If manners maketh the person, then people maketh the company!

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If manners maketh the person, then people maketh the company!

So you’ve heard of the phrase “Employee Engagement” (EE, no not the phone network) and “Company Culture” (CC, I’m not referring to carbon copying, as in that email you sent out without CC’ing in your boss) being thrown around more than “It’s coming home” and “it’s not you, it’s me” put together (both tragic) but what does Employee Engagement and Company Culture truly mean?

Employee Engagement

According to the internet, “Employee engagement is a workplace approach resulting in the right conditions for all members of an organisation to give of their best each day, committed to their organisation's goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, with an enhanced sense of their own well-being”.

Some say EE means free coffee and beanbags at work, some say having a vending machine keeps your employees going; people tend to refer to the material aspects of EE, but for me, the material aspects are add on’s or nice to have’s, they don’t truly create an inclusive and safe work environment/ culture that engages our employees to be their true and authentic selves at work. Let’s face it, sometimes people spend more time at work than they do at home, why would you actively deny your employees the right to be who they are, to feel that you genuinely care about their values and wellbeing?

Question time!

When was the last time you were asked by leadership how's it going? - No, not your work day, or tasks that you have to complete, but how are you doing, how are you feeling today and how're things for you on a personal level? We seem to have lost that ever so important human touch!

For the love of culture:

Culture, no I'm not referring to the fact that you visit various museums and galleries on the weekend, although, according to my good friend and Office Manager Pascalle (impromptu shout-out), the V&A have an amazing exhibition on the work of Frida Kahlo, be sure to tell your friends and colleagues that you visited this over the weekend, this for sure will make you sound a whole lot more "cultural" than saying you went to that dodgy rooftop (watering hole) over the weekend.

I’m also not referring to the fact that you eat alfresco (literal meaning, "in the air "for all of my non-Italian speakers) whenever the sun is out; side note, the weather in London has been amazing though, so make sure you top up on your sunscreen!  

I’m talking about Company Culture, according to the World Wide Web, Company Culture or organisational culture encompasses values and behaviours that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organisation"  essentially meaning that company culture refers to the collective values, beliefs, and principles of the organisational members, in a nutshell, we shape and cultivate our company's culture with our ideals, behavioural traits and mindset, yes I said we as in you and me.

I’ve spoken to various industry leaders that simply do not see the value in EE and CC, they see it as a fad or trend that will blow over; sometimes they say “my staff have a job and get paid, isn’t that good enough” my response to them has always been, “treat your employees well or somebody else will.”  I  believe that Mark Zuckerberg said it best,  "Treat your employees right so they won't use your internet to search for a new job."

You see, it’s not about what you think, it’s not about what you believe true engagement to be; you can’t just say “well there’s a bowl of fruit in the kitchen, what more do they want”  we have to learn as leaders that we do not represent the entire population (leave your ego out of it), we have to find out what our people value, what they think the good, the bad and the ugly looks like.Just like that good old song by Aretha Frank lin goes, R-E-S-P-E-C-T find out what it means to me… well, you know the rest  your employees are skilled, intelligent and resourceful, respect their opinion and uniqueness, it will serve you well in the long term. 

We as leaders should foster an environment whereby our people feel valued, protected and recognised.

“If you want to travel fast go alone if you want to travel far go together”

– African proverb

Invite your employees to go on this journey with you, speak with them, ask their advice and consult them before making decisions. Now don’t go taking this out of context, sometimes oversharing can have a negative impact on your employees, so be aware of the situation before doing the above.

Something, like redecorating the office, having a seat change or adding specific drinks to your fridge or vending machine, is a great way to start. Businesses tend to ask someone in HR or Office Management to make these changes, but how would you feel if someone came into your house and reshuffled things around; companies claim that “we’re a family and not just co-workers" but don't give their employees a voice.

Don’t kill your employees with kindness by giving them a beer fridge or basketball hoop, when you’re the only one in the office that drinks alcohol and prefers basketball over football.

Most brands out there have core values or principles that are plastered on their company website, LinkedIn page, and job adverts; but are you honestly sticking to these values in your everyday life.

Ask yourself,

Do your employees truly understand, believe in and champion your organisational values?

Are you assessing whether your values are being executed well on a day to day basis? 

Inauthenticity is a killer!

If you don’t have someone that can champion EE and CC for you, then you can partner up with brands that can support you with Diversity and inclusion within the workplace, you can even partner up with recognition and reward providers; but if your leaders/senior management aren’t behind these initiatives, then your colleagues will smell the awful stench of inauthenticity in the air! 

Nothing’s worse than saying you do something when you don’t.

How many times have we heard certain recruitment agencies (that will not be named) promise to find you the most amazing candidate in circa 4 weeks or less, they've even sent you a CV to peak your interest as they claim to have a candidate ready to go, but as soon as they sign your T's and C's, you then you realise it was all a sales tactic. The candidates they send over aren’t relevant and that amazing candidate that they sent across (removing their name and other details of course) has magically been placed with another company. Lies upon more lies.

It’s about the journey, not the destination

True EE and CC is a never-ending journey, if you've done it right, you'll never stop working on it. You'll always build on past successes and create new ways to improve your brand image and environment. Be in it for the long haul, don't get discouraged - keep at it.

The numbers:

Now you've looked at what EE and CC are, along with why you should focus on it, let's look at the facts and figures behind it.

Did you know that -

  • 90% of new employees make their decision to stay at a company within the first six months on the job
  • Only 13% of employees feel that their current employers share and understand their values and personal views.
  • Companies with an engaging/structured on-boarding program retained 91% of their new joiners for at least a year
  • 50% of employees in the UK are simply not engaged at work
  • Companies with engaged employees show a minimum of 6% higher net profit margins
  • 41% of employees are less likely to be absent from work (call in sick) if they are highly engaged

I can go on and on as the list of benefits for putting your people first are endless, but I'll leave it there as an introduction, note to self, always leave them wanting more :)

Try putting your employees first and watch what happens, you'll see an increase in success with your recruitment and referral campaigns with employees actively referring others to join your organisation, you'll see a better quality of candidate apply for your roles as your brand image and awareness will have increased. You'll see an increase in the duration in which your employees stay with your brand (employee retention). You’ll also find out that past employees will reach out to see if they can come back and work for your brand, reducing the costs of training and upskilling someone new.

The truth is, happy and engaged employees have a positive direct impact on the customer service your clients and or consumers experience, and the experience in which your clients or consumers have of your business and or employees, has a direct impact on your bottom line. It really is that simple, put your people first and the rest will fall into place.

My best,

Warren Carvér – Head of Talent, People & Culture at emagine Consulting.

Warren Carvér

Warren Carvér
T: +44 207 041 1009




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