Company culture is a popular topic in both human resource and management circles. And it should be in the AV world, too; it’s important to pay attention to this topic. Luckily for me, I get the best of both worlds as I work in human resources for an AV company—Advanced AV, a New Era Technology Company.
Company culture begins with the first interaction during the interview process and continues once the employee is onboard, shaping them in the development of their position and encouraging them to grow and offer ideas. We often focus on choosing the right employee to fill open positions, but what drives that employee to apply to your company in the first place? The technology industry is a competitive marketplace for talent, and employers who are looking for the right people must create a workplace culture that attracts those applicants. A positive culture is important to obtain high-level talent, boost morale, retain employees, reduce turnover rates, and motivate higher performance. In today’s technology-driven job search, candidates have access to a wealth of information about your company, and your culture should be one of them.
When I joined Advanced AV, it was clear a major focus had to be put on overhauling our company culture and creating a workplace where employees would feel engaged. With a team full of supportive management, we revamped our Fun & Games Committee; the committee existed but was lacking the actual “fun” component. Our first year, we started out modest by adding just a few events with the aim of bringing employees from various departments together outside of work. Our hope was to get them to learn a little more about one another, enjoy their time together without the stresses of the job, and bring that camaraderie back to the office for better cross-department collaboration. Just as important as having the events, we needed feedback; we asked our employees what they liked, what they didn’t, and what they wanted to do in the future. Each year we have added a variety of activities for our employees, both during and outside of office hours, and continually ask for input to improve our efforts.
To keep our momentum going, we encourage our employees to participate in community outreach in their personal lives, and to share with the company what those efforts are. So, whether they volunteer at a homeless shelter, run a 5K for childhood cancer, or participate in an animal adoption event, they send their efforts directly to me, and I push them out to the company. What happens afterward is always remarkable to watch. Suddenly, six other employees show the same passion for the cause and join in to help. Our employees feel a sense of belonging when they share interests with coworkers, and it fosters unique partnerships and friendships within the company.
The team at Advanced AV participated in the Lemon Run with their families.
Cultivating an environment of trust and communication is another important aspect of culture. At Advanced AV, we take the time to ensure each manager is available to employees at every level. Using this technique, we’ve created two separate service offerings for clients from employee-driven initiatives—all from just listening to our employees on the front lines of the client relationship. Employees often want to offer a solution or be part of a team in designing an answer back to the client. With a solid, open environment, employees often independently gather the internal teams and resources together to solve those problems. A culture where employees feel empowered to offer solutions is a refreshing one.
With an ongoing commitment to culture, you can achieve splendid success, both internally and externally, for your company. Once this happens, you need to commit to preserving an environment where your culture can flourish. Creating a culture of openness and fun has led to an all-time high in morale, and I’ve seen our retention rates reflect this. Now, when I hear “What is the company culture at Advanced AV?” during an interview, I can proudly say that it is an environment where our employees are provided with a fun and rewarding career.
Angela Johnson is an AV professional focused on putting the HUMAN back in human resources; she can be reached on Twitter @AngJohnson724.