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Culture wars? How company culture is the key to business success


In our previous blog on bullying we highlighted how fast growing companies can be fertile ground for bullying behaviour if not carefully managed. So we’re delighted to see that people and culture experts, Unleashed are on the same page as us when it comes to valuing the importance of company culture.

Unleashed are happy for us to share a summary of their thoughts on the issue below, and you can find their full blog on company culture here.

Start sooner rather than later…

Don’t wait for something bad to happen. Here’s what can happen if you do:

  • Reduced productivity and poor quality work – happy employees are more productive and a strong culture nurtures high performance.
  • Decline in employee wellbeing – a negative culture leads to increased levels of absenteeism linked to stress, depression, anxiety and burnout.
  • A revolving door – with the “Great Resignation” in full swing good staff are in short supply, businesses with an attractive culture not only have an advantage in the recruitment market but are more likely to hang on to existing employees.
  • Loss of customers – winning and retaining customers is inextricably linked to employees’ behaviour, without a positive culture staff won’t be motivated to advocate for your business.

Where do you start?

Assess your company’s culture to help identify any problems lurking on the horizon, here’s how:

  • Use your data – employee turnover and absenteeism records as well as exit interviews are simple data which can help you understand where there may be issues.
  • Use employee surveys – these are a great, flexible way to drill down into specific themes that you may be observing. Just make sure you act on the information you receive.

How do you change?

Once you have taken the time to assess what’s going on you’ll have a clearer idea of where you need to make changes. Here are 3 simple-to-execute ways for improving company culture:

  1. (re) Define what great looks like – by codifying behaviours you will help differentiate your business. i.e. go through a process of nailing down ‘the way we do things when we’re at our best’, agreeing on these together, and writing them down in an easy to understand way. Codification means that you can scale your culture consistently, as you make it clear to all your people (old and new) what is expected of them in your company.
  1. Review your people practices and embed culture and values – review the experience of your employees regularly and make changes where necessary. The best companies bring their values to life through their ‘People’ frameworks and processes. They design an interview that tests for ‘values alignment’ as part of their hiring process; they create a mechanism for peer-to-peer recognition when people live the values day-to-day; they ensure that ‘how you behave’ is just as important as ‘what you did’ when it comes to performance reviews.
  1. Be the change you want to see – leaders need to model the culture and values they are aiming for and make sure everyone knows what is and isn’t acceptable.

Unleashed work with early stage start-ups and scale-ups to build and execute great People Strategy, Operations, Infrastructure and Culture. To find out how they can help your business check out their website or contact them on: sayhello@unleashed.company

Please get in touch if you would like help with any of your policies or if you want to discuss our Legal HR training packages. 

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