Organization Culture at First Flight Agency
Our Organization Culture
I believe we have a great organization culture at First Flight Agency, and I love working here in part because of that experience. Our agency director created a great environment for team growth and cohesion. Even though we operate separately, we grew out of The Pilot, and Publisher David Woronoff has also made it part of the fabric of The Pilot to have an open and connected workplace. Coincidentally, his 25th anniversary as Publisher falls on the same day as this post. David and the team of shareholders’ dedication to The Pilot’s staff, values, and service to the local community have strengthened a culture grown over the 75 years The Pilot was in operation before his tenure. He always says, “You know you’re in a community newspaper when there are dogs and babies around,” and his door is always open for anyone to ask him questions.
First Flight Agency was built on that openness, and we fully endorse having dogs and babies (I try to bring my sons in often) in the building. There is a dog treat stash in our Director’s office and many others strategically placed throughout the building. We also have a prerogative to create paper airplanes in FFA. It’s a part of our brand, so we must be proficient with paper airplane construction. Young Frank Daniels would have been thrilled to know I still “work” with paper airplanes. These aspects of our environment are a piece of our organization culture.
What Is It?
Organization culture can also be called workplace culture, work culture, or corporate culture, but what is it? In reality, it is a number of different factors, and they combine to encompass the experience of an employee/worker individually, teams/departments, management/bosses, customers/consumers, and even the general public. I already mentioned a few of those factors: management and how they manage and interact with employees, policies and the vision of the company and its head, the environment of the workplace, and the people who work there.
Define Your Values
When we were building First Flight Agency from a small offshoot of an advertising department into a stand-alone agency, we outlined our mission, vision, and values. That exercise is the start of a strong brand and what organization culture stems from. Here are our values:
- We will give every client, big or small, access to smart, problem-solving marketing and advertising strategies.
- We are dedicated to clients and will use our various backgrounds, education, and expertise to the best of our ability.
- We will go above and beyond for each client to ensure a positive outcome and surpass expectations.
- We are a team that works in a collaborative environment that stimulates creative, diverse, and critical thinking.
- We will uphold the highest moral principles regarding our work.
- We provide the absolute best solutions to help elevate brands.
- We are receptive and understanding of others’ thoughts, wishes, rights, and traditions in our team and the clients’ working partnerships.
- We are students of the business and take tangible steps to explore and share each other’s insight into our industry.
Envisioning how you want people(clients and employees) to experience your business is essential, and practicing your values and business philosophy will lead to a desirable organization culture.
Find the Right Fit
Incorporating these values into your hiring process will strengthen the culture you create over time. Growing a team of individuals that aligns with those values independently will promote strong ties between the employee, the business, and each other. The team is also more likely to engage with the actual work and mission of the organization. When we actively engage and invest ourselves in our work, we feel better about the outcome. Gaining this sense of accomplishment is essential to overall happiness and a low-stress environment. This is beneficial for the individual, and it will promote lower employee turnover, higher attendance, and lower healthcare costs.
Build Your Culture
Once you have taken that step, establishing management, general workplace, and communications practices will feed into day-to-day operations and allow growth to adhere to the vision you have created. Do you have a stated policy for employees to approach management to talk or raise concerns? Are there spontaneous check-ins with employees for direct feedback? Is there a routine for new employees? What is the company policy for time off(stated and implied)? Are there common areas for employees, and what do you use them for? Do you prioritize employees’ mental well-being? Asking questions like this will help strategic planning to frame a larger work environment and inform workplace culture.
A well-established culture will draw more engaged employees, and they will stay with a company they feel connected to. Policies focused on culture will result in a happier workforce, which will create a more productive and profitable company overall.