choiceI graduated from university a few months ago after finishing a double degree in Law and Commerce majoring in Corporate Finance.  These 5 years were some of the best years of my life thus far but when it was over, albeit sad that one stage of my life was ending I was eager and ready to dive into the next phase and join the workforce. Many of my fellow classmates have gone on to work for big banks, renowned accounting firms or other corporate powerhouses around Australia and the world and whilst I also had the same choice, I instead chose to work for a small management advisory firm less than 4 years old in Adelaide with less than 10 fulltime employees.

Why do this, you may ask? Isn’t it best to work for a big name firm and gain the stamp on your resume to kickstart your professional career? For some, perhaps so. But for myself this was not the case and still isn’t. So what drew me to BRS?

The answer is easy – the culture. This was by far the biggest attraction to me and I know it was the right choice. The culture is one that I could not find at other potential employers. Some people regard culture as the ‘fluffy, soft stuff’ and put little focus on it in their organisation. In fact I have learned that culture is the biggest driver of business outcomes, influencing the performance of your organisation between 75%-80% (as per the Australian High Performance Workplace Index). The evidence is there – we are one of the top 25 fastest growing companies in Australia and the fastest growing company in South Australia.

Many companies speak of having a great culture but whether they actually walk the talk is a different matter. A true commitment to culture is a true commitment to improving every single aspect of your business and is invaluable in creating great business outcomes. Who wouldn’t want to work for a company that has a culture that inspires, encourages, progresses and is focussed on success? Building a world-class culture attracts better people to your business – people who are truly engaged and motivated and are there for more than just a paycheck.

I had previously worked casually at BRS whilst I was still studying, and I knew the culture is a highly collaborative, achievement-orientated and constructive one. It is where I feel I am not driven by fear in my work, I am empowered to succeed, I am able to get regular feedback and mentoring on my performance, there is a high level of trust amongst my co-workers and clients and a strong support system. There is an emphasis on having a flexible work-life balance, having fun, and I feel there is genuine interest in investing in my personal and professional development and there are resources available for me to do so.

One example of this is my one-on-one catchups every fortnight with Kym, the Managing Director. During these sessions we catch up and are free to talk one-on-one and raise any issues, as well as plan for my personal and professional development. I know some organisations where leaders have one-on-ones once a quarter, or even once a year (god forbid) which seems absolutely crazy to me now!

I have been in the full-time workforce for less than 3 months and I already feel as though I have learned and developed more than I could have possibly done doing a two year grad program at a big corporate, and by far the culture has been the biggest driver of this. Culture was my choice and it should be yours too.