Strong emphasis on company culture breeds success, especially when times are tough
Remote and flexible working combined with a challenging economic landscape has forced the acceleration of new ways of working which we were already starting to see. It has never been more important to drive an innovative and cooperative company culture while employees may be far apart. Staff satisfaction and wellbeing has a direct impact on customer experience. If your staff aren’t happy, your customers won’t be. For many companies, the importance of this has certainly been highlighted during a time that has caused uncertainty for many.
Despite the challenges faced by managing an expanding business during a pandemic; a strong team ethic and honest approach to recruitment has allowed METCloud to build a robust team with a mutual vision of success, and weather the changes brought on during the past year.
There are several ways to utilise the opportunities that have arisen to steer a healthy culture, which is paramount in today’s working world. The right talent has always been essential and so with increased adoption of working from home strategies the pool of talent has expanded. We are no longer constrained by geography and we can now explore beyond borders for the right talent.
Here are some recommendations to ensure your culture is good enough to withstand rapid economic changes faced today:
Being brave has its benefits
Regular check-ins will help you to understand those you work with. It is vital that you are aware of what is happening within your business and in keeping an open environment you will be aware of any problems, if any, that may arise. However, knowing that something isn’t quite right is one thing but acting upon that can be daunting.
Three years ago, we took the step to restructure the business as the working culture wasn’t where we wanted it to be. It was a massive step as it also meant changing senior personnel, but we haven’t looked back since. It is not always easy, but it is certainly worth it. A toxic atmosphere and setting the wrong culture will result in high levels of staff turnaround and depressed productivity and creativity.
Establishing a set of core values that the whole company sign-up to and implement at every level of the organisation. It will have a massive impact on customer relationships and how colleagues interact with one another; encouraging respect and understanding of roles and responsibilities. Trust and honesty are key factors in inspiring a culture that makes for greatness. Inspiring colleagues to experiment, learn and be open with each other will ensure problems are nipped in the bud, ideas can be shared openly without judgement and staff will feel motivated to put their ideas into action. This will create an environment that breeds innovation, productivity and will ensure that you are the best you can be for your customers.
Invest in young people and diversity
Offering apprenticeships and welcoming those who are just starting in their careers helps to develop a solid foundation for innovation and makes for an environment with more depth of thought.
Where possible, invest in young people. When they are just starting out, they are hungry for knowledge and highly motivated to learn. Offering posts to those fresh from education, with an emphasis on quality training opportunities, will inevitably create amazing opportunities for both parties.
Diversity creates an environment ripe for revolutionary ideas. Allowing young team members to work directly with seniors provides mentorship opportunities and makes use of skill sets that lead to water-tight action plans. Established staff members grow by supporting and mentoring young people. The interaction, benefits and results can be outstanding.
Willingness to test, measure and learn
It might not always come naturally to those who run businesses to allow staff to experiment on new projects, but it can be conducive to major successes. Allow different departments to come together to discuss new initiatives and encourage the freedom to put them into action. Not only does it help others to learn more about their customers, but it also encourages collaboration and allows for greater visibility down the line.
A team member is placed in their role in accordance with their credentials, everyone has their own set of skills, expertise and experience so you have to trust in your employee’s abilities and allow them to work on things you may not fully understand.
Driving a progressive company culture sits hugely in trust, so allowing your staff to do what they are passionate about while taking note of their learnings will allow them to refine things and understand what works and what doesn’t, efficiently.
Understand that no one person has all the answers
Following on from the previous point, we always want to avoid ‘group-think’ scenarios as much as we can in our businesses. Hiring people from all walks of life and ensuring there is communication between them at all levels will ensure that you are thinking broadly enough. It can be all too easy to see the world from our view of it, but we must understand how to reach people from all different backgrounds, connect with them and build trust.
Implement regular workshops for idea generation, the testing of new products or to talk through new policies, including a mix of staff members, from different departments, with a variety of expertise.
Creating an environment where individuals can share their own points of view not only builds trust, but it can flag up any issues or generate ideas that haven’t been considered before. This can turn a business around!
No one person knows everything so encouraging collaboration is the catalyst for ground-breaking innovation.
Adopt a people-first attitude
Encouraging an open and honest environment for customers and employees alike prompts people to share their thoughts without judgement. This is key to growth.
Employees that look after one another and work collaboratively to achieve their goals will see an improvement that stretches across the entire company. Building this kind of culture will shine through to your customers who will appreciate an upfront approach.
Ensure regular communication between people from all levels. This can be difficult in the current climate but making sure regular meetings are in the diary, both for work purposes and personal will ensure employees are enjoying regular interaction, prevents the finer details slipping through the cracks and enables your team to feel comfortable around each other.
As a leader get to know your staff on a personal level – make it a priority to understand what they value the most and create a safe environment for them to share ideas, thoughts and feelings.
Ian Vickers is a Birmingham based technology entrepreneur who established Managed Enterprise Technologies Limited in 1998. Since relaunching the brand as METCloud in 2017, the company has been consistently recognised for its efforts in innovation and security.