Culture has become something of a buzzword around the HR industry of today. Dependent on your point of view, it’s either a fluffy distraction dreamt up by HR, or a critical factor when it comes to driving employee engagement and business performance.
When culture isn’t a priority:
Back when I started my HR career, the culture of an organisation wasn’t something I’d ever given a thought to. Provided the people I worked alongside were nice enough, it didn’t cross my mind to be concerned about an organisation’s culture when I applied for jobs. Job description, responsibilities, and location – sure, all of those were important – but culture? It wasn’t something which was really on my radar.
That all changed when I took on a junior HR role within an organisation whose culture was going horribly, terminally wrong. A blame culture was prevalent throughout; employees and managers alike were governed through fear, and I couldn’t wait to leave the office at the end of each day. Within little over a year I had made the decision to move on; and this time, culture was at the very top of my agenda.
What a difference a job makes
Having seriously lucked out on the culture stakes that time around, with my next role I hit the jackpot, and all of a sudden I discovered the difference a positive, motivating culture can make to each and every individual employee. All of a sudden, I couldn’t wait to get to the office each morning – dreading Monday mornings was a thing of the past. I felt empowered to make decisions and to support others in their decision-making processes. No longer did I feel afraid to make mistakes – it was culturally acceptable to try something new and to push the boundaries in pursuit of something awesome. And, with increasing responsibility for the overall HR remit, I could take a lead role in driving that culture forward and ensuring everyone across the business benefited from it as I did.
When you are fortunate enough to experience a great organisational culture, you become unwilling to settle for second best. I spent almost nine years in my previous organisation and knew that it was going to be a challenge to find somewhere else which could meet or exceed my expectations from a cultural perspective. This is where Benefex came in.
If you’ve read through the above and still fall into the camp of ‘fluffy distraction’ at the start of this post – great, so you might enjoy coming to work every day, but why should that be a priority above focusing on on delivering the business objectives? Well, I’m going to have to disagree with you. Sure, working for organisations which proactively drive a great culture has given me a huge amount of job satisfaction, but that’s merely the tip of the iceberg.
Culture and wellbeing go hand-in-hand
By actively wanting to come into work each day, my mindset is different from the moment I cross the office threshold. Instead of putting off tasks, I’m throwing myself into them, and delivering better and more frequent results as a consequence. Because I enjoy my role so much, I don’t have to make that horrendous work/life differentiation we so often seem compelled to make, in the form of the work/life balance argument. Work is part of my life: it’s a part of my life which I enjoy very much, and which I want to do well at. As a result, I might find myself dreaming up solutions to a work-related problem while I’m eating breakfast on a Saturday morning, or while watching my daughter at her swimming lesson. No one is asking me to do that – I’m making an active choice to do so, because it’s something that engages me and something that I want to do.
If you’re still not convinced…
So, if we compare the example of the ‘me’ in one of my early roles: desperate to get out of the door each day, terrified to try something new, with me today: motivated, driven and enthused; which employee do you want working for your organisation? Which employee is going to drive results, implement change and make a genuine difference to your business? And how can you do everything in your power to ensure that your employees fall into that second category every single time?
Next time: Kathryn dives into the murky depths of the onboarding process.