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What makes an awesome company culture?

Samantha North
Written by

Last editedJan 20203 min read

The world of work has come a long way over the last decade.

Where once employees were expected to suit up and bring their most serious work face to the office, these days it’s more about artisanal coffee, flexible working, and regular company events.

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Call it a hangover from the tech startups of Silicon Valley, but whatever the source, employee expectations of work have changed. There’s no going back.

Our parents and grandparents grew up in a world where your studies led you into a job for life. If you were lucky, your boss would present you with a gold watch when you retired. In those days people used to think that security was the most important element of a job.

But today’s workforce sees things differently. For them, driven by legions of technological advances and global opportunities, companies are compelled to offer more than simply job security. Employees are looking for meaning. And they find it in the culture of the company they work for.

A good company culture can have many benefits; both for the company itself and for the employees. What’s more, the two are intricately linked.

Culture defines a company; it’s the beating heart that keeps the company alive. Culture is the values and attitudes that drive the company. Ideally, these should be aligned with the values and attitudes of the people who work there.

When culture is unhealthy it reflects on the way people work together. They tend to work purely for the salary and benefits. They may have less loyalty to the company and be constantly on the lookout for something new.

On the other hand, a company with a healthy culture values everyone on the team, supports their goals, and develops an environment of inclusivity and collaboration.

In return, employees feel valued. They feel that the company has their best interests at heart. This fosters team spirit and boosts performance naturally. Great culture also brings many benefits for employees, from boosting motivation to enhancing their quality of life.

After all, we spend a large chunk of our lives in the office - it has a massive effect on life quality. What’s more, happy employees are quick to become company advocates, which can help us to hire more great people!

For the company, building a strong and positive culture brings great benefits too.

Having an awesome culture helps companies to:

  • Build a positive reputation

  • Develop good productivity

  • Keep quality of their service or product high

  • Attract and retain the best talent!

At GoCardless, culture is at the heart of everything we do.

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"The culture is super trusting, collaborative and open. As soon as you start at GoCardless, you’re given the freedom to work flexibly, and the trust to do it well. We care immensely about enabling people to produce work that they’re proud of, rather than checking what time they walk into the office,” says Jess Summerfield, Head of People.

The hiring process at GoCardless focuses not only on your skills, but on the characteristics you bring to the table as an individual.

If we hire you, we’ll do everything we can to improve your skillset, all the way from supporting additional training to encouraging you to get involved in all kinds of cross-departmental projects. We also encourage employees to pursue their interests outside of work, from computer science to Mandarin Chinese!

GoCardless cares about doing brilliant work, and to enable this, we need to give people an awesome place to do just that.

That doesn't just mean sorting out the aesthetics. A nice office is great, but culture means letting people learn and develop in the best ways for them, giving them autonomy, ownership and a sense of purpose.

Jess says: “The culture fit side of the interview process is as important, if not more important, than the role fit side of it. The top piece of feedback that we get from the team is that it's the people who make GC an awesome place to work, and we want to keep it that way!

“We don’t want to hire people that are the same as us - far from it - but rather that we want to hire people who care about the same things that we do. I've seen the team grow from 35 people to 85 people over the past two years, and it's been a complete privilege to work with such a big group of amazing, talented people."

At GoCardless, diversity is key. We have a real mix of employees from a range of backgrounds, but the one thing is common is our company culture. We also have a high percentage of female employees for a tech company - 23% and rising! For the future, we’re focusing on growing this number even further.

To see some of our team talking about life at GoCardless, check out the video on our careers page on Zealify.

Like what you see and read? We’re hiring! Why not take a look at our latest vacancies.

Over 85,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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