Two women sitting on low chairs turning in towards one another and talking against background of posters in dark frames.
Employees at the Mastercard Dublin office. Image: Luke Maxwell/SIlicon Republic

How do you encourage an enriching company culture?

30 May 2019

If your employees feel like they can be themselves at work, they’re more likely to be innovative and motivated. So, how do you foster a community spirit?

When Sarah Cunningham, vice-president of Mastercard’s Dublin technology hub, decided to run focus groups asking people what they loved about working there, she got a variety of answers.

The answers pertained to factors you might expect, such as the possibility for career progression. Yet what stood out to her was the chorus of people saying they deeply valued the community spirit.

People in the focus groups said they felt like they could be themselves, that everyone is approachable and even that it felt “like a family”.

“That community spirit,” Cunningham said, “is something we’re really proud of and that we’re working hard to maintain, because without community spirit you cannot have a culture of innovation.”

Ann Marie Clyne, VP for human resources, echoed these sentiments. “We don’t want any employee to compromise their uniqueness to have that sense of belonging. We want employees to bring their whole selves to work and we do that with a number of programmes and initiatives, many of which are employee-led.”

Clyne listed a few examples such as Pride events, the company’s women’s leadership network and the young professionals group. The company also recently introduced eight weeks of paid paternity leave for new dads, something that Robert Collins availed of and discussed previously in the Careers section.

Yet even if you don’t fit under any particular rubric, there are still measures in place to make sure you feel valued and like you fit in. Mastercard, Clyne explained, loves to champion flexible working, allowing people to tweak their schedule according to the unique demands of their lives.

These initiatives aren’t necessarily expensive and don’t involve shelling out for ping-pong tables and breakfast bars. Yet they clearly provide such a substantial benefit to the employees.

Want to find out more about fostering a positive company culture and what that can do for your firm? Check out the full interview above.

Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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