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Feb 20, 2018

RockIT news,

How to develop a culture to be proud of in 2018

Have you started to think about your culture plan for this year? It feels like ‘culture’ and how to develop the winning formula is a hot topic of conversation. So how can a business focus on their culture, whilst still protecting their bottom line? I know just as much as the next CEO just how important this is, whilst I was developing a culture that is centred on vibrancy and fun, the question I was asking myself was, “how can I ensure this doesn’t have a negative impact on productivity?” Well, I’ve come to the conclusion that it doesn’t. If you get the internal culture right from the start, because happy and motivated staff are overall far more productive, the rest will almost certainly follow.

In November we were crowned Best Place to Work in IT with BCS and the UK IT Industry Awards. It was amazing to be there and to hear our name as the overall winner of such as prestigious and sought after award. But not only that, we were up against some really noticeable brands, such as Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays Bank and AO.com. So what did we do differently to anyone else? After we had accepted the award, one of the judges come over and approached us to congratulate us and said that we won for two reasons. Firstly, our branding – well we did create a family tree style presentation (aptly called the RockITree) and we even had jumpers branded up for the presentation. We knew then when we were surrounded by suited professionals that it was either going to make us standout and get remembered or they would think we were crazy (I had faith though). And secondly, our focus on people – it’s not a gimmick or a fad, we have always focused on our employees, only we hadn’t really made a big deal out of it, so it was great to get the recognition.

Although we’ve always thought of our staff as family (possibly because some are), last year was a real game changer for us as one of the major objectives for last year was to develop and improve our internal culture.

I knew that to understand the culture of our business, we first had to take a holistic view of the business and distil down to the values that we aspire to. This was a process which had already taken place in 2015 and from that we arrived at our core values. 

One of the greatest challenges we faced last year was how we could maintain our values and ensure they are relevant and at the forefront of everything that we do. We already knew that they were what we wanted to stand for and we knew that when followed they delivered a greater level of experience for both our employees and our clients, but how could we harness that excitement that we felt when they were first introduced? It soon became apparent that the core values we’d previously implemented needed to be inherent rather than a belief. They needed to be values that our people already possess and live by and they need to be considered in every decision at every level from the bottom to the top.

While our culture can be defined by our core values it goes further than that. To develop an award winning culture, we had a number of strategies relating to positive changes that were implemented last year. All of these were either related to or informed our core values and supported our efforts to deliver upon them, and included enhanced methods of top down and bottom up communication, making the business far more fluid and giving every individual a voice and air time with both formal board meetings and more casual Town Hall meetings.  They covered better ways of promoting the core values through individual improvement plans that influence greater levels of performance, and they focused on continuing to develop our in-house recruitment efforts, with open days for specific roles and person fit interviews to ensure the candidate’s own values mirror that of our own.

For 2018 and beyond we have developed a comprehensive Rock culture plan that we hope will get us noticed for all the right reasons. We want our employees to feel valued, supported and encouraged to be successful. We want to develop our environment so it can allow our employees to flourish. We’ll be creating new processes that cover employee onboarding, using journey mapping to define and enhance our current employee onboarding journey, and in refining this creates the ‘perfect first week’. We will focus more effort on our management development, ensuring they have access to state of the art training platforms to maintain skills that are current and supporting them in becoming better managers. We have a commitment to our employees and will ensure their health and well-being is also taken care of through various initiatives, such as a new recreational and relaxation area, supporting the internal fitness clubs that are run by various departments and a regular events calendar to make time for the fun that everyone can get involved in. Ultimately, what we hope to achieve is a culture where everyone is inspired and has the same opportunity to realise their full potential.

We will be in a better position to share our culture plans for the coming year once they have been successfully implemented throughout the business. But for anyone that can’t wait, you can get a flavour of what’s going on by liking our Facebook page or following us on Instagram.