Small Business: Company culture

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Lizzi Hines, Halfdan Hansen and Jillian de Beer. Photo / Steven McNicholl, Matt Munro: Lonely Planet Traveller Magazine, Supplied
Lizzi Hines, Halfdan Hansen and Jillian de Beer. Photo / Steven McNicholl, Matt Munro: Lonely Planet Traveller Magazine, Supplied

How do you establish a great company culture?

Company culture can be a subtle thing. When experienced by customers, they need to have the same experience with the company a number of times before it sinks in. And when hiring, it is a key thing to communicate to new personnel so you make sure you have the right fit, says Spaceworks' Lizzi Hines. As your company undergoes strong growth, that is when company culture can come under attack.

Arhaus's Dan Heyworth and his co-founders are so committed to their company culture, they refuse to grow beyond a certain size because they don't want it to be compromised. They put a lot of thought into what they wanted their company to be at the beginning and they want to know the names of all their employees without effort.

Lord of the Rings jeweller, Jens Hansen, established in 1960, believes that a flat hierarchy is key to its company culture and staff motivation. Second generation owner, Jens's son, Halfdan, has made sure some of the 70s hippiness has remained in his father's absence.

Cultural identity expert, Jillian de Beer stresses a visible presence of leadership is vital in an SME maintaining its company culture. Also grooming your talent for future leadership roles as you spread yourself more thinly across the business, is also vital, she says. A vibrant and evolving culture is a collaborative environment in which culture is nurtured and invigorated by its people, she says.


Next week: So often, small business owners tell me about the support they have had from family to get their new companies off the ground. Sometimes it's financial but often it's them rolling up their sleeves and getting in there and doing the donkey work too when numbers are tight in the early days. Tell me of the times your family - wife, mother, brother, father - have stepped in to save your bacon. It's an opportunity to say thanks for everything.

- NZ Herald

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