Getting Cultured - by Nick August 24, 2018 13:44 1 Comment

When I started this brand back in 2014, I just went pub to pub on my own selling porky snacks. I didn't report to anyone and nor did I have the responsibility of anyone reporting into me. Like most founders I started a business because I love the product and the brand, I wasn't gagging to have a bunch of people to manage. 

Over the years we have grown in people from 1 to now a team of 15 awesome individuals. Each one has been employed based on 3 very strict, very grown up criteria that they MUST meet.

  1. Do Great Things.
  2. Have Some Fun.
  3. Don't Be A Dick.

The Snaffling Pig groupies will notice these are indeed our values. The very life blood of our business. You can guarantee if you're a dick, you won't work for us. 

Growing the team has meant we have had cultural challenges and this month we have been spending as much time as we can out on the road meeting other brands to understand how they create a productive and fun culture, across teams of over 300 people.

Massive thanks go out to Ella's Kitchen, Innocent, Candy Kittens, Popchips and Vibe for allowing us to snoop around, ask questions and...well…copy (with a Snaffling Pig spin of course).

If you don't have the time to visit these guys yourself, here are the top takeaway messages we had from these inspiring brands:

  • VALUES, VALUES, VALUES - you culture grows from your values. And this is not about writing them down in a business plan. This is about making sure we live and breathe them every day. Get them up on the wall. Talk about them in staff updates. Performance manage people against them. Recruit for them. 
  • It doesn't have to cost the earth - This is not about changing the layout of your office to have a slide down the middle. This is about small little changes in the look and feel of the environment that reflect visually your culture.
  • Consistency - your culture has to be consistent. There wasn't a blank wall at Innocent that didn't have something relating back to their values. Even their light switches had humour on them. A £300 vinyl printer and some vinyl sheets will get your culture across your office. Free brekkie and encouraging everyone to take a lunch break at the same time creates conversation and embeds the culture they were looking for.
  • Involve your team - This is not a top down "lets all smile people" approach. This is setting the values of the business and empowering your team to implement the right culture based on those values. Candy Kitten’s created a 'Culture Club' for a select number of staff members to be responsible for culture for a whole year. If the staff lead it, they will own it and live it. 
  • Don't reinvent the wheel - We definitely aren't afraid to copy great ideas. Innocent even said they took some ideas from Ben & Jerry's. There really are very few new ideas left, so don't be too proud not to borrow, just make sure you borrow the right ones that meet your values and make them your own. You can't copy a culture, it’s like trying to copy someone’s personality, it just won’t work. It’s not you. You can copy someone’s clothes but unless they fit you and you feel good in them, what’s the point?

We’ve made some steps already to action what we’ve learnt but we also know this isn’t a one hit thing and move on to the next project. This is a forever moving animal that must be fed and nurtured so we have a lot of work ahead of ourselves.

If anyone wants to see in person what we’re doing about culture you’re always welcome to pop in. We’d love to show you around.


Nick Coleman