a great company that makes money, scales and succeeds, only for workers’ wellbeing to be addressed as an afterthought; a ping-pong table appears in the staffroom along with any number of over-sized beanbags, just like the trendy tech offices down the road. As a recent LinkedIn survey shows, cheap perks just don’t do it for a modern workforce searching for more.

So, what really matters when building the kind of strong working culture that will enable businesses to promote genuine change for the better?

Diversity

Diversity in people brings new perspectives, broader corporate horizons and a healthier organisation. Research shows that firms with a sound gender balance are 15% more likely to have the edge over competitors, a number that jumps to 35% for workplaces that have a mix of ethnic backgrounds.

Don’t forget the younger workforce – Millennials – who will account for 75% of the global workforce in seven years’ time. This group shuns pay in favour of systems that support flexible working, collaboration and corporate social responsibility (CRS). Social purpose is similarly crucial for Generation Z, 85% of whom are more likely to support a brand that champions a social cause over brands that do not.

Getting the edge

These trends correspond with studies conducted by JD&Co, which identify personal development and promotional opportunities as building blocks to making “a great place to work”, which in turn is decisive in whether or not job seekers want to take a job at that new workplace.

This is fundamental in the highly-competitive tech sector, where the best job vacancies are few and far between and recruiting the best talent can be extremely tough.

Bosses need to think about what their company stands for – its values and personality – and ask some key questions. What does your company stand for? What are its experiences, beliefs and habits, and how are these used to motivate staff?

In my next blog, I’ll be breaking these questions down into concrete steps that blend professional life with positive lifestyle choice, in order to build a stronger working culture of lasting integrity.