In my previous blog I spoke about how good company culture contributes to a collaborative environment and covered how effectively incentives motivate staff and the implications it has for fostering a productive atmosphere. Moving forward I’ll be comparing the benefits of workplaces that choose either familiarity over the more traditional approach of professionalism and hierarchy.
Professionalism vs Familiarity
This brings me onto my final point. As you may have guessed, my values in regards to the ‘perfect working environment’ rely heavily on communication and support. But how do you balance these things in amongst being both professional and familiar with your colleagues and managers?
I often find myself asking, where do I draw the line between making a recommendation and knowing when to just say yes? I’ve worked as a consultant, a manager, and an executive within my marketing career. These job functions have a lot of overlap, but by and large, I’ve been expected to make recommendations, suggestions, and back them up. With that freedom and trust comes a grey area in knowing when to accept another’s suggestion.
I have found this is a real challenge in smaller offices where there’s a lot of familiarity; when a manager stops talking to you like the professional you are and starts to treat you like their pal. Honestly, I’m not a fan of this. The blurring of lines eradicates personal, professional boundaries.
Sometimes it’s better to say, ‘this is my decision and I’m making XYZ call,’ rather than, literally, arguing. Never did I expect to have an argument break out at work during a productive marketing session. Let us remember that this isn’t university, we’re industry professionals with our own knowledge and experience and at the end of the day someone needs to make a final call.
I feel like over-familiarity really stops the process of decision making being streamlined and it makes it harder to make recommendations from a professional stand point when we’re all treating each other like pals. Don’t get me wrong, I love the support I receive from my colleagues, and having the ability to be familiar and build working relationships is great. But first and foremost, there’s this utmost respect for each other as professionals, something that has been lacking in a number of my previous roles. That respect carries over into our relationship as colleagues and overall makes for a culture where we can talk freely about our weekends but also reach a consensus about the next step for our client, or give each other feedback on work without bitterness and resentment.
Ultimately that culture is fostered by senior staff and by managers and by those that join the team. It’s not just about hiring top talent: it’s about creating a collaborative, communicative and creative (in particular for marketers) environment and to do that means we have to consider the way people handle themselves and others in different situations.
As a hiring manager I’d rather go through a 3 stage interview with a candidate than hire someone who ends up causing upset within the office. In the long run this damages morale, costing the company both time and money on-boarding someone who isn’t the right fit.
What do you think? Worried that your company brand is attracting the wrong type of talent? Concerned that your company values aren’t being felt by your staff? Have a chat with us and we can talk branding workshops and company culture.