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The world today is fast and furious, and people are faced with increased demands and workloads. Many organisations are concerned that their people are at risk of fatigue, or that they are just not capitalising on the full potential of their people. To address this, we need to put our people and their engagement at the heart of what we do – focusing on people and culture to help create happy, healthy and high performing people and organisations.
Organisations are grappling with how to foster their people’s passion and engagement. Unsure how to proceed, some have introduced one-off initiatives intended to help deal with stress or ‘improve culture’ only to see little impact or interest from their people. The tricky thing is that although culture needs to be deliberately cultivated, people also need it to feel spontaneous - not too planned and forced, and it must be anchored in our purpose. Organisational culture needs to be tackled through a holistic and integrated approach, not a once off initiative or programme.
To create the culture we want, we need a clear understanding of where our people are now, where the organisation wants or needs them to be in the future and the structure and mechanisms that will support them to build, drive and own that culture themselves. Whilst building for the future, we must foster the very best from the past. All of which needs to be remarkably simple and done within the context of the organisation’s purpose, strategy, vision, values, and wider goals.
If we do this and focus on our culture, we will drive high engagement and high engagement drives high performance!
“Organisational culture needs to be tackled through a holistic and integrated approach, not a once off initiative or programme”
Where to start? Always start with our purpose in mind – why are we here, what is our intent, connect senior leaders as a collective leadership team, and then build a culture that drives open and honest conversations where our people build trust and can make micro-change.
Our purpose and strategy anchors performance, it inspires us to do more and be better every day. When everyone is working towards clear and common goals, when they can clearly see their role in the context of the wider organisational strategy - all whilst feeling a sense of excitement and fun about coming to work - that’s when they will feel genuinely valued: and valued people do valuable work.
Make feedback and coaching an everyday thing. We use a tool called Joyous. It enables conversations that matter between our people and their direct leader, driving trust through meaningful conversations and micro-changes. It also builds leader capability and confidence in coaching. It supports us through building an open and transparent culture – making feedback a regular habit, not an annual event.
Senior leadership teams have the highest levels of influence in organisations, and when those teams are performing in a collaborative way, we can be sure that the whole business will feel this. So, we focus on senior teams, and in turn they collectively lead the organisation.
There are many other focus areas including, wellbeing, performance, clarity, reward and recognition, diversity and inclusion, behaviours and leadership expectations but we’ve got to start somewhere.
If nothing else remember:
• Culture needs to be deliberate but look and feel as if it’s spontaneous
• Culture needs to be holistic and integrated in all aspects of the organisation
• Co-build and co-create culture with your people
• Keep everything remarkably simple
Our people are our culture. Ask them, engage them, and inspire them to be their best. We know real engagement comes when our own people lead the way. They will have sustainable high performance and so will our business.