By Purple Cubed Managing Director, Jo Harley
For most people the global socio-political climate is currently the most volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous it has ever been. The economic fallout of all this means that now, more than ever, people are concerned about what the future holds for them and, in particular, what this means for their own prospects. For example, this year Blue Monday (regarded by many as the most miserable day of the year), could have been the bluest ever, according to the expert behind the science.
Business leaders should not underestimate the responsibility they hold to help people navigate these times. The backbone of any successful business is its culture, highlighted ever so strongly in this article by AirBnB Founder, Brian Chesky. It’s nothing new, but now is the time to check back and make sure that your company values are not just ‘words written on a sign on your wall’. More than ever, people want to work somewhere with meaning, where they can contribute and feel proud doing it, they need to know what their company stands for, and trust in their leaders to support them and steer them through. Here are my three top tips for kick-starting this or getting it back on track:
1. Review your People Promise – what people can expect from working with you (traditionally termed the Employee Value Proposition or EP). This will ensure that the emotional contract you are asking people to sign up for is a true reflection of the culture of the business. This isn’t just about reward, recognition and development, but ‘how we do things here’, the way people are led, managed, communicated with, about CSR and so on.
2. Your People Promise must reflect the culture and values of the business, so ensure that these are clear, well defined (though memorable) and understood by everyone, being lived by all (especially your leadership) and are communicated properly from the beginning to all new employees, even before they join you. Putting ‘Value Champions’ ‘Buddies’ or as Principal Hotel Group calls them ‘gurus,’ in place will mean it’s not just a ‘management’ or ‘HR’ initiative.
3. It’s an old but true adage, people work for people not organisations. As businesses expand, key messages can get lost by middle management not possessing the same charisma and dynamism as those who founded the company or those who are on the board. Use a set of value aligned leadership principles to help guide new leaders as to the type of behaviour that is expected.
Above all, talk to people, reassure them that in return for a job well done they can expect trust, clear communication and stability.
Defining and embedding your culture and values is the first step towards truly transformational HR which we will explore in more detail in our next blog on measuring the true value of workforce.