Culture Club

When you have a great Manager in an organisation that lives its values and respects what its employees bring to the game, you’ll know that nothing is more important than managerial behaviour. It influences employee action and drives a company’s vision of tomorrow.

Your organisation’s culture matters. It’s a big reason why great people want to join you and they’ll only stay with you if that culture is matched by what they see around them, by the leadership they witness in practice, and by how they are embraced and developed.

But how do you quantify the quality and impact of something so intangible?

Not so long ago the CMI, Glassdoor and Job Site published a report on ‘Leadership and Culture at Work’ and that report identified real-life examples of great culture and leadership in the UK from a myriad of companies.

With an ever changing business world it’s always good to see what others are doing to keep ahead of those changes and make sure that what you are doing marries up (or if not, you have some foresight so that you can keep up!)

The report is a systematic attempt to showcase positive cultures and leadership, and then to reflect their relationship with business performance.

In interviewing these companies, it was discovered that something new and exciting is going on in business today. The best, most innovative modern companies (and they range from global to small) put their organisational and management culture front and centre.

Their characteristics aren’t something you only discover once you’ve joined; they’re integral to how these companies position themselves. In the very best organisations, culture and leadership provide a competitive edge.

Are you living up to the standards of the elite?

Here are just some of the points from the top 20 report that shows how we can all learn from the best.

The report discusses the priorities these best companies for leadership and culture are putting at the forefront:

Plan for Progression and Growth

Staff turnover is natural, but the top 20 companies tend to share an ability to keep their stronger people for longer. They do this by encouraging growth and loyalty through internal promotion.

Staff become more motivated because they are more supported and this in turn helps the business as existing people already have the requisite experience in the company and are more likely to adapt quicker to the needs of the more senior role.

Of course this means that training, coaching and mentoring is a must in a forward thinking organisation. When you put the emphasis on developing your individual team members it shows them they are valued which builds loyalty. Let’s face it a company is proving it has the vested interest of the employee at heart when it invests in training and development. I’m sure we’ve all heard the old adage that it’s better to train your staff and run the risk of them leaving, than it is to not train them and run the risk of them staying.

Hire For Cultural Fit

Hire people on behaviours first and technical skills second. You can teach the intricacies of most positions, but can you teach behaviours? Most top 20 companies in the study put their values first, middle and last. Their values drive employee engagement and more companies these days put values at the head of their recruitment process.

Assessing the cultural fit of any new hires is as important as what is on their CV; fact.


Many of the top 20 companies advocate giving their staff a degree of independence and free-thinking that allows them some semblance of control as this helps create a culture of transparency and openness.

Of course this requires a large helping of trust, and that is exactly what the top 20 companies in the report are advocating: the continuous journey towards a culture of freedom and independence, hence advocating an autonomous and free-thinking team culture.

More Frequent Performance Reviews

Performance management is seen as an opportunity to fuel personal development and growth, not a check-up on results. This isn’t about micro managing performance, it’s about creating value amongst the staff by ensuring the frequency of performance discussions are both fruitful, positive and aligned with what is most important to the business.

When you weave company values into regular performance reviews as a matter of course, that message never gets diluted.

Online Communication/Collaborations

Most of the top 20 companies in the study embraced social networking for their communications with remote teams. Most use it to ‘share expertise’ or to engage their teams in the latest updates from the company.

Whatever the medium used, making sure your staff get regular communications and have the option to suggest new ideas and concepts will enhance the feeling of collaboration and community, wherever they may be.

The study gives an insight into what great companies to do achieve, maintain and develop their people and businesses, and we can all learn a little from the pains they have gone through to get to the position of best ‘top 20 companies’ for leadership and culture.

I know many more than 20 companies that adopt these principles and here’s to many more joining the ranks of the ‘culture club’.

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