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Building a Great Culture Involves more than the odd Gesture

Ketna Makwana

Head of HR

The news that we’ve just won an award for employee experience has made us think about what’s really involved to create a great business culture. We still have a lot of team members who’ve been with us right from the start, and we figure they’ve stayed for a reason, other than our pretty slick coffee machines and free fruit in reception.

Building a great work culture involves more than the odd gesture, employee perk, or cursory post on LinkedIn during awareness weeks. Over the years, we’ve found it requires a proper plan, thought-out execution and the particularly hard part, a dedicated level of commitment to actually stick to it on the busiest of days.

It’s easy to say: ‘this is a blame-free culture, innovate and make mistakes’ when there’s a lot of innovation and very few mistakes. Harder when you’re knee-deep in the consequences of one, and it would feel really good at that precise time to have a good moan. Likewise, it’s easy to talk about work-life balance on paper, but tougher when you’re a new start-up and you need all hands on deck to get something done.

Approaches to wellbeing and culture need to be concrete and formalised so that they carry you through the inevitable ups and downs that any business will experience. The alternative is just an informal suggestion of what you’d ideally like to do, given the right scenario, and employees as we know, don’t benefit from our intentions. They benefit from our actions.

A formal process is something you can revert to on days it’s harder to remember that being innovative isn’t always a smooth path and taking a healthy break feels like an unmanageable stall in productivity.

Wellbeing is a hard, on-going process, but when we get it right, we are all rewarded for our efforts with motivated, happy, long-serving staff who believe in the business and don’t dread every single Monday morning. When we get it wrong, we just have to regroup and start again, question where we can adapt and prioritise our efforts.

At Node4, we’re constantly trying to make sure that our approach to employee wellbeing is up to scratch. We want the best experts in their field and we want them to enjoy their time with us. Most businesses will know, particularly those that are growing at our pace, that this a constantly evolving process but we love it when we get it right. Our recent award for overall reward and recognition with aspects of wellbeing for employee experience was one reminder that we’re on track. Well done to everyone who’s made this happen.