A Note on Company Culture with Editor at Large

In part two of his case study series with Editor at Large, The Urban Electric Company's founder, Dave Dawson, shares his reflections on company culture after 15 years in business. 

Like a lot of American craft companies, we are a people-centric business—not just because payroll is by far our largest expense and investment, but also because our success and sustainability relies almost exclusively on the passion and creativity of our team. Our care for this strategic resource is mission-critical.

Consciously or not, every company has a culture that’s built around some centralizing principles—sometimes these are uplifting and positive, oftentimes negative and destructive. Knowing that a culture will take root, whether you choose it or not, a smart company proactively selects constructive and “leverageable” principles. At Urban Electric, we’ve chosen to centralize our culture around mission and value.

At a very fundamental level, I believe the currency people value most in a career (apart from a paycheck, which, presumably, they can get lots of places) is to: (a) feel valued and (b) have a sense of mission in their work. These two things, though intangible, matter more to your employees than any benefit you can give them. They’re more important than a nice desk, a benefits package or a company picnic. When people believe in the collective company mission and feel that the organization believes in them, they’ll run through brick walls.

There is hardly anything more powerful than a group of passionate people who have rallied around a shared mission; part of our mission is to revive and sustain artisanal craftsmanship in this country. That’s a bold mission for a little company like ours, but it elevates our viewpoint to something larger than our individual selves. It also provides inspiration for our daily work.

Read the full article here.