I was speaking at a Charity Finance Conference in Cambridge last week and was encouraged to hear in somebody’s presentation that over 80% of the top 350 FTSE companies are taking corporate culture very seriously in their workplace. However, equally not surprised that only 21% of those respective CEO’s referred to culture in their annual report. What this is telling me is that the majority are still not linking employee wellbeing and culture to their bottom line performance. Amazingly they still do not see that there is a direct correlation between the two and in my opinion, are only talking culture to ‘tick a box’.
Only two days later I was speaking at a Diversity Seminar in Cardiff and during my talk spent considerable time sharing my thoughts on how I believe you can create a culture of trust in the work place. By trust, I mean an environment where staff believe they can be honest and open with their manager about their mental wellbeing without fear of being stigmatised. During my talks, I emphasise that what excites me is how quickly leaders can make a difference if they take more time showing a genuine interest in the lives of their employees and get to know them better. I am yet to meet anybody on my travels who disagrees with this point but sadly I have met many who work for people who still believe you increase productivity through fear.
At one of these conferences I met a very senior HR person from one of the household retailers we all know from being in just about every High Street. She is currently waking up feeling sick because she is so fearful of her new operations manager. Apparently, he gets off from being a bully and loves using the phrase JFDI (Just Effing Do It). The MD seems very happy with his appointment but then as I have stated before in my blogs we still appoint far too many narcissist bullies in our boardrooms because we believe that it’s more important to be tough with employees than caring. He even referred to employee wellbeing in a recent meeting as a ‘fluffy subject’. This HR manager is desperately trying to get me in to her work place to talk about culture to her MD. Let’s hope she does before they lose a lot of very good staff including their HR Director!!
In summary, cute little bunnies are fluffy but employee wellbeing and culture should be taken very seriously by all business leaders. In the top FTSE 100 companies those with a robust wellbeing strategy are outperforming all of the others by a staggering 10%.
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