Why Culture Is So Important

  • John Russell
Life & Careers

When I first arrived at AlphaSights’ NY office for my final rounds of interviewing, I stepped out of the elevator and into miniature basketball court. I had a strong first impression that this was a company that didn’t take itself too seriously and valued a work-hard, play-hard mentality, a suspicion quickly confirmed during my interviews. It was clear that the company cared a lot about its culture, and it wasn’t long into my visit before my gut feeling turned into certainty that AlphaSights was the place for me.

Nine months later, I’ve only become more convinced that culture can be an organization’s biggest asset for many reasons.

Innovation. In the short time I’ve been at AlphaSights, I’ve noticed that innovation is not usually the product of a single inspired individual. Instead, it’s more frequently the flame ignited by the friction of many minds working together. An open, collaborative culture, where ideas are valued for their merit, and not their source, can provide the kindling for continuous innovation.

Alignment. A strong culture will unite employees around a common set of values that underpin the company’s mission.

Motivation. Perhaps the most noticeable influence that culture wields is on employee satisfaction and motivation. When you’re excited to go to work each day, you’re that much more productive.

Trust. Trust among employees and teammates is only possible if you have a culture that fosters it, by encouraging people to care about each other’s well being and success. Trust itself can have a powerful effect on productivity, by leading to more effective communication and greater responsibility vested in employees.

A strong company culture manifests itself in many ways. For example, at AlphaSights we have arranged our open desks in rows with no boundaries between the more senior and junior employees. This setup encourages active collaboration and teamwork while making everyone equally approachable.

Individual teams at AlphaSights are also encouraged to develop their own distinct values and characteristics. My current team recently adopted a pet tree and enjoys playing a very competitive round of trivia every day. Our quirks have brought us closer, with the added benefit of making us a more effective and productive unit.

Of course, all of this comes with one strong caveat - just as important as joining a company with a well-defined culture is finding one that fits you. When it comes to this, your gut can be your strongest guide, just as mine was the day I first visited AlphaSights.

John joined AlphaSights in January of 2014 and serves as an Associate on our Consulting segment.