A simple Google search would immediately yield dozens of definitions of “company culture,” but for a real culture champion from HR, culture is not a policy but a force that flows around the organisation.
Aimee Simpson, Head of HR at Sydney-based ubank, said culture will always carry different meanings for different companies, but there is a way to create a “force” that will make up the culture. All you need is a mission, vision, a set of values, good leadership, and consistency.
“Every staff member needs to know and understand the purpose and goal of the business, and then its values. We define values as the expected behaviours within the business. These behaviours are interesting. They define the culture by creating a non-negotiable set of expectations,” Aimee said.
Companies must introduce these values from the outset and connect them with the personal values of their people. But employees must also have an opportunity to add their personal inputs to these values.
Good leadership is equally important, Aimee said. Teams need leaders who can listen, motivate, and coach them at a group or individual level so they can grow personally and professionally within the organisation.
“Good leadership also means praising and enabling team members to do their best. A simple face-to-face ‘thank you’ at a cafe or in a public forum like at a staff meeting is a great way to celebrate achievements. Leaders don’t take the credit but credit the team for the success,” Aimee said.
Values and good leadership would amount to nothing, however, if they weren’t implemented consistently. Rules, processes, and values should be applied equally regardless of position – there should be no favourites, she explained.
Consistency breeds credibility, and trust always comes a long way when managing people. In the end, creating a force of culture will allow you to retain and grow your people and make the office a happier and healthier place to be.
“I believe that people work best in environments that integrate company and personal values as the backbone to building confidence and trust in the workplace, collaboration in teams, productivity that soars, and success in business growth,” she said.
Aimee has been the HR Head of ubank for more than four years. She has been in the HR space, serving in leadership roles for nearly two decades and having experience in almost all aspects of HR work.