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Creating a great workplace culture to attract and retain talent

As the business landscape shifts and new employees join the workforce, it is not uncommon for organisations to recognise a need to proactively change their culture to make sure they are attracting and retaining the talent they need.

Formed over many years, often by personnel who have long since left the company, the office culture pervades all. By its very definition, culture is the manifestation of humans regarded collectively.

In workplace terms, a culture can be gleaned in many different ways, some a lot more subtle than others. The social life of the staff, team structures, office layout and décor, brand, worksystems and HR, recruitment, internal and external communication, all drive and reflect the culture. They key is to know when and how to change it, as the organic lifecycle of a company can and will demand it.

Only a few decades ago, most offices were, at first glance, very similar – quite formal, with clear departmental delineations and distinct hierarchies.

Changes since then, however, have been huge; we now have a more female and international workforce; technology is at the heart of all business, and our education system has adapted accordingly. The culture of a company is much more varied now than a few decades ago, when things such as flexitime, pool tables, hot-desking and duvet days would have seemed a laughable concept to your average HR or CEO.

So if you feel your culture is still stuck in the past, or needs to be changed to appeal to more staff, here are ten tips on how to manage the process.

1.Recognise and understand that the culture needs to change

It sounds obvious but many senior management or HR teams are not aware of the overall culture of the company, let alone the minutia from team to team. Finding out why the culture needs to change can be key.

2. Consider the team

You need to consider the motivations of your team – both explicit (i.e. promotion, salary, hours) and implicit (satisfaction, team relationships, implicit learning).

3. Mission statement and values

What are the objectives of your company, what does it stand for? This may take you right back to the start, as what you are doing is essentially a kind of rebrand.

4. Set a timeline

Never lose track of your long-term goal. You may need to be flexible, as there will be variables along the way.

5. Management buy-in

The process of any change cannot be managed without complete co-ordination from the management team. They will be the ones who will help implement any changes so involving them in the audit and planning is imperative

6. Communication

As much transparency as possible is needed in the communication to your team. It is an acknowledgement that things are being updated and a demonstration of a forward-looking management, that needs to be promoted positively and honestly throughout.

7. Remember the past

Culture is built on heritage - and heritage is strongly linked to loyalty. For this reason, look to retain some traditions while starting new ones, however trivial they may seem. Your staff will appreciate it.

8. Make it sustainable

Do not try to make changes that are too broad-brush or just too bold. Ensure your plan is workable and will not take you, or most importantly your CEO, too far from the main business objectives.

9. Measure

A set of targets, made at the start, will enable you to measure the success of the culture change. These will vary according to your business and the reason for the change.

10. Be realistic

Always remember that culture develops over time. Recognising this, and being patient and flexible, will help you to drive through your plans.

Download our whitepaper for the tips in more detail and advice on how you can implement them within your organisation. It’s not a quick fix – much more a long haul, but if managed correctly, you and your company will reap the rewards. Complete the form below to download our guide.

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