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Company Culture & Employee Engagement

On Monday 23rd May, Park City were delighted to jointly host a seminar at Wivenhoe House, attended by around 80 Essex Business Leaders. Here is a copy of Operations Director, Tim Price's presentation. Please contact us if you have any questions about the contents of the presentation.



The World is changing, so the workplace must be changing too! And we definitely know that’s true, don’t we?

I'm sure you recognise many of these statements: high employment, economic recovery stimulating growth, more staff resources required or more productivity from existing staff, less time for you to work on your business plan as you're too busy working, increase demand for staff flexibility, mobile devices and social media everywhere, cloud based real time data, 24 hour emails, inbox, outbox, junk, clutter, etc etc etc. It’s an ever more complex environment we and our colleagues operate in - indeed whether we are in or out of Europe, frankly may not even register on your daily discussion list! And managing staff in this ever increasing complex business world is a challenge - probably the biggest we face.

In a recent global survey conducted by a global accountancy firm, 3300 business, across 106 countries, large, medium and small, CEO’s, Directors and HR leaders, were interviewed and asked for their views. The top five business challenges for human capital, employees were:

1. Culture & Engagement

2. Leadership

3. Learning & Development

4. Reinventing HR

5. Workforce Capability

I want to focus on the first and most important one, "Culture and Engagement". 87% of businesses sited Culture and Engagement as the most critical business factor that was in their control.This was reinforced last week, when as my last Engagement as IoD Essex Chair , I presented The East of England Director of the year awards, along with the other branch Chairman. Essex-based directors did well winning the "International Director of the Year" award and "Director of a Business over £100m" as well as the overall winner for the East of England. They and all the winners something in common: they all had at the heart of their business a clear culture which was clearly articulated and critically they could demonstrate that they were all engaged with their staff as were their staff with them - it's a two way thing.

So back to the survey,

How many of the respondents have a staff engagement and retention strategy or programme?  

18% said they had no strategy

16% admitted their strategy was outdated

38% recognised their errors and were updating it

28% had updated their strategy in the last 18% months

But in any event this is not good enough, in today’s fast changing business and social media world, your people retention and engagement strategy or programme needs to be organic, real time, subject to discussion and reported on at each management and board meeting. It’s that important. And here’s why…...

Employees are now just like customers; I’ll say it again! Employees are now just like customers! Companies, you business leaders here today, have to consider them as volunteers, they chose to work for you!

As the job market has heated up and new technologies have exploded, power has shifted from the employer to the employee. Websites like Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Facebook and others not only increase transparency about a company’s workplace, they make it far easier for employees to learn about new job opportunities and gain intelligence about company cultures and the reason they or others do the things they do at work.

Typically if your company culture is not aligned to theirs and they feel that they are disengaged from your business they will leave! Notice I say, it’s their culture and their engagement, so much influence and power to decide now lies with the employee.

I’m pleased to confirm that this global trend also extends to Essex, East Anglia and London, as demonstrated by an increase in requests to us, at Park City, now and over the last 12 months, to support and deliver company staff engagement projects and culture and communication alignment, this also leading, in many cases to leadership training, CMI in our case. In addition we also support real key role succession planning programs.

Back to Engagement

Organisations that create a culture defined by meaningful work, employee engagement, job and organisational fit, and strong leadership are outperforming their peers and will likely beat their competition in attracting and retaining the best staff and talent. Ultimately they will outperform their competitors financially too.

So where do YOU start?

Engagement starts at the top:

  • Make Engagement a corporate priority, and modernize the process of measuring and evaluating;
  • Benchmark the company; strive for external recognition as a validation of your efforts, awards, rating sites, social media and the internet all helps here! And reinforce to management/leadership that the engagement and retention of people is their No.1 job;
  • Measure in real time: put in place real-time programs to evaluate and assess organisational culture;
  • Make work meaningful: focus on leadership, coaching, and performance management and communication to help employees make their work meaningful. Reinforce the importance of a coaching and feedback culture, and teach mangers or leaders how to be authentic and transparent;
  • Listen to "Millennials" (your younger staff) - very un-PC I know but it’s time to get real: their desires, needs and values will shape your organisation’s culture over the next 10 years, and if this is not your staff you can bet it’s your future clients, so LISTEN AND ACT;
  • Simplify the work environment: this is individual to each of you, so not particularly easy to generalise, but it includes the actual office environment, it includes systems and procedures and it involves you, be simple and clear in your communication and engagement with your staff, and get everyone involved…….

The old adage “Culture and Engagement eats Strategy for breakfast” applies to every organisation today.

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