A business is guided by its decisions and convictions. As it grows the values become a shining light.

 

Having values means an empowered workforce.

 

When it comes to instilling a belief in empowerment, this is echoed by packaging and design company Avec UK. A Dorset based business that has seen substantial growth since its origins in 2012 and led by owner Becks Beere and a team of nearly 40 people.

 

Rise MD, Angela Piromalli and Becks both discussed the importance of building and promoting a culture that is real and has the ability to attract new team members where everyone has a unified voice.

 

How Do You Build A Company Culture?

 

It is a well-used term when a company promotes the virtues of ‘building a culture,’ but how does a business leader instill this? Becks explained, “When it comes to recruitment, I want people to buy into the business. I genuinely research people and see if they are the right fit from the outset. I will never outsource the recruitment to someone else on the team. This is a company I have built with my own hands. It is my responsibility to nurture and grow this close-knit family.

 

“I have to sell the business to others, just as much as a candidate wants to work with Avec. I want people to buy into me and my company.

 

“Avec is about getting people on board this rocket ship that we are all building. I want people to be a part of it, not a cog in a faceless business.”

 

Angela highlighted the importance of both candidate and employer having a mutual understanding. “Companies find strong talent by not sitting on their laurels. Both sides have to sell themselves. When candidates and clients are both on the same side of the road, not heading in opposite directions, it comes down to one simple trait, open communication.”

 

The Charter That Everyone Dances To

 

The importance of communication is something that is part of Avec. They have a charter that each member of the company refers to and comes back to. Becks says, “Whilst we all know what the business feels like, can we put it into words?

 

“It is important to communicate what we will succeed in and what challenges lie ahead. The team all have an active role to play. As well as the grander vision, the smaller things matter too, such as no one is allowed to huff in the workplace and everyone puts their empty plates, bowls and cups in the dishwasher. It is something we expect from each other.

“Any company that is attracting new employees need to stand up and say, ‘this is us, is this you?’”

 

The Avec charter is used as a tool for performance measurement. It is there to inform decisions and for the entirety of the team to recognise what they signed up to.

 

Trust In The Employer

 

According to the Association of Accounting Technician’s (AAT), the average UK employee will spend 3,515 full days at work over the course of their lifetime. Angela stated, “People spend a huge proportion of their lives at work. Businesses having transparency means that everyone needs to know what they are signing up to. Having something such as the Avec charter means there is alignment between the business, its responsibility and its values.”

 

Building a base for development, support and growth is a key part of a business that has longevity. People are now looking more than ever at businesses to lead and create a sense of place.

 

According to the annual Edelman Trust Barometer, this report looks at how much the public trust government, media and business. The latest 2019 report points to the vital role that companies play.

Within the study, people place more trust in their companies than in political leaders. There is a notable shift in trust to the relationships people have within their control, most notably UK employers.

When it comes to mutual trust, this is something that Avec has in abundance. Becks highlights, “Business owners need to put the emphasis on their team to discover and find their own answers. Perfection is not the only solution. I want people to succeed they need to be supported.

 

“We found out that people are not necessarily motivated by money. Every two years we profile the business and the team. From our own studies, we can see that people are motivated by security, a sense of validation and encouragement to be creative. It is the responsibility for a business owner to have a responsibility for others, this is how trust is earned. We also could see what demotivates the team. The majority do not like public recognition.”

 

What about the future of an expanding company? Becks concludes, “I will give everything away for others to provide direction. However, I will not give away the customer relationship and the most precious resource, finding the right people. The company culture is one that has to be protected and championed.

 

Conclusion

 

If a company has values, they truly have to live them. This is something that Avec UK truly believe in.

 

It all comes down to the behaviour of how a company presents itself to the outside world and the obligation it has to those who work within the business.

 

Having values is more than a buzzword and something that you shout loudly on LinkedIn. It is the groundwork for a robust company culture that stands the test of time and to remain continually relevant to those that have a continual touch point with a company.

At Rise we are truly lucky to be immersed within a community of experts. Each individual has their own talent, opinion and knowledge. We decided that instead of writing what we thought of the world and the industries we all work in, why don’t we ask them?

This has part of our series of Q&A style articles that we hope will inspire you, educate you, and or empower you.

 

We asked Justin Cohen, the Commercial Manager of Beales Gourmet at The Italian Villa a little bit events and PR. We wanted to know a little bit about what he thought about it, and how he got into it!

 

 

RISE: PR has made a complete U-turn since the introduction of social media, do you think there is still room for the old methods that we used to use in PR?

 

Justin: I think that conventional PR has been accentuated by the addition of social channels. However, this is a double-edged sword. As a PR professional, your job is to manage the public reputation of your client’s business. If there are now 5-10 more channels available for your client to promote themselves, there are 5-10 sites for your client’s detractors to pan their products or services online. PR’s need to stay sharp and utilise up to date social listening tools to truly stay ahead of the game and maintain their client’s reputation. But it’s not all doom and gloom… PR is, and always has been, about relationships. The Editor of any given publication will still thank you for a good story – they’ll now just be able to share it online as well as in print/radio/tv.

 

RISE: As a business is having someone that takes charge of PR, events and marketing is key to the success and continuous positive change of a company?

 

Justin: It all depends of the allocation of company resources. There is often an argument that having an internal personal take the lead on PR, events and marketing will make for more consistent, cohesive communications. That may well be the case. However, from the opposite side of things, there is also the argument that company directors and employees are often so close to the subject that they’re trying to communicate, they may fail to see other opportunities or fresh angles. A “happy-medium” would be a strong internal coordinator (who genuinely gets “it”) who could liaise with equally strong external expert consultants.

 

RISE: The saying goes, ‘Any PR is good PR’, but is this really true?

 

Justin: I used to think this was true. I’m not so sure anymore. Some brands think that they are untouchable. I’m sure Miramax would argue the contrary now with the cloud over Harvey Weinstein and co…

But then again, look at what Nike have managed to accomplish with the Colin Kaepernick story. Some said it was a foolish move (resulting in customers burning their Nikes online, etc), but in real terms, they’ve capitalised massively on strong public empathy. That was a well-managed situation.

 

RISE: Events nowadays aren’t just about putting on some food and drink, it’s about providing an experience. Is there any tips or tricks you would tell companies that are thinking of hosting their own event?

 

Justin: I agree. People now need a reason to turn up. Gone are the days where a few vol Au vents and some bubbly would be a good enough reason to motivate guests to attend an event. Now it’s far more about the overall experience. For example when we hosted the launch of the Dorset Business Awards last year, we looked at the overall theme of the event, and tied the welcome cocktail and canape selection to that specific theme, which made the event much more memorable.

Another example… we recently launched our FOODIE club which, again, was about the experience. Yes, guests enjoyed eight courses of amazing food. Yes, every course was matched with superb wines and other drinks. Yes, the service was five star. But what guests will remember most of all was the element of theatre surrounding the evening. The al fresco setting in The Italian Garden; the Iberico ham being carved in front of them; the smell of the scallops being barbecued right in front of them; the floating candles on the pond; the expert guest speaker. I could go on. The point is that, when planning any event, you need to think “what is the REASON that I’m giving for my guests to want to turn up?”

RISE: As an individual trying to get into the industry of events and PR, do you have any words of advice? Do you think experience outweighs education in this case?

 

Justin: I studied marketing, but never even touched PR or events really. It was only later in my career, working for Darren Northeast PR, that I honed my PR and media skills. I’d always enjoyed writing (I still do!), so PR became another great outlet for that. I think that getting the right sort of experience will always trump educational qualifications. We always take on a number of work placement students from Bournemouth University’s Event Management programme, because we believe that the right experience will accelerate any classroom learning. Like they say: “Everything works in theory. Even communism.” It’s getting things to work in practice that is the kicker!