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What's the Real Value of Organisational Culture?

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Biscuit Recruitment held a guest panel talk to discuss the importance of culture and how vital it is that culture is embroidered into every aspect of an organisation’s fabric.

The panel was made up of Becky John (Team Coordinator at Google), Pete Willis (Director of sales at Harri UK) and Nancy Miguel (Founder of Make Up London Academy).

Each have experienced employers from different perspectives and could shine a spotlight on how their experience of culture has shaped their attitude towards work.

Here are 5 things we learned…

1. Trust is key

This seems like something that should go without saying — you made them the offer of employment because you believed that they are the right match for your company, so why not trust them?

Pete has been the figurehead for Harri’s UK growth. Harri has an extremely low turnover — in the last 2 years, 2 people have left the company. Pete believes that the reason for this is honesty and trust. From first interview he’s honest with potential employees and he gets the same honesty in return.

One of the biggest elements of trust is that he doesn’t clock-watch; if someone turns up at 10am it’s because they worked until 7.

Of course, a system like this would be easy to take advantage of, but there hasn’t been a single incident where Pete has felt that someone is taking advantage of his management style. When you trust someone in this way, you show a level of respect that makes them want to go above and beyond for you.

With a company made up of freelancers, trust was also something Nancy had struggled with. Figuring out when people were most productive made a world of difference.

It was a journey for me to trust my people.

If someone doesn’t work well in the morning, there is no point in giving them a 10am deadline. Learning this unleashed the full potential of her staff.

2. Millennials are ‘slashies’

We promise this isn’t what it sounds like…

At Google, Becky has noticed that their company culture respects that employees now want to do things they enjoy outside of work as well as excelling in their job. In fact, most of them are pretty good at it.

Being able to manage my mind and work load is so unbelievably freeing.

For example, Becky could spend her working week at Google successfully managing her principals, and then the weekend teaching cohorts of acting students or giving time to one of her many crafts.

Employees are now so much more than their job, not only are they a lawyer; they are a lawyer/writer/photographer. What makes someone need an afternoon off once every now and again also makes them different and interesting.

3. Establish a common goal and your people will collectively work towards it

Establishing a central heartbeat and focus for employees goes hand-in-hand with creating a workforce that is motivated and productive.

When Pete joined Harri, he was given the opportunity to be the 1st person in the UK office and to build a team of passionate people. His priority was to ensure that every hire he made had two things in common — 1. Have a passion for the hospitality industry, 2. Have a fantastic personality. Because of this, the team is thriving and motivated.

Becky was drawn to Google for a similar reason, they were recruiting people who were like-minded and valued creativity. Being an Executive Assistant, it’s hard to find a work/life balance when you’re the first port of call.

Backlogs of work and returning from a holiday to a load of problematic emails that should have been actioned 5 days ago are symptomatic of a poor team culture.

Team culture means that everyone has each-other’s back, spreading a workload this way is a much happier and healthy way to work. Not only is this an effective tool for time management, it also goes a long way in stamping out blame culture and improving employee wellbeing.

By embedding the same core values throughout the team, everyone knows what they are working towards and are more than willing to help everyone else get there.

4. Invest in your people and they will invest in you

If a company gives time to an employee, the employee gives back twice what they were given.

If you give me 10 minutes, I’ll give you an hour.

This is such a cliché, but there really is no smoke without fire. If you were to sit down with your employees or colleagues today, get to know them, what they find interesting, what they enjoy and their interests outside of work — you’ll almost certainly find a new way of involving them and discovering a hidden talent.

Eliminate hierarchy — there’s no room to spread your wings. It’s hugely important that everyone represents the talent brand.

Not only does investing in your people mean giving up your time and resources, it also means listening to them on a level playing field. The days of senior staff members looking down on those below them and dismissing their opinion are a thing of the past. The answer to a problem may lie in someone who sees it from a different perspective.

5. Balance = creativity

Allowing people to work the way they want will eventually benefit everyone.

Everyone is different — they may even find new and inventive ways of working if you let the freedom of ideas flow.

When people are allowed to be themselves and have other interests that they can fully commit to alongside work — creativity flourishes. By letting someone pursue their passion and giving them the time they need to do so may also allow that person to view a problem in a different way and come up with a creative solution.

Most importantly, we’ve learnt that…

A motivational and inspiring organisational culture is becoming more than just a luxury; in terms of attraction and retention, respecting employees and valuing their time is essential.

Companies who give employees the freedom to be themselves and the time they need to do so will thrive.


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