I was leading a session with senior staff and Board members recently about the need for workplace culture reform. The newly appointed CEO was passionate about this. She had been in the job for 3 months now and “…things had to change around here if we are going to be competitive in the new funding arrangements…” The session was fixated on some of the supposed “perks” that had evolved in the workplace for front line staff. Things like monthly meditation sessions, availability of a “subsidised” masseuse once per month for staff and celebratory luncheons for team members who were having a baby, leaving or reaching an important life milestone. Then there was a slam of the Lunch Time Walking Groups that were taking up too much time.
I couldn’t resist so I asked the question. Do you know which company has won the best place to work award? It’s google isn’t it? No – but close. Its Atlassian an information technology and software company, followed by Mecca Brands (Retail). I asked the next question. Do you know what makes them great places to work? Blank faces. My final question – Is your organisation a great place to work? Mumble grumble.
We do work with social care sector organisations that have lost their way. Organisations that were are so dependent on government funding and committed to complying that they have forgotten what it really is like to be a great place to work.
At the end of the day it is about building a culture that supports a high performing organisation. Remembering that Atlassian is one the most successful IT companies around as well as being a great place to work. In order to get that you need to build loyalty and commitment. The way to get loyalty and commitment is trust. Building trust is a process but it does mean pushing responsibility onto your team members and trusting that they will follow through. Its about your team members trusting you and the organisation. Cultural change takes time and investment but as the evidence suggests its well worth the investment. Companies with a culture of mistrust don’t succeed.
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