Lessons about company culture: A Ferris wheel owner’s experience

Sep 25, 2020 | The Employee Journey

Lessons about company culture

Imagine for a minute that you make a living by owning and running a Ferris wheel at a fairground…

As visitors walk around the fairground, they are met with a cacophony of different sights, sounds and experiences. Very quickly, they are able to assess which rides are, and aren’t ‘their kind of ride’. Which ones to get a closer look at. Which ones to avoid. They’re picking up a vibe.

Each ride is unique – the ghost train has a different vibe from the hook a duck which has a different vibe from your Ferris wheel. This ‘vibe’ is difficult to fake. It’s evident from everything they can see and hear. The branding, the style, the people queuing to get on, the people riding or getting off. A bubblegum pink ‘Ghost Train’ with fairy lights and pre-teen girls queuing outside and coming off giggling isn’t going to attract that group of teenage boys is it?

For your Ferris wheel to be successful, you need to attract the right riders and deliver the experience they expect (or better!) – and you do that by working on your ‘vibe’.

That’s a great story but… how does this apply to my business?

Company culture is what makes your business unique and stand out from the crowd. It encompasses the values and behaviours that make up your unique working environment. Company culture is the way your company does things. It fuels business decisions, informs strategy, guides employee behaviour.

There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ when it comes to culture. Like the fairground, every ride (read: company) is different, attracts a different recruit, delivers a different experience. That’s what makes going to the fairground so exciting – it offers something for everybody.

You don’t need to strive for ‘the perfect’ culture. What you should be doing is striving to live it. To embody it. To embed it. Often this is about dropping the aspirational stuff – what you wish to stand for, how you wish everyone behaved – and accepting and embracing what your company actually stands for, how you actually behave.

By making your culture visible at every stage of someone’s time with you, you can be sure you attract the right candidates, employ the right people and enjoy a long time together.

What does company culture have to do with employee experience?

Whether you’re aware of it or not, your company culture is seen by everyone who interacts with your company. From an employee perspective, that includes each stage of their journey, recruitment, onboarding, riding the wheel and offboarding. Meaning that it’s an important part of an employee’s experience with you (and, a candidate’s experience if they don’t get the job)

Company culture is real life – there for everyone to see. And if the reality of working in your organisation doesn’t match the employer brand you presented during recruitment or that fancy vision, mission and values statement you shared as you onboarded them, then expect to be found out. Quickly.

The analogy doesn’t end there.
Read more employee experience lessons from a Ferris wheel owner here.

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