Encouraging craziness: bosses putting culture and staff first

Burnout, turnover and disillusion – words that have become more common as technological disruption continues to create angst in many industries.

In a climate of skills shortages, business owners who want their employees to got the extra mile for them are being urged to do the same to retain their talent.

Some businesses appear to be learning that lesson faster than others.

Two of Bernard Powell's many goals for his company culture are "deliver happiness" and "create raving fans".

He became so engrossed in his research about motivation and happiness that he's become a bit of a workplace guru, and it's worked: his Hamilton-based paving company Premier Group International was rated the country's best workplace for 2016 by IBM Kenexa.

It's no mean feat, seeing the award comes from employees and over 36,000 of them from 210 organisations were part of the survey.

Caring about your people

Caring about company culture is, in Powell's mind, the key to his business.

If his 60-odd staff aren't happy or struggling financially they will be stressed, and will take that stress home to their families.

"So if we can put culture first, it has a big impact," Powell said.

Good culture is more than after-work barbecues and crazy office decorations, he says. At Premier, free lunches ensure workers are eating properly, promoting from within is preferred, and managers aren't too important not to clean the toilets.

He also encourages his staff to jot down their five-year goals, including a household budget.

"It's their personal goals, financial goals, health and fitness goals, their career goals."

Not everyone wants to divulge their information and that's fine, Powell says, but if workers are slipping behind on mortgage repayments, the rest of their work life is probably suffering.



At Premier, Powell decided staff would feel more invested in a company where they felt they were making a difference.

His staff have daily meetings, get video updates on all the important metrics of the company, and there's a scoreboard to tell everyone how the company's key performance indicators are going.

"It's like going to a rugby game if there's no scoreboard.... It takes the meaning out of the game."

Powell says he effectively treats his staff like shareholders - and in a sense, they are. Which brings things back to the business' core values.

"Your mission statement might be to make the best hotdogs on the block, but you might change it to more of a world mission which is 'feed the neighbourhood'.

"It's very important to feel connected to a higher purpose because it will sustain those happiness levels and help people keep engaged."

Bernard Powell's tips to a culture-first company:

* Start a morning meeting, share everything, and don't miss it (Bernard's number one tip) * Decide on your core values (not just honesty, loyalty and integrity - they're a given. Describe what you do.) * Set an audacious vision and do it as a team * Build a "whole-archy" not a hierarchy * Encourage small improvements and allow for mistakes * Recognise good work * Ask staff for answers - grow their confidence * Hire for attitude, even if you have to teach skills * Extol customer service * Have fun. "Having a fun culture doesn't mean having a lazy, slow, muck around culture. Happy people are more productive, more motivated, more creative."

- Sunday Star Times

View the full article here https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/101970099/encouraging-craziness-bosses-putting-culture-and-staff-first

#premiergroup #culture #bestworkplacewinner

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