The Culture Builders

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December 7, 2021  

The Culture Builders Deep Dive – Flex in the new world of work

There is, without a doubt, a huge, global desire to remove the nine to five working patterns. But, to be balanced, it’s been on the way out for a number of years… but slowly and with great effort by a few determined people.

In that vein, meet Emma Cleary – Founder of Flexibility Matters, an organisation that’s been specialising in placing candidates that are looking for flexible working patterns. In Emma’s own words, it’s been a tough sell for many years. But, for her, the rollercoaster cart has reached the top of the climb, and now is hurtling along the tracks.

Why? Because we’ve all proved, conclusively, that flex working… works. We got some time with Emma recently to talk more about this, and get her views on the benefits (which have always been evident to some) of employing people that don’t adhere to the traditional patterns. Also, linked to this, is the trawl for talent and the attraction factors that an organisation needs to demonstrate.

In short, it’s a rich conversation between her and Chris!

October 25, 2021  

The Culture Builders Burst – putting numbers to the impact of the pandemic

During the early autumn of 2021, The Culture Builders commissioned an independent research project to look at the impact of the pandemic on organisations across the UK, and beyond. The aim was to identify the key factors that have been impacted (positively and negatively by the Lockdown and restrictions, and to chart out how this impact differs across organisations.

The inevitable results demonstrated that areas such as engagement, talent development and culture have all been impacted (but more deeply than first thought). But the research told a story of two situations – smaller companies have been harder hit, but are more ready for the next phase, whereas larger organisations feel less impacted, but are still very much in the planning and exploration stage of their response.

In this Burst episode, Chris Preston shares the top line summary, and his take on the findings – plus he shares the key factors that HR professionals believe will be the must-have traits for leaders taking people forward in this new post-pandemic poly-working world.

You can get a copy of the White Paper here.

June 11, 2021  

Welcome to poly-working – meeting a myriad of needs

Since Jane and Chris developed the thinking behind the concept of Poly Working, the team has been inundated with requests for conversations, support and ideas. The notion of a multi-faceted approach to the return to work, and beyond, is a compelling call to action that challenges the overly simplistic remote working structures that some organisations are looking to implement.

In this podcast, they open up the idea, and share how organisations are finding success as they find their way in the new world of work. There’s no one easy solution, and the guidance focuses more on conversations, connections and complexity. If we are to succeed in building a more balanced working life for everyone then we need to plan carefully as we release the pressure from the ‘elastic stretched taut’ that has been all our lives for the last 18 months. As ever, it’s a podcast that’s full of stories, advice and lessons learnt.

You can also access the White Paper on poly-working HERE.

March 4, 2021  

The Culture Builders Deep Dive - working with purpose at the heart of the culture

Selina Hales, founder of Glasgow-based Charity, Refuweegee talks to Owen Cook about managing, leading and looking after staff, volunteers, and yourself in a high-purpose environment, where people pour themselves into their work.

The conversation brings lessons in working towards unachievable goals and developing a symbiotic relationship with your people in order to continue to perform under difficult circumstances. If this one doesn't give you goosebumps at some point, we don't know what will.

This was recorded pre-pandemic.

March 4, 2021  

The Culture Builders Deep Dive - Leadership in the charitable sector

In this episode, our Head of Programmes, Owen Cook, talks with Diana Jupp, the CEO at Pancreatic Cancer UK - the Charity leading on raising awareness of this type of cancer and providing support to patients and families affected by it. Diana talks about the challenges that working in a charity so closely linked to loss brings to her and the team.

During the course of the conversation Diana shares her insights on maintaining culture whilst growing an organisation, the difficulty of finding the right balance between investment and delivery when you have limited resources, and what to watch out for in your people when they are driven by purpose, possibly to the point of burnout.

This podcast was recorded pre the pandemic.

March 4, 2021  

The Culture Builders Deep Dive - keeping an eye on the talent ball

How do you maintain culture, connection and performance in your organisation when you add talent? In this episode, Hilary Wells - HR Director for Hawkeye - talks to Owen about managing and developing people to achieve high-performance.

Hilary shares her insights on recruiting people during phases of rapid growth, in contexts ranging from family-owned, to truly global businesses and dealing with the resulting shifting dynamics.

January 28, 2021  

The Culture Builders Deep Dive – Talent in the new reality

Kellie McSorley, Founder of  SILK Search and The SET joins Jane Sparrow to discuss the current and emerging talent landscape that organisations are experiencing. Her insight is both deep and broad – bringing in a number of perspectives that point to the emerging direction that organisations will be taking as they look for the next wave of senior leaders.

In a pandemic and hopefully post-pandemic world, new skills are going to be critical as companies look to on-board people who bring a strong mix of ‘soft skills’ that enable them to effectively manage a rapidly evolving workplace. Placed as she is in the thick of the search for talent, Kellie talks fluently about the immediate Executive talent needs and what is being seen on the horizon. A compelling listen.

December 11, 2020  

The Culture Builders Deep Dive – Don’t wing culture in aviation

Jane and Chris both take time on this episode to interview Peter Davies – a man whose vast experience and knowledge of the aviation industry and its unique leadership challenges needs two interviewers to do justice to! He’s a turn-around specialist who has rekindled the passion, and passenger numbers in a number of airlines and aviation-related organisations. But he’s not your average trouble-shooter.

To give you an insight into this, he devotes five minutes of this podcast talking about fixing toilets. It’s not as trivial as it seems, and it’s something that typifies Peter’s style – caring about the small elements that make an organisation successful. And, critically, caring about its people. He talks about the head and the heart of organisations, and where they sit for him. You’ll be surprised and fascinated by his answers. He’s a positive challenger or, as he calls himself, ‘a fixed disruptor’. His industry insight is fascinating, and his wider leadership approach is inspirational.

December 9, 2020  

The Culture Builders Deep Dive – The Culture of the Board

Sir John Tusa’s board experience reads like a top ten list for the UK arts world. He’s been part of the governance process for organisations such as The British Museum, The English National Opera and the National Portrait Gallery. This, on top of a career that’s seen him running the BBC World Service, co-founding Newsnight and managing London’s Barbican Centre. So, when John writes a book about Boards, you know it’s going to be good.

Chris recently reviewed John’s new book – On Board – and was compelled to talk to him about how an organisation’s culture is impacted by governance, and the people who are trusted with it. What he got was a podcast that is packed with stories that draw from four decades of practical experience, both as a senior leader and as a senior Board member. You’ll want your pen ready for this one – it’s littered with advice and insight that everyone will value.

November 26, 2020  

The Culture Builders Deep Dive – Energising a magnetic culture

Libby Townsend – Group People Director at OVO Group – joins Jane Sparrow to discuss her experiences in a range of corporates, and what she sees as the deeper factors that create a ‘magnetic culture’ for organisations – drawing in and keeping bright people as we enter the new year and a range of new challenges and possibilities

She shares her journey and learning points around the creation and maintenance of strong cultures - such as her tent-in-a-field induction with Virgin Mobile and how it demonstrated the power of fun in an organisation. Libby also talks about the difficulty of ‘retro-fitting’ purpose in organisations, and the challenge of trying to motivate a ‘stale’ culture.

Currently, Libby feels that the organisations weathering the current situation most successfully are those that have a clear, lived purpose, and are actively encouraging dialogue and communication that is based on it. She sees managers as the vital success factor, and believes that organisations should be placing a great deal of emphasis and support on this group – something based on her own experience of being a mentor and remaining connected to those she has supported as they have grown.

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