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Why the C word is so important

I recently took a trip back home to Sydney and one question that was often asked by family and friends was “How’s work going?”.  Without any hesitation, I responded, “It’s awesome, in fact, it’s been a game-changer for me”. Immediately their eyes light up hearing a response that they otherwise would not have expected.

So what has changed for me? The office culture. Culture is a word that is often thrown around, particularly by leaders, but unfortunately, not something all employees get to fully experience the positive side in their workplace. Luckily for me, I’ve been fortunate enough to have joined a firm who lives and breathes, at what I consider, one of the highest levels of amazing culture. And, I want to share with you what this looks like…

The Leader

Whether we like it or not, it’s the leader that sets the tone of the office. How so? Through their communication style and their interaction with the team. My boss is a great example of that. Currently the leader of the Asia region, he’s everything that you expect a leader to be – confident, intelligent, knowledgeable, trustworthy, leads by example and the list goes on…but what’s quite humbling is his communication style. He doesn’t speak to you like he’s the high almighty Regional Managing Director of Asia, nor does he profess to be a know-it-all boss that has the answer to everything. What he does know is his team and he knows them well by listening to them. He understands their strengths and provides trust and support to enable the teams to grow and flourish, a rare quality that empowers the team to do what they do best. Lastly, he gets his hands dirty in pretty much all aspects of the business whether it’s participating in team building activities, competing in our internal flip cup challenges or even distributing mooncake boxes to the team! This positive energy sets the tone of the office and this contagious vibe has everyone feeling positive, happy and confident every day in the workplace.

The People

My boss once said to me – “culture is created by the people, not by the boss”. I disagree with him as I believe he’s already done the hard yards by setting up the right environment for his employees. It’s interesting to observe how people behave after they interact with someone who is open-minded and energised every day. It builds trust and creates loyalty. When people thoroughly enjoy the environment they work in, they become fiercely protective of the culture and business as if it were their own. The ripple effect? No one wants to let him down, everyone genuinely loves being together (be it work or having fun) and we all subconsciously strive to replicate this positive culture throughout all activities at work.

This positive culture also translates into better interaction amongst everyone in the office and I’ve witnessed how it becomes easier for someone to approach another person for help or ask for support in their work. The recruitment industry is brutally competitive and sometimes this competitive environment exists within the company itself. However at Ambition, whilst everyone competes for incentives and for higher sales, we are extremely supportive of each other and here’s an example. Once someone closes a deal, they go up to ring the gong and everyone erupts in a round of applause and congratulatory messages. It’s a big boost to the general office mood and morale!

The Office Committees

Committees at my office are not just about getting together and having a giggle. It’s a serious matter of making each event or initiative meaningful, fun, and serves as a reminder that we are all in it together. Currently, we have 2 committees in place:

  • Recreation: Comprising of 4 enthusiastic individuals (which include both junior and senior people) eager to inject fun into all team building activities organised by them! The aim? To have fun together as an office but also create opportunities to further deepen our relationships with colleagues from other teams. The best part about this committee is that our ideas are rarely rejected by the boss and this ultimately boils down to trust. He trusts that we’ll make the right judgment and do a good job. And I’m happy to say that so far we haven’t failed him yet!

    Our most recent team building day saw us dressed in Olympics colours and being pitted against each other in a bid to win our mini Olympic games which included – egg and spoon race, 3-legged race, balloon popping and tug of war. Although simple activities, it’s our spirit and togetherness that makes any activity full of competitiveness, laughter and most important of all FUN!

  • CSR: Composed of 5 passionate individuals who come together to brainstorm and plan initiatives to make it easier for our underprivileged communities to go through life. This committee doesn’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk by organising visits to elderly homes, raising money for underprivileged children, volunteering our help to soup kitchens and more recently, putting together a fundraiser event to support families affected by the Sulawesi earthquake. This group not only educates the office but inspires the rest of the team to be more compassionate and to be more involved. 

These 3 areas are what have shaped the Ambition office to be what it is today. Things are never done separately, they are done together as one big happy family.  The examples I’ve shared are some of the biggest things that have worked very well for my office culture and in my eyes, has made an incredible impact on the work environment. And the amazing part? Knowing that your colleagues are looking forward to Monday to continue to work towards the goal that the leader has set, making a difference and an impact on the people around us.

Does your company have an amazing office culture too? I would love to hear your personal stories on what contributes to the great culture in your office!

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