1. Why is it important for businesses to create a culture? And how is this possible in a remote world, with a global team

A company culture is all about creating an environment that surrounds us as individuals within an organization. It’s a collection of shared values, visions, beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes that people in the workplace share. All organizations have a company culture, but the most successful companies operate a culture directed by its senior leadership team through the cascading of its company mission, visions, core values, and morals.

Now, it is important to have clearly defined corporate goals and missions so everyone in the company knows what they are contributing to. From there, clear corporate values can be created so that those within the organization know how to align their way of working and behavior to that of the business. For those on the outside considering joining, communicating the culture helps them know whether they are likely to fit in and to determine whether it is a company that they would like to work for.

A survey conducted by Speakap, which gathered responses from a thousand employees in both the UK and US, reinforced how powerful workplace culture can be when it comes to attracting and retaining staff. 58% admitted they would take a job with a competitor that demonstrated a better workplace culture over one that failed to recognize the importance of company culture and the impact it has on its workforce.

It is therefore fundamental to live and breathe the culture rather than advertise something that just doesn’t exist otherwise retention of employees is likely to become a challenge.

2. Creating a culture can take time, what tips or advice would you give to other HR teams in how they can build an authentic culture across their org

There have been suggestions that organizations are struggling to grasp what makes a positive workplace culture, and therefore many businesses may be directing their efforts incorrectly. Organizations often mistake physical perks and amenities as being a critical part of workplace culture. By focusing on “superficial benefits” organizations are demonstrating a misunderstanding that may be counterproductive.

While these things no doubt contribute to a healthy and positive culture, organizations should review their entire workplace practices and consider how these practices are impacting on the company culture as a whole. Although benefits such as free lunches and regular social outings may be appreciated, they are unlikely to be a deciding factor in attracting staff to your business or retaining them in the long run.

Instead, companies should look at more substantial aspects such as:

  • Respect, trust, and integrity throughout
  • Openness, honesty, and transparent communication between staff and leadership
  • A commitment to training and upskilling employees
  • Recognizing and rewarding performance
  • Promoting fairness and equality for all.

In a company that operates a positive company culture, all of these commitments are filtered down into operational practices and company policies and procedures are applied on the ground.

Given the trends, it is reasonable to predict culture will continue to become an influential aspect of the workplace going forwards. Recruitment and retention have become one of the biggest challenges for employers, and for those companies needing to recruit and retain talent where skills are in short supply, these factors become even more important.

After all, creating a positive environment internally is only going to spill out externally helping to create a positive reputation amongst clients, suppliers, and partners therefore creating a positive company brand.

3. Ensuring team members strike the perfect balance between work and life isn’t always easy, especially in start-up like businesses and fast-paced environments. How does HR support the Silverbullet team in ensuring employees don’t reach that burn-out stage and lose the balance?

This can be a really difficult aspect to manage, especially in a remote working environment where there are no office opening hours, no trains to catch, and the company is operating across the globe in different time zones. This can be managed in a variety of ways and often will come down to line managers and their teams however a key piece of advice would be to ensure the culture from the top down, is streamlined.

If a junior team member is consistently seeing their managers and senior managers working evenings and weekends, it will plant the seed of guilt for logging off on time. If employees are given deadlines or invited to meetings outside of their work hours, it sets the wrong precedent.

However, when businesses are global and teams work across various regions, it is near impossible for employees not to work outside of their local hours. It really cannot be a one size fits all approach.

Where HR can support is in a few ways.

  • Provide flexibility where possible: If hours cannot be flexible, think about other ways you can make changes. Mental health days, days in lieu, etc. Again, this will be very dependent on the industry you work in, but think about the flexible benefits you can provide that fits within your structure.
  • Have policies in place that set out expectations and flexibilities for working hours and ensure that they are applied consistently.

In short, this is a very complex area, and should be managed daily by line managers, leadership teams and HR in unison. If there’s a common thread that your teams are burning out, then something isn’t working. The key is to track progress, make note of challenges and then pull your heads together to help overcome them.

4. With wellness becoming a huge part of our daily lives – not just at work, but in our personal worlds – how can businesses ensure they are supporting their employees?

According to Mind, 1 in 6 workers are dealing with a mental health problem such as anxiety, depression or stress. This can affect their work, how they interact with others, and how they manage stress in the workplace. In turn, this can impact an organization, thus a vicious cycle takes place.

A business should put its people first, and when they do, ultimately organizations perform better when their staff have healthy minds, feel supported and motivated, and ultimately, focused.

Each business will approach wellness and mental health very differently, but it should 100% be embedded within any organizational structure. Building trust and integrity are key drivers of engagement and organizations that support staff reap the benefits in terms of loyalty and commitment from all employees.

What we do here at Silverbullet, is:

  • Encourage ‘off the record’ chats: Working remotely has so many benefits but it also prevents that human one-on-one experience. No longer can you have a natter by the coffee machine, or go for a walk with a colleague to blow off some steam. So we have to be a little more mindful of our teams and their wellbeing. We encourage our line managers to put time in with their teams to check-in on a human level. This can be over zoom with a cuppa, or now as we step back into a physical world, over lunch or in the meeting room. Take the time, it is so valuable.
  • Continue to grow our capacity to manage Talent effectively: we are putting a lot of time and resources into our HR functionality and focusing on who we want to be as a business. Empowering managers to manage and drive changes in business culture is key. We are also listening to our employees as who better to ask what the workforce wants than the people on the ground.
  • Work hard, play hard: Silverbullet is made up of the most hard-working people in the industry. However, there is always time for fun. Work celebrations, social events, fun initiatives and incentives, a global sense of humor and well, some off-the-record slack channels that only our team members are privy to…. Silverbullet works hard, and plays hard, and we believe that truly is the recipe for success.

See our full values here: https://wearesilverbullet.com/culture/