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Don’t be a d**khead

Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce

This blog post is part of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce’s 2019 Growth Through People campaign. Growth Through People is the annual Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce campaign aiming to help local firms boost productivity through improved leadership and people management skills. Delivered by the GBCC with a range of partners, it includes free training sessions, workshops and events alongside research and thought leadership content. This year, the campaign ran from 25th February – 22nd March 2019. 500 delegates attended 16 free events. Click here to find out more and don’t forget to join the conversation on social media with #GTP19.

In Short:

Investing staff time in improving workplace culture is an under-utilised but highly effective approach when facing leadership and people management challenges.

In Full:

Hear me out

However you go about it (with or without the expletives), investing staff time in improving workplace culture is an under-utilised but highly effective approach when facing leadership and people management challenges.

According to research from the GBCC’s Growth Through People Campaign: 100% of SME and large employers (organisations with 10-250+ employees) in Greater Birmingham - have experienced leadership and people management challenges over the past 12 months.

The most commonly identified approaches in addressing these were “internal training,” (identified by 64% of respondents) “informal, on the job training” (48%) and “development of new policies within the business (developed internally)” (39%). Just 30% of respondents reported investing staff time in improving workplace culture.

However, investing staff time in improving workplace culture was the given approach ranked most effective overall.

CIPD (here) defines corporate culture as “perhaps most critically … manifested in how decisions are made and actions taken, but also in how people are engaged, aligned, and give of their best.”

The second most commonly identified leadership and management challenge experienced in Greater Birmingham in the past 12 months was effectively engaging employees, identified by 56% of respondents.  Effectively engaging employees was also reported as the most significant challenge experienced.

Culture has a massive impact on, among other things, the engagement and subsequent productivity of staff. Culture and employee engagement go hand in hand.

Deloitte (here) report that “While most leaders are measured on the basis of business results, organizations must begin holding leaders accountable for building a strong and enduring culture, listening to feedback, and engaging and retaining their teams.”

Can you place a value on (workplace) kindness?

The latest State of the Global Workplace report by Gallup and the OECD (here) indicates that just 11% of UK employees are engaged, ranking us in the bottom half of western European countries surveyed. 68% of employees in the UK are not engaged, and 21% are actively disengaged. On average across the globe, 15% of employees are engaged, with 67% not engaged and 18% actively disengaged.

According to 2016 research by the Workforce Institute and Coleman Parkes Research (here), disengaged employees are thought to cost the UK £60 billion per year in lost productivity.

Research by Glassdoor (here) further illustrates the value of investing in workplace culture: it boosts productivity, with  “companies with engaged employees outperform[ing] those without engaged employees by up to 202%”; and it increases employee retention rates, as “Job seekers ultimately want to work for (and stay at) a company that values transparency and fosters a positive company culture”. It also saves time and money when recruiting, with “companies with a good employer brand see[ing] an average of 22% in reduced recruitment fees and enjoy[ing] 50% cost-per-hire savings,” and “94% of Glassdoor members …  likely to apply to a job if the employer actively manages its employer brand.”

So, don’t be a d**khead?

Workplace culture is a huge focus for the “talent obsessed” sportswear retailer and second-fastest growing company in the UK, Gymshark. The phrase “don’t be a d**khead” joins other motivational decals on the walls of their Solihull HQ.

During one of the Chamber’s Growth Through People panel discussions, Chief People Officer Dave Parry explained that recruits do need the right skill set, but culture comes first: character, attitude and conduct matter most.

As Gymshark explain this culture-first approach to recruitment: ‘we’d rather have a hole than an a**hole.’

Emily Stubbs
Policy and Patron Advisor
Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce