13 May

Hire the right people and then stay out of their way

The whole point of creating a great place to work is to keep hold of the best teams and attract fresh, new and exciting talent to growing even better teams.

Not news really.

For any employee benefits programme, that has to be your end goal and result. If you haven’t managed to create a great place to work, then something’s not right somewhere else.

Hmmm – where could that be... Um, your culture?

Here’s the thing. You can portion off a sizeable chunk of your budget to develop an employee benefits programme, because it’s what all your competitors are doing and it’s all very ‘now’ and it’s the thing to do BUT…if you have a company culture which is just a bit ‘off’, then anything you layer on top of that is going to feel like an ‘epic fail’.

There are companies that operate within the same sector, offering the same types of employee benefits and spend similar amounts of money investing in their people who fall into two camps – the good guys and the bad guys. They offer the same services but they have very, very different reputations when it comes to company culture and what it’s actually like to work there.

So what’s your company culture? Do you have one? Is it great? Is it horrendous?

Taking employee benefits right out of the equation for the moment (we rarely say that…we’re employee benefits advisers), look at your organisation for what it is, in the cold light of day.

Is it really a great place to work? Is it even a good place to work?

How can you develop a better culture and lock your employees into investing their entire (work) being into your mission, rather than headlock them into turning up at the office day in, day out to dance to your tune whilst gritting their teeth?

You develop the best ‘them’, that’s what you do. If you can bring out someone’s best version of themselves at the workplace, your business will vibrate with success. Good culture.

If you bring out someone’s worst version of themselves at the workplace, they will grudge every minute they spend with you and take everyone around them down with them in their spiral of toxic negativity. Bad culture.

Every employee in your organisation should come to work every day feeling excited, proud, with belief in your organisation, your mission and the way you do things. That’s what makes the difference between one of your team doing a job, and doing an amazing job.

But how do you transform a terrible culture into a great one and actually, can you even do that? Does that mean you have to change the way people are?

Yes probably. Right at the top.

If you’re considering introducing an employee benefits programme, you need to be really up front and honest about what’s going down in your company culture, because that’s going to be a key factor in determining how successful your employee benefits programme will be. You wouldn’t move a lovely, brand new piece of furniture into a pigsty of a room and sit back and think “Yeah, that works really well – much better”. You do the tidying up and the groundwork before bringing in new stuff. Create the right environment to introduce new things.

Gone are the days when we manufacture the desired corporate culture. It doesn’t work like that. It just falls apart. What’s happening now is that there’s a shift to ‘being real’, or ‘getting real’. Being honest about who you are and what your values as a company actually are and if they don’t stand up as being honest values, you need to change them.

Values need to be believed to be lived and breathed. Too many companies have values that sound great, but aren’t real because people in the organisation just don’t behave that way. So if they don’t behave that way, they’re not believing what the company stands for and they’re not bought in to helping that organisation to fulfill its mission statement.

Communication needn’t be awful. Communication works when the structure bit is structured really, really well and is accessible to all and when there are enough opportunities for informal communication.

Fairness and respect can be achieved by treating employees like grown ups. Look at how Netflix revolutionised company culture, stating that it hires only “fully formed adults”, allowing the people they employ to work with freedom and responsibility, right down to unlimited holiday time, expenses that do not require any approval and getting the job done in a timeframe that produces the best results, rather than sitting in the office putting in exhausting facetime (waste-time!). The culture of “freedom and responsibility” is detailed in the legendary ‘Netflix Culture Deck’ (definitely worth a read).

And we know that Google is the best company to work for in the UK because of its “cool culture” and “amazing people” but did you know that it was also down to the level of trust given to employees?

See the theme emerging?

We’ve started to hear the phrase ‘hire the right people and then stay out their way’ more often in recent years.

So yes, there is a movement here and maybe the key to developing a healthy, progressive, enviable company culture is more about trust than we might have thought. It’s certainly seems to be the way things are going.

To trust anything and anyone sometimes requires that huge shift in mindset, and perhaps this is what organisations should be looking at first before considering adding or subtracting any element that makes it a great, or not so great place to work.

They do say that trust is the foundation that everything is built on. Even corporate culture and the success of employee benefits programmes (well, we said that bit…)

Food for thought!

Have a great weekend

The whole DAM team


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