As an experienced practitioner of culture change and one of Curium’s newest recruits, I wanted to use my blog to talk about how businesses can actively engage and motivate their people. This has been brought into sharp focus for me having recently undergone what was, to my mind, a model recruitment process.
Let me begin with my on-boarding journey. This is critical for companies to do well because it’s an interface with the market – and therefore a PR opportunity – but in my experience it’s often clumsily handled. This is what stood out for me when joining Curium:
• A recruitment process involving a multistage interview, but which was in a relaxed informal environment rather than the usual intimidating format that many companies use
• An invite to the team Away Day to meet the entire Curium team prior to receiving an offer of employment, so both sides could understand the cultural fit
• An onboarding process which included buddying up with other consultants, coffee and lunch dates, and lots of genuine interest and support from all members of the team to make sure I was fully clear on what the new role would involve and what the expectations would be
• Values led everything – values are a firm agenda point in every team meeting, and team members are actively encouraged to provide instant feedback if ever behaviour is displayed which does not align with the company’s values
All of the above helped create a safe and supporting environment which has allowed me to settle into my new role and hit the ground running.
More importantly, it was a vital first step in engaging and motivating me as an employee. I’m a firm believer that in any businesses it is not customers who comes first, but employees. After all, who is it that takes care of the customer if not the employees? If employees aren’t engaged and motivated into taking action, then it’s the ultimately the customer who will suffer. In the words of Sir Richard Branson, “If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.”
So, aside from a great recruitment process, how do you ensure that your people remain actively engaged?
1. Values focus – many businesses think they have a solid set of values that influence the corporate culture, but often this extends as far as displaying them on a wall and quickly forgetting about them. Values must be embedded into every aspect of daily routine, for example by ensuring they are discussed as part of every 121, or by linking them to performance appraisals – this will ensure they become infused into the DNA of the business, and how things are done will quickly become just as important as what is delivered.
2. Be picky with your people – take the time to hire people that are the right cultural fit. You can work this out through a good recruitment process (see above). So often, companies need to hire people in quickly and base recruitment on skills and experience. You can teach people skills, but you can’t fundamentally change a person, and trying to do so will disengage an individual as their own values are put under pressure.
3. Leadership – the behaviours of a company are largely influenced by the behaviours of the most senior leaders. Leaders have a responsibility to act as role models and display behaviours that align with values, and set a precedent for others to follow suit.
4. Communication – open and honest communication is key to allowing a team to achieve the best outcomes. Trust each other, embrace everyone’s different strengths and weaknesses, ask each other for help and share the highs and the lows. This way you’ll build an ongoing open dialogue that helps you to succeed as a business. A way that we actively encourage this at Curium is through ‘Tetramap’, a behavioural profiling tool that gives simple yet fascinating insights into the way people tend to work and react in different situations. Everyone who joins is ‘Tetramapped’ to help us have better insight and self-awareness as a team, leading to a more tolerant and supportive corporate culture.