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Company Culture: From Seminars to Pizza Parties

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 5.01.40 PMThe buzz-phrase “company culture” has undoubtedly come up in every professional setting and college classroom over the last several years. Why is this phrase so important and what does it actually mean to employers and their employees? Everyone defines it differently, but the definition of company culture that All Points Public Relations, a Chicago-based franchise PR agency, finds most fitting and all encompassing is “a set of shared vision, values, norms, systems, beliefs and habits. “

Ultimately, company culture is the personality a company develops over time that embraces its mission, expectations and work atmosphere. At All Points PR, the mission is “to support entrepreneurs and entrepreneurially spirited organizations through the persistent execution of effective public relations and social media programs.” This is accomplished through working closely with clients and by hiring and fostering the growth of talented individuals. This is also accomplished through creating a strong company culture.

The culture at All Points PR inspires team members in a multitude of creative and exciting ways. For example, we commonly host incentive programs, seminars and office gatherings. The purpose of these programs is to add to our team’s continued education, career development and to allow us to grow as an agency by bonding and working together.

Specifically, throughout the year, incentive programs are conducted as a way to invite employees to think outside the box and go the extra mile. This past summer, a fun in-office competition titled “Hit of the Week” was held, during which an employee’s exceptional media placement, social media result or content marketing result was rewarded. Each week, the winning employee was presented a trophy and he or she was celebrated in the office for the hard work. At the end of the program, the entire team went out to celebrate a different kind of hit at a Chicago White Sox baseball game. Programs like “Hit of the Week” allow us to celebrate each others successes, learn from our teammates, increase our team bond and ultimately strengthen our company culture.

Recently, several team members initiated a new seminar program, which highlights our company’s public relations systems. The program was launched with a large group brainstorming session during which employees nominated one another to give a presentation on a topic that would benefit the agency. Once a month, a different employee takes the topic that they were nominated for and makes a presentation. For example, one of our publicists presented tips about finding the right publication and reporter using tools like Cision Point. These interactive presentations help spark team discussion and bring the agency together. To read more about the kickoff presentation titled, “Research and Development: Finding the Right Reporter,” by associate Adee Feiner, click here.

At All Points PR, team lunches, friendly basketball games, team runs, baby showers and Halloween parties are commonplace. These events can be as big as a late night bowling party to celebrate the winter holidays or as small and intimate as gathering around the conference table with cupcakes to wish a team member a happy birthday. At these gatherings inside jokes, team collaboration and bonding happen naturally. This creates a shared sense of company pride.

There have been plenty of studies that suggest employee happiness is directly linked to productivity, which leads to high client satisfaction. Unhappy employees tend to do the minimum amount of work required, but those who feel appreciated are loyal and passionate. Those employees in turn stay at a company longer, work harder and more creatively, going the extra mile. A Columbia University study shows that the likelihood of job turnover at an organization with strong company culture is only 13.9%, whereas the probability of job turnover in poor company cultures is as high as 48.4%.

All Points PR believes that continued education, career development and even sometimes the most ordinary things, like a pizza party, can have a big impact on company culture because those experiences bring us together and allow us to share vision, values, norms, systems, beliefs and habits.

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