Culture and Communication
“We have a great culture”, “we’re inclusive”, “we’re collaborative” – it seems that everyone is keen to promote a positive business culture as an indicator of their company’s success.
The Oxford dictionary defines culture as “the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society”.
Quite simply then, from a business perspective, culture starts with the people within a company and the behaviours they adopt.
What Defines BES’s Culture?
At BES, we promote our culture just like any other forward-focused, people-oriented business. It’s much more than a vision statement or strapline, however, it’s a way of working that has developed over the past 15 years.
During that time we’ve benefitted from working with some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical organisations. Our clients value the shared ethos we offer and the positive impact our collaborative approach delivers; not only on timescales cost and quality, but also in creating an improved working environment for the teams involved
Our culture at BES can be defined by what it feels like to work here. We’ve all read about quirky work environments with slides and bean bags – but all of that is window dressing, rather than a genuine shared culture. For me, a company’s culture is about what an environment is like after the fun and banter have stopped.
Any environment where members of the team are micromanaged, under-valued or even bullied can be debilitating, draining your sense of purpose and your enthusiasm. Here at BES, we all understand why we’re here: we have purpose. Everyone’s role is defined and appreciated and we’re all trusted to make decisions based on our skills and expertise. As a result, we all feel empowered and have a sense of ownership as an active contributor to the company’s success.
Communication and Leadership
At the heart of any positive business culture is effective communication and I believe that face-to-face discussion is absolutely the best way to communicate. It enables each of us to use our emotional intelligence to empathise with colleagues and clients, understand their view and pick up on non-verbal communication.
We all need to remind ourselves of that sometimes. Balancing pressures of work and performance can push us backwards from a leadership perspective now and again.
However, I continue to be mindful of my own approach and strive for continual personal development. Hopefully I’m able to promote the same in others too.
Culture As a Business Goal
At BES, our company culture is actively ‘on the agenda’. It’s a topic at our monthly senior team meetings and has been embedded in the Leadership training programme, which we’ve not only rolled out for Directors and Managers, but at all levels. The course promotes positive behaviours and good communication, highlighting the impact of how we interact with colleagues, clients and delivery partners.
We have added Herzberg Theory into our regular Job Chat process, to help assess and manage employee motivation and satisfaction.
I believe that the way we work helps to deliver better projects. It makes those projects more enjoyable for both BES and our clients and, in my opinion, it’s also nurtured relationships that have prompted clients to come back to us with new project briefs.
At a recent kick off meeting with a new client, we asked ‘what makes a good contractor?’ and ‘what makes a good client?’ They were pleasantly surprised that we’d asked such a question.
We discussed what we should expect from each other during the project and we re-visited those statements regularly. This type of open and honest discussion sets the project culture from the outset, helping to align goals.
The project was a success on the usual KPI measures of safety, time, cost and quality, but, just as importantly, the excellent relationships across the client and BES team, and our shared enthusiasm for working collaboratively as one, provided a measure of success too.
From Good to Great
Employee satisfaction and motivation means that we are not just diligent in the way we work with clients and deliver projects, we are also enthusiastic, invested and clearly focused on positive outcomes. For me, it’s culture that makes the difference between doing a good job and being passionate about doing a great job. It’s that passion at BES which makes us great to work with and successful at what we do.