PUBLISHED May 18, 2023

by Rachel Smith

6 min read time

Creating a Great Workplace Culture

creating-a-great-workplace-culture creating-a-great-workplace-culture

Codex was first recognised as a Best Workplace™ in Ireland by Great Place to Work in 2017. Since then, we have worked hard to refocus our organisational culture to actively engage and listen to our customers and employees.

But how have we handled this cultural expansion, and what measures are we taking to guarantee a good workplace culture and positive environment for everyone? Continue reading to learn about our efforts to establish a great workplace culture while keeping our values at the forefront of this endeavour.


Becoming a Great Place to Work


Brendan Murphy launched Codex in 1979 to provide organisations with unmatched customer service when sourcing high-quality office furniture and office supplies. Over the last 44 years, we have grown from a one-person business to over 90 employees and a €33 million annual revenue to become Ireland’s leading B2B office solutions provider.

However, our journey was not always smooth sailing, and the epidemic’s difficulties posed for Codex reminded us that having solid core beliefs is now more crucial than ever when making major decisions.

During this period, the organisation also changed in leadership, introducing Patrick Murphy as the newly appointed CEO. A further change also saw the introduction of a flat hierarchy. And while there are senior and wider management teams at Codex, Patrick looked to improve the traditional tiered hierarchy by incorporating a more conventional structure to ensure that all employees can drive and influence change.

Together with the newly established SMT, Patrick focused on ensuring the company's commercial and cultural goals aligned as we adapted to changing customers’ needs. Defining Codex's values was the foundation for the primary project and its structure, with employees from all levels of the organisation contributing to this collaborative endeavour. The level of employee participation helped to increase ownership and knowledge of the values throughout the company, with employees asked to provide feedback and cast their votes on what they believed truly enforced Codex’s core belief.


Codex's Great Place to Work Journey


The Values That Shape Us


The five guiding principles of Codex are customer first, innovation, integrity, belonging and ambition. Not only curated by our employees but these values were also developed by acknowledging the lessons learned over the years and the idea that an organisation’s core principles should guide its strategy rather than vice versa.

Customer-first means prioritising our customer’s needs. Implementing programmes like improved onboarding and induction allows new hires to contribute to this core value immediately.

Innovation is finding new and creative ways to solve our customer’s challenges. With €2 million invested in IT infrastructure and solutions over the previous three years, we have successfully delivered on this promise through a thorough investment in technology and innovation.

Integrity means we do not believe in cutting corners at Codex; instead, we believe in doing things correctly, not quickly. Through the Codex Cares programme, employees collaborate to discover activities and projects that will lessen our carbon footprint, benefit our community, and help local students find the right career for them and build on it.

Belonging means valuing the connections we make with all our stakeholders. Since 2022, we have seen employee involvement in decision-making increase by 12% at Codex, reflecting a sense of community and greater employee involvement.

Ambition is driving our business growth and development through continuous improvement. Since 2019, we have seen 16 internal staff moves at Codex, demonstrating our dedication to continual talent development.

Our trustworthiness reached 78% in 2022 through all these actions, earning us recognition as Ireland's Best Workplace™ in the Small Category in 2021, 2022, and 2023. The impact of strong values and culture on our organisation is also highlighted by a rise in turnover from €28 million in 2020 to €33 million in 2022, proving that employees who feel happy and cared for at work can provide a fantastic experience to the customer.


Our Ongoing Commitment to Being a Great Place to Work


Even with the positive implementation of our values and the success that has been our workplace culture to date, we must continue to infuse our values into everything we do as we grow.

One piece of advice that our CEO Patrick Murphy provides to business leaders looking to reignite their cultural journey is that it is crucial to include your organisational values in every aspect of your business, from role definitions and performance management to professional development plans.

We continue to invest in resources, placing emphasis on attracting and retaining top talent to reach our ambitious growth goal, with plans to create 10 new jobs in 2023.

We also believe in investing in our people and developing them within our organisation to take on more responsibility within the company, thus far creating 16 internal promotion opportunities since 2019, all while ensuring gender equality remains paramount. Over 50% of the wider management team is now female-led.

Our average retention rate of 9 years is a testament to our unwavering commitment to retaining top talent and fostering a culture of continuous learning and innovation. Even during the most difficult times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, where we successfully maintained our entire workforce and provided job security for all employees, we have positioned ourselves for continued success by investing in our people.


Emily McKenzie Joins the Great Practices and Action Planning Panel


Head of Marketing at Codex Emily McKenzie recently participated in Great Place to Work’s panel discussion on Great Practices and Action Planning. Business leaders and professionals met to learn about developing and sustaining a positive workplace culture.


Codex's Head of Marketing Emily McKenzie Joins GPTW Great Practices and Action Planning Discussion Panel


Joining her on the panel were Fania Stoney, Business Development Strategist at Great Place to Work Ireland, Julia Wilhelmi, HR Business Partner at B. Braun Medical Limited, and Jennifer Emerson, Director of People & Culture at Midlands Park Hotel.

With an emphasis on adaptation, topics covered everything from mastering the fundamentals to gaining leadership support. The main takeaways focused on fostering a culture of belonging and investing in employee well-being.

Emily captured the importance of the event not only for cultural growth in businesses but also for herself:

“As an introvert, public speaking has never come easy for me. In fact, I still painfully remember being so anxious about a presentation I had to give at university that I ran out of the room crying before I even finished my opening sentence.

Over the years, I've tried pushing myself out of my comfort zone and saying yes to opportunities that may scare or intimidate me - all in the name of personal growth.

Thank you to Fania Stoney and the Great Place to Work® Ireland team for inviting me to participate in the panel discussion. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing some of Codex’s GPTW tips and advice with the audience. I'm taking lots of learnings away from this discussion and what my fellow panellists, Jennifer Emerson and Julia Wilhelmi, shared with the room. And my younger self is giving me a pat on the back for this one!”


The Special Ambassadors Award


In February, Codex employees HR Director Aisling Murray and Head of Marketing Emily McKenzie won the Special Ambassadors Award at the GPTW 2023 Best Workplaces. Aisling and Emily were awarded the medal for their crucial contributions to articulating, codifying, and branding the culture and employee experience journey. Aisling and Emily have played a key role in developing, defining, and extending Codex's principles as an organisation by assisting the organisation and our employees through a growth trajectory and rebranding. They actively involved stakeholders from across the company throughout the process and continue to work to live up to those principles internally and publicly.


Check out how Codex continues to embrace organisational culture through Our Values.



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