What Makes a Good Company Culture?

By Ian McDonnell, Blexr CEO

People dancing at a party

What is company culture and how is it created? Can you simply define your culture and tell people what it is? Is culture something that grows organically, and if so – how?

To really look at company culture, we first need to examine the culture of the country where our HQ is based – Malta.

Like most competitive job markets, Malta has a number of major challenges. For one, it’s a small island with more than 100,000 companies, most of which are trying to attract the same talent.

Secondly, it has a relatively small talent pool because the population here is under 500,000. Barcelona, where Blexr’s second office is based, has a population of almost 5 million, including the greater Barcelona area.

So given the above, how do you attract the best people? The obvious answer is to simply pay them more money or give better benefits. Malta is home to some of the world’s biggest gaming and lead generation companies, many of which are publicly listed. So, competing solely on financial incentives isn’t scalable.

Three men laughing and smiling

In a finite “bidding war” type game, those with the deepest pockets will always win.

But money has been proven to be a poor motivator. I read a book called “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel H. Pink, and he says we have “three innate psychological needs – competence, autonomy, and relatedness. When those needs are satisfied, we’re motivated, productive, and happy”.

In short, is money important? Yes, it is. Do you want to run a business where motivation is based on salaries and job titles? No, you don’t.

So if we don’t want to enter a bidding war on salaries, where can we have a competitive edge? As a smaller company, one of the ways you can stand out is with the culture that you build.

A group of people with one dog each

The goal for me, and for us as a company, is to create a culture based on clear and consistent values, where a team of teams has a shared mission and clear expectations and objectives.

The primary motivators for coming to the office should be that you are surrounded by hard-working, talented people, you have the opportunity to grow and develop continuously, and that the work you do is challenging and varied, helping the company to get closer to achieving its mission.

If you have a culture of low achievement and people don’t care about what they do – even if it’s just one person – then it’s very easy for this feeling to spread through the team and through the entire company.

Likewise, our values can easily spread to our colleagues and teams. Because of this, leaders need to walk the walk, and not just talk. By demonstrating our shared values and holding people accountable for them, we can foster the culture we want to build.

It’s very easy to have a company culture based on buzzwords like passion, transparency, trust and so on. Every company has buzzwords, but to develop a culture where these values actually exist and are a staple part of our culture, is more challenging. It begins with leaders and managers, and the incredibly important value of accountability.

I firmly believe that people are far more motivated by being challenged, doing something they believe in and having a very clear mission, vision and goals for both themselves and the business.

They also like being really able to see how what they do every day ties into the greater goals of the business.

A woman holding a sign that says "#BetterWithBlexr"

In Malta especially, many people will start in a junior position, work for six months and then get contacted on LinkedIn by a recruiter offering a more senior job title and 25% more money.

It’s easy for someone to turn their head and move on more money and nicer things, but it all comes down to what really motivates you. Are you moving to a new company due to the lure of the challenges you’ll be faced with? Is that company building great products? Are they famous for the incredible people they have working there? Or are you moving purely because of financial incentives?

While we are striving to offer those challenges, to build great products and to put together a team of outstanding talent, the truth is there will always be those whose sole driver is money.

We want our staff to enjoy what they do here. We also want to have a transparent plan for every single person on their development within the company through a clear career steps model.

This will offer transparency on compensation, promotions, how long it will take you to “level up” and the skills and time you will need to get there. Of course, we also show how Blexr will support you on your path.

A group of people next to a sign that says "Join Us"

We have a number of core values at Blexr that include a growth mindset, transparency, trust, passion, emotional intelligence and mindfulness. You can read about these and the rest of our values in our Book of Culture.

So if you’re looking for a company that offers challenging work, the opportunity to develop industry-leading products and the chance to work alongside a growing team of smart creatives and outstanding talents, head over to our careers page.

Maybe you’ll be our next Blexrian.