Blog - How we built our company culture

Blog - How we built our company culture

By Paul Hughes, Managing Director - Integra Systems

Company culture is not something to take for granted or to expect to just happen. It’s a value system based on relationships and, just like any relationship, professional or otherwise, it requires constant work on behalf of all parties involved.

While culture is intrinsic to every organisation – and is more successful in some than others – it is foolhardy to think every industry is the same. Sure, there are values fostered across-the-board in any workplace of integrity; however, these values might present themselves in different ways depending on the business sector and, more specifically, on the organisation itself.

As we’re all aware in the manufacturing industry, our sector is undergoing a challenging time of flux where our values are being tested. How we are going to position ourselves and continue our viability into the future? This tested us at Integra Systems in a number of ways; notwithstanding, how we wanted our culture to be defined within a new manufacturing climate.

Don’t lose sight of your core values

We began by being disillusioned with our company culture. It was a few years back, and we had decided to undertake a D2B program for design-led businesses to assess our business from a different angle.

If I am honest, I cannot say we were enjoying our operations at the time – things just did not feel right. After participating in the program and understanding more about ourselves, we realised the culture of our business was heading in a different direction to our personal values. That conflict had put us out of whack.

Culture is really about being strongly aligned with your company values; making sure the people you choose, the things you do, and the way you reward people are all perfectly in-synch with these values. We had strayed from our core values, for one reason or another, and we needed to realign ourselves. Sometimes, it takes an outside perspective to see exactly where a problem lies. D2B was the lynchpin that helped put us back on track.

Make sure you document your values in writing

It might all seem a bit airy-fairy but values are real things that we all should live by. You may have your own personal values that you naturally embody but a business needs its values to be defined so everyone can function in alignment, with an appreciation for those values and what they represent.


For us at Integra Systems, we defined our values as:


Whether you are a customer, supplier or staff, we approach each relationship with respect until proven otherwise. We believe that respect is something earned and never commanded. It is also a mutual thing – we endeavour to earn the utmost respect from others, just as they are earning ours.


Everyone needs to help and trust each other. We are not scared to go outside Integra to get the job done – it’s about providing a comprehensive solution and also recognising it is not necessarily wise to do everything in-house. We seek to collaborate with good people to achieve great results.

Fostering strong relationships with like-minded people ¬– customers, staff, suppliers, you name it – not only helps us achieve excellent outcomes but makes every day fulfilling and worthwhile. We actively seek people who share our values so our company culture is never compromised.


By always challenging the boundaries and thinking about how things can be done better, we’ve been able to consolidate a culture of progression. Just because something has always been done a certain way does not mean it should continue being done in that way. We are proud to turn things upside-down if it means pioneering a more innovative approach. Work smarter, not harder.


Our people, and all those around us, are passionate about what they do – and that’s not just in their job but everything in life. We encourage our personnel to pursue interests, hobbies and a fulfilling home life because, we believe, their enthusiasm for their leisure time is reflected in their working life. Too many businesses pay lip service to work-life balance rather than actually doing it.


Keep moving your culture forward

Walk the walk and talk the talk. You might write down your company values and pin them on the wall but, if you don’t put them into action, they will be nothing but empty rhetoric.

We keep our culture moving forward by keeping our values top of mind, which means not only putting them into action but rewarding people for embodying these values and propagating them in their everyday interactions.

For example, we created an Employee of the Month Recognition Program where our staff were encouraged to nominate each other for awards when they reflected our company values. The nominations came in all forms – whether someone took over the materials handling racks and showed how the stock could be stored and ordered in a more effective manner, or just a simple moment of kindness where an employee took another employee out for a cup of coffee when they were going through a particularly difficult time.

To build culture may seem a clinical term but culture needs to be created and built, and without culture we are nothing. Make it a priority and your business will soar.


Next blog: Where the manufacturing industry is going wrong with culture


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Published in Blog
K2_WRITTEN_ON August 02 2017
Written by Erika Hughes