How to Achieve Culture by Design with Career Culture Lab’s Amanda Lutvey
“I’m passionate about developing extraordinary places to work because we spend a lot of time at work and in a number of organisations, managers just really don’t know how to design a culture,” says Amanda Lutvey, founder of Career Culture Lab. For the past twenty years, Amanda has worked with leaders and managers to transform their workplace cultures. With experience in a diverse range of industries, she specialises in providing solutions to a host of cultural issues. Whether it’s about communication, trust, or teamwork, she believes in focusing on people. But with so many things to consider, how do you get started on a people-focused workplace?
For Amanda, every company has a culture whether they focus on it or not. That makes the difference between culture by default, and culture by design. “Culture by default is when you just let things happen,” explains Amanda. Often, there are unwritten ground rules that create cultural problems below the surface. These problems will eventually reach a tipping point, and by then it will require monumental resources to resolve. A way to avoid this is creating culture by design: a culture plan that integrates company vision and everyday life. Check out Amanda’s five tips to achieving culture by design below!
1. Go back to the company vision
“Going back to the vision of the organisation is where it all starts. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.”
When creating a plan for any company, Amanda doesn’t have to look far. “I’m very much about tailoring solutions to the vision of the organisation,” she says. Going back to the vision of the organisation is where it all starts. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Different challenges of organisations across industries require different solutions. And there are plenty of misconceptions out there. “A lot of people think it’s just about having a ping pong table, bean bags, an open plan office, or having a groovy work environment,” she remarks. “It’s a great environment, but you need to walk the talk.”
For Amanda, walking the talk means asking tough questions. Why are we here? What are our values? Answering these questions allows leaders and managers to create a culture plan that embodies the vision. They can set clearer expectations on workplace interactions. And most importantly, they can shape individual actions to benefit the company as a whole. “It’s not just about the benefits and perks, it is about creating an environment where people want to contribute, where they understand how they can contribute to the greater good of the organisation,” she emphasizes.
2. Always hire for cultural fit
Recruitment managers are always focused on hiring the best talent. However, the best talent in the world may not necessarily be the best talent for your organisation. Skills and experience are always a consideration, but personality is what determines if a hire will flourish in the long run. “Cultural fit is so important. I would rather hire on attitude and cultural fit,” she says. This is because company culture is made up of individual behaviours and how they influence others and the company as a whole. “You can teach skills. Generally speaking, you come in with a good attitude of willingness to learn and we can teach you the other stuff.”
3. Set everyone up for success before day one
“It comes down to the whole employee life cycle: the recruitment, the onboarding, the way we treat people on their way out the door,” Amanda remarks. Contrary to popular belief, onboarding doesn’t begin on the first day of work. In fact, if you do this, then you’re already far too late. What you do right after a talent accepts your offer shapes their investment in your company and your ability to attract equally skilled individuals. It starts with the little things, like a personalised welcome email and a paperless document submission process.
“It’s about making sure that from the minute they walk in the door they feel like part of the team. It’s making them feel like you want them there and giving them every opportunity for success,” she notes. Employee experience determines how well they will do and how long they will stay with the company. Each turnover represents lost investment. And HR is not solely responsible for making sure this doesn’t happen. “The team manager [also needs] to make sure that [effective onboarding] happens for their people.”
4. Leverage tech in employee engagement
“Technology plays a massive role in freeing our people up often to do what they’re actually employed to do to be able to focus on what’s really important.”
Amanda also believes in empowering employees by eliminating tedious administrative tasks. “Technology plays a massive role in freeing our people up often to do what they’re actually employed to do to be able to focus on what’s really important,” she remarks. At the heart of every business is people, and technology can enable them to perform at their best. “I think we can’t lose sight of the fact that our team and our workplaces are made up of human beings,” she adds. Leaders and managers need to look at talents and strengths to see how employees can contribute. Then they need to be empowered to do just that.
Amanda shares that she’s met talented young people in management roles who are constantly caught up in rostering and doing the payroll. “Their time, rather than being spent in the frontline with guests, is spent on all this administrative work. Approving timesheets, doing rosters, all this stuff that can be so simple if you implement technology.” Tanda, a workforce success platform, has a complete set of features that cuts down the time spent on administrative tasks. It rosters employees, manages leave requests, and interprets awards so employees can focus on what matters. Automation, far from being a threat, actually empowers people to grow the brand and deliver the best service.
5. Evolve your definition of culture
“Your culture is something that ebbs and flows. It is the sum of the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours of each and every one of your team members,” Amanda says. It has to be in line with the company vision, but at the same time, it cannot be disconnected from the larger picture. The people who make up the company ultimately define its culture. And it has to respond to needs, especially generational ones. For workplaces with four generations, technology can bridge the communication gap and help retain younger talent. Bringing technology into company culture is part of the evolution.
Amanda also cautions against having a vision only at face value. “A lot of the times what I’m seeing is organisations will have these beautiful values on the wall, but they don’t actually own them or live them. And the reality is the values is something that should evolve,” she emphasises. For Amanda and Career Culture Lab, the bottom line in achieving culture by design is making sure the values don’t stay on the wall. She concludes, “It’s about embodying it and living in it every day. These values need to be real. They are going to be something that we can all buy into and understand and we can clearly articulate for our people.”
Amanda Lutvey is ready to tell you more about how to achieve culture by design at at the Workforce Success Conference 2019 on 26 July in Brisbane Australia. Get your tickets here!
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Revolutionising Employee Engagement with Pragmatic Thinking’s Mikey Ellis
Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organisation and its goals. It’s how far staff are willing to go to fulfill the customer promise. For Mikey Ellis, Cultural Strategist at Pragmatic Thinking, it’s also a relationship. “Like any relationship, there are there are boundaries, expectations, and rules of engagement. So that needs to be negotiated and agreed upon, and then each party held to account within that organization,” he explains. Mikey, who heads up Pragmatic Thinking’s presence in Melbourne, knows what it’s like to build employee engagement from the ground up. “As you know, with the rise of startups and with technology enabling people and companies to challenge the norms and the more conventional ways of working, we get to now decide how we want to work,” he says. Companies today have an increased awareness around culture. There is a focus on empowering people to use their skills and talents towards a mission. And more organisations are asking, how do we do it? That’s where a Cultural Strategist like Mikey comes in. Learn more about how he tackles work culture issues and presents clear, workable solutions below! Start with defining employee engagement “A good place to start when it comes to engagement,” he says, “is defining what it means for you as an organisation.” Most organisations have a written set of values displayed in their office. Employees are informed of these values during the onboarding process. But they can’t remain on the wall or in the employee handbook. “It is the responsibility and obligation of leaders to embody those values and to demonstrate them. It’s not to say that it’s not also the responsibility of an employee as well. Engagement is a relationship and both parties must take responsibility for their role,” he emphasises. Employee engagement, then, differs for every company. For a food business, it could mean frontline staff serve customers with a smile even during the busiest hours. For a tech company, it could mean that everyone keeps abreast of industry trends without being asked. It depends on the business, the industry, and the values that they want each employee to embody. It’s easier said than done. Employers need to lead the charge by, first, being very clear about what it means to be an engaged employee. Then they need to build the environment to reflect it. Read more: Employee Engagement – A Matter of Care Overcome resistance to change “If values are embedded into the processes, routines, and expectations, [the workplace] becomes a really great place to be. And it is difficult to do because it’s going to for a lot of people it’s going to require some personal accountability. It’s going to require some behavioural change,” Mikey observes. When working on improving employee engagement, there may be some uncomfortable conversations that employer and employee need to have. All parties need to acknowledge where they have failed before they can correct it. It is a tough process, but it needs to be done. Employees will be less resistant to change if employers keep in mind that the bottom line is a sense of belonging. “People just want to feel like they belong. They want to feel like they’re contributing to something. It doesn’t take that much for an employer, leader, [or] manager to do that,” he explains. There will be speed bumps along the way, but when the leaders of the organisation embody the change they want to see they make it easy for others to follow suit. Employees want to work with businesses, not for them. If an employer can show that they care about individual and collective contributions, engagement increases. Read more: How to Achieve Culture by Design with Career Culture Lab’s Amanda Lutvey Measure engagement with the right tools Many employers ask for feedback on how engaged employees are. While that’s important, Mikey believes that employers also need to take a step back and think about the kind of questions they ask. “There are some great software and tools out there to measure engagement — employee satisfaction, physical and mental health and well-being throughout the day. Poll surveys, you know, they’re great. But the key is to be really clear about what it is you’re measuring and whether that aligns to the outcome that you’re ultimately working towards.” For him, like any measurement tool, it’s only as good as how you use it. If there are issues within the workplace, Mikey suggests looking at how much the company invests in culture. “You’re probably better off for measuring the input. What are you doing to bring about the kind of culture that you want, as opposed to measuring this amorphous engagement concept?” he asks. As a Culture Strategist, he takes a pragmatic approach. He looks at antecedents to behaviour like structures and values, and how they all align. He shares, “We create not only the strategy but also the capabilities within key people in the organisation to achieve the kind of culture that they’re wanting to build.” Read more: Don’t Quit! 3 Ways to Retain your Employees in 2019 Never stop growing the business Finally, the best way to maintain employee engagement is to never stop growing the business with people in mind. Businesses that are productive, efficient, and forward-thinking provides more opportunities for people to grow with them. They need to invest in the right tools to make sure that work flows as smoothly as possible. “If we want to keep good people and we want to grow with people, we’ve got to help them do it,” Mikey elaborates. “We need to achieve what it is that they want to achieve and so it’s a win-win: The company benefits, the individual grows and learns, and collectively it’s a great outcome.”. Growth is, by far, one of the most significant drivers of engagement in an organisation. A robust environment where people feel like they belong and can contribute encourages them to go the extra mile to fulfill the customer promise. “If you’re not [growing], then you’re just going to lose people. And if you keep them, you’re just not going to be getting the best out of them. They’re not going to be happy because they’re not growing.” In the end, what it comes down to is the willingness of every business to listen to employees, empower its managers, lead by example, and make sure that individuals grow alongside the business. Mikey Ellis will be talking about how to revolutionise employee engagement at the Workforce Success Conference 2019 on 26 July in Brisbane Australia. Get your tickets here!
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Steve Baxter’s 5 Tips on How to Grow a Startup
“There’s lots to be excited about, startups are full of typically young, very talented people trying to solve big problems,” says Steve Baxter, one of Australia’s most successful tech entrepreneurs. With a background in everything from the Australian Army to Google, Steve is now an active investor and mentor to startups. In 2012, he founded Brisbane’s well known co-working hub, River City Labs. In 2014, he joined Channel 10’s Shark Tank Australia where he judges contestants’ business concepts and products. He is now the founder and CEO of Transition Level Investments, a company that invests in early-stage startups. How does he do it? What makes a successful startup in the first place? Tanda sat down with Steve to get his thoughts on how to manage startups from the ground up. Steve Baxter on Shark Tank Australia. Photo Credit: CEO Magazine 1. Now is the best time to start a business “Even 12 years ago, you would have needed hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of IT. Nowadays you can do it with tens of dollars a month in Dropbox accounts and other bits and pieces,” Steve explains. “So the burden to actually start a business is remarkably low, which is just fantastic.” In fact, according to the StartupBlink Startup Ecosystem Rankings 2019 report, Australia is now the fifth-most startup-friendly country in the world. It has leapt forward six places in just two years based on the number of startups and supporting organisations and the business environment in general. So if you are planning to start a business, now is the best time to do it. And the best cities to start your business in? The same report lists Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and Adelaide as friendliest to startups. 2. Sit in one room and go from there “I always encourage people to start in one room,” Steve says, when asked about his advice for those just building their business. He presents a scenario where there are six people in a room. “One person starts, and he needs to apply a second person, but the person sits next to him but there’s only has six people in the room. So if you have to manage workflow, you can literally pass a piece of paper around,” he continues. It will help the team understand who needs what information, when they need it, and how best to present it to them. Afterwards, the team can decide what parts of the workflow can be replaced with software. “So don’t jump with both feet for the windows just begging for some solution,” he advises, sit in one room and go from there. Read more: How to Achieve Culture by Design with Career Culture Lab’s Amanda Lutvey 3. Hire within your means “The problem with all startups is their cash restraint, so you get a lot of stuff that you think makes a lot of sense when you’re applying. ‘Don’t employ that person unless they’re the best person in the world’, that’s crap, alright? The best person in the world is actually very hard to find,” Steve shares. For him, the right strategy is to find someone who is fit for the job but will do it within the budget. “So you [need to] be careful, you need to get the quality you can afford,” he adds. It all comes down to understanding exactly what the business needs at a particular stage. “It doesn’t mean employ dunces or employ rocket scientists, it means level and person. Therefore, that’s smart, that’s what we can settle for.” Evidently, hiring within your means is one of the first skills that a startup founder needs to master. Read more: 3 Strategies to Master Your Wage Costs in 2019 4. Don’t push people around “The world is also people. But remember, we’re talking about people here, they’re not pieces of timber you can push around on a chess board, right?” he remarks. Taking care of people matters for the business in more ways than one. A 2016 SHRM survey showed that the average cost per hire is $4,129 and the average time to fill a position is 42 days. It costs a lot of resources to get the right person, and it costs a lot to lose them too. A high turnover rate can even ruin your company’s reputation. That’s why employee experience is a gamechanger. The best talents expect a great employee experience, and it greatly influences their decision to join or stay in a company. “They won’t be pushed around, they’ll do their own thing regardless of how much you push them,” he emphasises. Read more: Revolutionising Employee Engagement with Pragmatic Thinking’s Mikey Ellis 5. There’s always more error than trial Steve likes to emphasise being adaptable when it comes to startups. “High growth can sometimes be a pitfall in itself, that always has a lot of trial and error, always more error than trial, if you know what I mean. So it does require some flexibility, it does require some freedom of thinking, and some people aren’t here for that. The older you are the less geared you are for it,” he says. But in the end, anyone can run a successful startup. All it takes is a good business concept, an engaged team with the right set of skills, a scalable workflow, and the willingness to change with the times. There is always some risk in a new business venture, but with every risk there is reward. As Steve says, the only way to find out if it’s going to work is to do it. Looking to begin your own startup? Finding new ways to manage the business you already have? Learn from Steve Baxter and other topnotch speakers at the Workforce Success Conference on 26 July 2019. Get your tickets now!
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Forging the Workforce of the Future: Can you reduce the turnover rate?
Are employees leaving faster than you can recruit them? You might not be alone. Consulting firm Robert Half found that in 2018, more than 67% of Australian employers say the turnover rate has risen in the past 3 years. In fact, the average turnover rate is 15% every year. Turnover occurs when an employee chooses to leave an organisation (voluntary) or is asked to leave for any reason (involuntary). Generally, a low turnover rate is great for a company. It indicates effective hiring, onboarding, training, and engagement practices. How to solve the high turnover rate Many companies are constantly trying to find ways to reduce their turnover rate. From attractive compensation packages to flexible work arrangements and lifestyle perks, millions of dollars go into convincing employees to stay. That’s why at this year’s Workforce Success Conference, we are inviting students to propose ways to reduce the turnover rate in Australia. Read on to know more about how companies are investing their retention rate and sign up for the case competition today! An internship and cash prize awaits the winner. 1. Adjust your recruitment strategy Create a recruitment strategy benchmarked on your best employees. Look at the attitudes, qualifications, and skills of your most productive and longest-staying employees. This will guide you where to look for new candidates, and what kinds of questions you should be asking them. Hiring is expensive and every lost hire represents wasted investment. Download and customise Tanda’s free position description templates to create the best call for applications. This will let you pool the candidates faster and assess them with greater accuracy. Then use our free interview guide and free interview kits to find the right talent for your company. Read more: From Hiring to Monitoring: How to use Free HR Templates and Forms 2. Provide training and development The lack of support can cause employees to question their role in the company and whether or not they are valued within in it. Managers need to provide the training and development for employees to progress in the company. In fact, a worldwide survey revealed that 37% of employees are dissatisfied at work due to a lack of support from their boss. Uncertainty about the workplace’s vision or strategy also contribute to dissatisfaction. There’s no bigger trigger of resignation than stagnation in a role. Providing opportunities to improve and take on bigger challenges increases the probability that talent will remain with the company. Read more: William Gooderson’s 8 Characteristics of Good Managers 3. Recognise and reward hard work Unappreciated hard work tends to sour the work experience and lead employees to look for better environments elsewhere. Make sure that positive performance is credited and held up as an example for others. Back the recognition up with tangible rewards to show that your company invests in its people. You can start by rewarding attendance to show appreciation for employees who are diligent about time. To implement an attendance incentive program, invest in a reliable employee time clock app with photo verification features. Not only will you track attendance better, you can even integrate it with your payroll system so payday is a breeze. Read more: Show Up for Success! A step-by-step guide to rewarding employee attendance 4. Promote work-life balance The link between employee happiness and retention is highly intuitive. When you give employees time to spend with their families or on their hobbies, they are more likely to come into work recharged and ready to tackle new challenges. Modern managers know that keeping employees happy is key to lowering the turnover rate. One way to promote work-life balance is effective rostering. A good roster balances the availability of staff with their personal needs. This can be challenging especially for shift work industries. Workforce management software lessens the burden on managers with roster templates, leave management, and shift swapping. Free download: Overcoming Employee Challenges in Shift Work Industries 5. Engage employees every day Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organisation and its goals. It’s how far staff are willing to go to fulfill the customer promise. But because we spend most of the week at work, it’s easy to feel jaded. Many employees are dissatisfied not just about the job, but also the workplace and co-workers. Increase employee engagement by asking for shift feedback about what employees like and do not like. It will allow them to take a greater part in developing their role, steering their team, and growing the business. Following through on employee concerns can significantly affect their decision to stay with the company. Ready to forge the workforce of the future by reducing the turnover rate? Form a team of 3-5 students and sign up today. A cash prize and internship awaits! We’ll email you more details and provide consultation once you sign up.