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Digital Skills Summit Workshop Roundup 3 - Structuring Company Culture to Enhance Performance

If you missed the Digital Skills Summit last week here’s the feedback from Libby Freshwater, Office and HR Manager at Leapfrogg and what she discussed in her workshop:

  •  ‘Describe your current culture’

Some of words identified were:

  • Fun
  • Innovative
  • Creative
  • Happy
  • Valued
  • Purpose
  • Collaborative

Once we had our sheet of words aligned to a motivated culture we then brainstormed what makes up culture within an organisation, these consisted of:

  • Leadership
  • Environment
  • Company structure
  • Values and behaviour
  • The people
  • Systems
  • Processes

We then discussed how you can use this exercise to start creating your business values in line with the vision, moving away from the negativity of the current culture and how you can adapt it and start molding something new.

Using a method where you pick a motivated word/value from the list and then match it to what makes up culture to identify some ideas and solutions for achieving it. For example:

Picking collaborative and company structure, how can you introduce a work structure that is more collaborative? A possible outcome and idea would be to change the way teams work together and sit together (like we have done at Leapfrogg), instead of separating disciplines into work silos introduce a working structure that encourages collaboration on client work where a member of each discipline forms a team led by a team leader and they collaborate on services and ideas on a daily/weekly basis.  Because they are sitting together working on the same client campaigns, they each understand the clients business needs.

We then discussed who might be involved in the process of defining and structuring culture. 

There were mixed views on whether everyone should be involved, obviously this would be completely dependent on the size of the agency. For larger organisations this could be done in teams and then ideas bought together and worked on by a senior team to ensure involvement of all employees in the process. I shared the benefits of involving everyone at Leapfrogg in defining our culture, it made the team feel valued, engaged and recognised which helped us to create a more motivated workforce where employees really understand the vision and values of the organisation and feel a sense of purpose which increases confidence and performance levels.

However in some companies, involving everyone might be a bad idea, employees might seem threatened and feel uncomfortable giving feedback on culture, we discussed how this would need to be planned depending on the teams you have and working out a system that would work best for your business and employee needs.

I then moved us along to how you can incorporate internal L&D methods to the culture of the organisation, we brainstormed some ideas, these were as follows:

  • Setting time aside for L&D so client work is a percentage of time and internal development is part of the job
  • Have a culture whereby you give permission to focus on learning and development so individuals know that they can approach managers with ideas and have a self-managed ethos
  • Having regular share sessions (Like we do here) and encouraging sharing within the culture
  • Doing internal skills audit to better understand the talent you have at your fingertips for internal learning and training sessions but also about other talents outside of work, broadening the talent spectrum and opening up people’s minds about learning and sharing

Lastly we explored how you can embed the desired culture once values and behaviours and systems and tools have been agreed. We use a reward system here directly connected with our values and other points raised in the brainstorm were:

  • Leading by example, ensuring that the leadership team are demonstrating the values and behaviours and living the culture
  • Good ongoing communication about planning around changes (change management)
  • Create an environment or method for celebrating success
  • Encourage feedback and openness if employees believe something isn’t working
  • Remind people regularly of the commitment they have agreed to in line with the core business values (reward and recognition tied to this as well)

What were the key points made?

  • Skills audits with current employees is a really great idea to widen the talent pool and understand the strengths of your team and how you can use that talent internally for soft skill training, service development, collaboration and also teaching others skills that fit outside of work for example – yoga or running groups to boost well being
  • The importance of planning culture change, if it needs to happen, who should be involved, what are the benefits, what is the desired outcome, to ensure you get complete buy in from your workforce on the change initiative
  • That it is all well and good creating a set of values for your organisation but do more work on what behaviours you expect to see and get everyone to commit to these and weave it into performance reviews

What were the action points?

Could there be some sort of support programme for start-ups and SME’s, maybe a sort of buddy system?

  • Using your value system and culture throughout the recruitment process and weaving this into your questioning methods and the tasks you set them

Thanks to Libby for facilitating the group workshop and for the feedback.

The full round up blog for the Digital Skills Summit is here.

The Digital Skills Summit: Powered by Wired Sussex was supported by The Regional Growth Fund and Sussex Learning Network.


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