Alongside my job as a client services manager helping our awesome clients implement and manage their SmartHubs®, I am one of a few that make up the Reward Gateway Culture Team. Though I've since stepped away into a new role as the Global Product Marketing Manager, I've never forgotten my Culture Team roots. If your workplace doesn’t have a Culture Team, here’s why we exist, in a nutshell:
Our mission is to make Reward Gateway a better place to work.
This links to our wider company mission of making the world a better place to work. The way we see it, this has to start at home and it has to start with us. It's why culture plays such an important part in strong employee engagement. It’s a daunting task, but one that I am proud to be a part of. The Culture Team itself is made up of all walks of life from different countries, and in different job roles, but part of what informs how we make our workplace better is to find out what makes our employees happier.
The Culture Team was initially created as a way to represent the employee voice, about two years ago. We redefined our company values, and continue to evolve as our company does, too.
So we talk. A lot.
And having talked to almost all of our 300+ employees, I’ve learned a few things along the way. And the biggest thing? Nowadays, to get at what will really make your employees happier, you’ve got to go beyond that anonymous, dreadful suggestion box. Here’s what to keep in mind to drive positive change within your company:
Understand, and define, what "employee culture" means to your business.
Culture is not a tangible thing that just one team can influence, which is why our culture team is made up of our UK head of HR, a superstar salesman from our Sydney office and one of our newest engagement managers. We have seven different offices and several different job roles, so it was important that a wide range was reflected in the team.
Now that you’ve got your team, you need to define what you mean by “culture.” Culture is everything around you from the quality of the office furniture to the quality of your face-to-face meetings with your manager, how often you run out of office milk to the attitude of the CEO. Everything within a workplace helps to create its "culture" - so when asking for feedback be clear on what you are looking for and make sure it is within the realms of change. Here are some examples of what we’ve asked in the past:
“Do you feel connected to the company?”
“Name one way we could communicate better.”
“If you had $50 to help our office environment, how would you spend it?”
Don’t be scared of what you might hear
Given the above and how your company has worked so far you might be scared of asking for feedback - whatever might you uncover? The truth is there is no need to be scared. With the right communication and a thought out plan you’ll get proactive and honest employee feedback that you can embed into an action plan. That should be your end goal when evaluating your employee culture.Remember: If you don’t get to the bottom of what makes your employees stay - and what makes them leave - you’ll guarantee yourself an unhappy, unproductive workforce.
Get feedback in the right way
Yes, people are different. We all know that one employee who jumps at everything and loves to share their opinion but we also know the employee with their head down and seemingly nonplussed on any and all issues. Don’t let appearances be deceiving - everyone has an opinion. Get feedback in a way that encourages many voices. We ran employee focus sessions with a preselected group of employees from different management levels, teams, varying time at RG and varying personalities, too. We then encouraged and led conversations. Not everyone likes to face to face communication so we also have a Speak up value, encouraging people to get in touch anytime with views or opinions at a dedicated Culture Team email address.
Shout it out
Once you have your feedback, don’t hide it away. Share the key learnings with everyone you can - other teams and departments, the leadership team, the wider business, shout it from the rooftops if you can. (Or, if shouting doesn’t work, try using other communication channels, like filming video or podcasts and hosting them on your engagement platform.) Some things are quick wins - adding milk to the office grocery list on a more frequent basis soon stops that ghastly black coffee issue. Others take longer, reviewing certain policies, like flexible working, for example. That is ok, employees are realistic too - it is more important that they know their views are being listened to and they’ll understand that everything can’t change overnight. Keep them in the loop and keep it on your agenda.
Over resourced? Recruit champions
Beginning your journey of positive change and asking for feedback, in addition to following it up, requires time and thought. Don’t feel the need to go at it alone. Get the buy in from your management/ leadership and recruit others on the ground to help. Have numerous locations or a large employee number? Recruit ‘Culture champions’ (I still prefer ‘culture vultures’) to help out - there’s power in numbers! There’s a lot to be said on this tip and I’ll write more on this in the near future.
Don’t stop at one.
Picture the scene - you’ve run feedback sessions and collected feedback across multiple channels. Things are starting to change and everyone is feeling the effects - job done right? Well, not quite. Regular feedback, perhaps with the help of some employee survey tips, will help guide future change, as well as help your culture evolve as your business does, too. What makes your workforce happy one day might not cut it the next - regular feedback allows you to identify trends and wants early and for you to focus your energy in the right places.
I hope that some of our learnings can help you start on your feedback journey. As for us, the Culture Team always has our ears on the ground. I’m looking forward to sharing more tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way with you!