Written by Jane Slimming
Never before has culture been so important for companies to take seriously and invest in. We’ve always focussed on it at Zeal as people are our product. We need to hire the best and brightest and we need to keep them. It makes commercial sense to make sure the staff are fulfilled and happy. More importantly I’ve always genuinely cared about the people who work for me and find absolute purpose and pleasure in seeing them grow and flourish. It’s always been my “why”.
For all the obvious reasons I’ve found it hard, really hard, to keep and grow the culture during the past 16 months. We just can’t do what we’ve done before. Furthermore people’s needs are changing and “beer o clock” (whilst still a staple) just won’t cut it anymore. We need to go deeper.
I’m part of a networking group called the Yorkshire Leadership Group. Full of smart, driven ambitious business owners I admitted to them a few months ago that I felt I’d lost my “spark”. I felt tired, flat and things that I used to find joy in were a mammoth effort for me. I was surprised at how many felt the same way. I began talking to more people and finding the same thing across the board. No surprise at all that this last year has tested us all in different ways. It affects us, probably more than we realise.
I spent a lot of time and effort trying to get my spark back. Doing the things that I know help me personally. Riding my bike, swimming in reservoirs in Bradford, talking and listening to people who inspire me, sometimes drinking a lot of Heineken. The last few weeks its starting to work. I’m starting to feel like myself and I couldn’t be happier about it. Sometimes it’s only when you start to feel better and look back you realise how bad it was.
I want to give my staff what I’ve found. I want them to be happy and positive and I don’t want any of them to feel lost. Cynics will say it’s because they work harder and better (partly is!) but I also want to help and I think (with my team behind me) I can.
So… the point of all this?.. Zeal are going to implement a new culture programme. It won’t be “one size fits all” it wont be “just buy a crate of beer and give them an hour off” it wont be “compulsory fun” it will be meaningful, it will take time and investment but I think it could be a game changer.
I’d also like to see if we can go further with this. To that end we’ve created a survey that I want as many people as possible to fill in. Doesn’t matter what you do, it’s totally anonymous and the results will better help us understand how we can help better. Mike has also written a blog post explaining more about what we’re looking to achieve from our Post Lockdown Wellbeing Snapshot.
If you have 5 minutes I’d really appreciate your help. please fill in and share as much as you can! https://forms.gle/5Uf6cKCfdwnhTbUN8.