28 May 2024

How we’re making workplace culture matter

Our HR Business Partner Natalie Scutcher shares her thoughts on the importance of positive workplace culture, and the work underway at CF to do all we can to make this a great place to be:

I’m lucky to be part of a really positive workplace. That’s something to be proud of, and not something every business can say.

But, we’re a team that is growing rapidly because of ongoing demand for our services, and having worked as an HR professional for some time, I’m acutely aware that this growth must be handled carefully when it comes to culture.

What I mean by that, is that so often, organisations that are enjoying success and taking on more and more people, can lose sight of the important things that can make a workplace culture something special.

A business is nothing without the people within it, and it’s simple logic that people will perform better when they’re happy. If employees come into a workplace where they feel valued, safe and appreciated, they will automatically put more effort into the work they’re being asked to do.

Our service level standards are exceptionally high due to the nature of work we deliver, so this is critical.

But culture is difficult to create, to retain and even to describe, so being able to say you’re getting it right is tough. Because of that, we’re starting a series of initiatives to do all we can to make our people feel content at work.

For example, my team is making the effort to hold events, or begin initiatives around wellness, inclusion and health.

We’re marking national awareness days or weeks that have an impact on the people that work for us, and showing our people that these issues matter.

On International Women’s Day, we held a lunch for the women in our team and gave them all a small gift, and the men in the office wrote personalised cards to their female colleagues. We had a really strong focus on the power and strength of women in the workplace.

Earlier this month, for Mental Health Awareness Week, a member of my team organised a ‘mindfulness workshop’ where staff could learn techniques to reduce stress, improve focus and enhance overall wellbeing, and a ‘green lunch’, bringing the team together to enjoy healthy, plant-based meals together. Research has shown the positive impact of nutrition on mental health.

Earlier this month I attended the ‘Menopause and Me’ training hosted by Suffolk Libraries, giving great insight into considerations for staff who will be entering the menopause and how we can support them as employers. A large proportion of our workforce is female so it makes complete sense for us to be a workplace that recognizes the challenges they will face.

We want to do more to ensure that our policies and processes are inclusive and that they treat everyone with respect. We’ll be training everyone within our HR team in unconscious bias and have already trained our recruitment team and our senior leadership team. This is a major factor within recruitment and something we must be aware of to ensure that no one is treated unfairly within interviews or written applications because of bias we inadvertently impose on our actions.

Some of these are small steps but with big potential impacts. If one member of the team is made to feel valued and appreciated because of something small we have done, then it is worth doing.

This is just the start of our work in this area. Going forward, we will make wellbeing a major agenda item in our monthly managers’ meetings. We already have an open, informal culture within the workplace - our senior managers are approachable, with an open door policy, and we must build on this, so it is felt across all our workplaces and across our remote teams.

Our growth is exciting, we can’t wait to welcome more team members, but in doing so, we’re want to make sure that everyone at CF feels like it’s a great place to be.