Employment Today: Great culture comes from living the right values
This month, subscribers to Employment Today are reading our take on building and sustaining a successful culture of innovation. But what sits behind that culture? Colleen Bardsley, Director of HR, explains the importance of the corporate values which underpin everything we do.
My tips for Employment Today readers are all about creating and sustaining a culture of innovation. They boil down to:
- Measuring your success. Surveys and other data tell us where we stand. Today 95% of our people agree that Jade cares about their wellbeing and our staff attrition rate is 7.8% (vs an average of 10% across leading IT workplaces).
- Engaging individuals, teams, and leaders. Strong culture starts at the top. My team can rely on our board, CEO, and Executive team. They support all our people with leadership responsibilities to live our values and support our culture. That filters down to the way our teams collaborate, and how we get to know and respect our people as individuals.
- Holding events and programs that boost and sustain resilience. From informal sessions where people share their interests to a day spent crushing cars with tanks, we organise a wide range of activities for staff. Whatever the activity, we make sure it clearly links to our values.
- Taking a 'portfolio' approach to career development. In recruitment, through induction, and in the way we develop people and careers we encourage fresh thinking and collaboration. We believe that people who fit our culture will bring great ideas, and we give everyone a real say in which skills they develop, and how.
- Innovating as an HR team. Just like our software designers and developers, my team implements new ideas without fearing failure, unbound by the ‘industry standard’ way of doing things. We look far and wide for inspiration. More than anything else, we rely on and challenge each other to keep learning, listening and collaborating.
This all contributes to Jade’s cultural wellbeing, and there’s a lot of connection between our initiatives as well. For example, measuring our success means that my team can prove that our outcomes add value to the bottom line. By earning leadership support, we gain the space to be innovative and try new things out. This leads to new and better programs for our staff, which boost the engagement and retention that we’re always measuring.
The role that values play
All of these things that we do come back to a simple purpose: letting our corporate values come through in everything that Jade does. Whatever new ideas we work with, and however our people change and grow, our core values remain the same:
We share these values, and we’re alive with them all. They’re on our mind when we design new events. They’re a key to the way we hire and induct new staff. Career development at Jade is an evolving, ongoing expression of our values. I see them in action every day, which is a vital sign of cultural health.
Properly encouraged and nurtured, values become habitual. Its rewarding and energising to be part of a positive culture that sustains itself because the right values are built into what people do and how they do it. When it’s natural for people to collaborate, be real, and perform their best, that’s just what they do. If there’s something stopping them, we’ll help move it. Actions like these mean we earn people’s trust - they believe us when we say we want them to have fun, and grow as people.
We’ve learned that it’s possible to be a fast-moving, high impact HR team on one hand, and a stable, valuable part of the company on the other. That speed and energy comes from the scope we have to find new ways to put our values into action, at every level of the company. Our stability comes from having long-lasting values as a touchstone where we sign off with pride on our daily work.