Tag Archive: culture and values

  1. How re-aligning culture can put you at the front of the queue in 2018


    As we begin 2018 and the uncertainty over Brexit continues companies and organisations will be positioning themselves to be at the front of the queue in markets new and/or old.   The productivity equation is a simple one –

    Happy, talented people create great working environments where people want to be productive!

    Achieve this and you –

    • Promote a productive culture
    • Reduce absenteeism
    • Reduce employee attrition rates
    • Promote innovation and creativity

    So what are the factors that make people want to work for your organisation?  Here are 8 to start with –

    They may have expectations for –

    • Development and self-improvement, challenges
    • Appreciation and Recognition for work achieved
    • Remuneration – may not be top of the pole
    • Communication style
    • Authority – autonomy, initiative, leadership
    • Personal expectations – being informed, wants help
    • Social – outgoing people often like to mix work with pleasure (or not)
    • Work life balance – flexible working time, stress management

    If people have wants and desires in these areas and you are not providing them then they are unlikely to be fulfilled in the role and will cost you money when they leave, often after only a few short months.  So what’s the answer – easy – measure them! You can do this quickly and effectively for individuals, groups and/or organisations through one simple objective on line questionnaire.

    OK, so now you have measured your cultural expectations – what if they don’t fit your productivity needs?  What if people aren’t happy, have no authority expectations or development expectations that are crucial to your culture? So now we look to the future to implement the changes necessary.  First we need to know what they are.

    Most organisations have a set of values which they display on websites and on walls around the organisation.  In my experience when I ask people what they mean or even what they are, despite being displayed on the wall, they have little or no idea how to interpret them into behaviours.  This is because they are written in vague language that is open to interpretation. Let me show you what I mean by the use of a simple model of alignment –

    Robert Dilts’ Alignment Model based on the work of Gregory Bateson

    The above Alignment Model is particularly useful when creating a change. Each level of the model impacts on the levels below it. In order to create change you would need to focus on each level and ensure each is in place in order to impact any lasting change on the levels below, which will then result in alignment.

    Most organisations have a fairly clear idea of their purpose and the roles that people play within that.  They also have some words to represent the values of the organisation and that’s where it stops.  Those values never get translated into behaviours and therefore people are unsure of how to act them out.  So what’s the answer?  Again it’s simple – decide which behaviours demonstrate each value and measure them! You can use the same answer sets as for the Engagement and Retention survey – the data will just be arranged differently to align with the values.  You then have the information you need to –

    • Add to existing recruitment processes or  create new ones using Harrison Assessments
    • Design development programmes based on real data
    • Measure your cultural expectations annually quickly, cost effectively and accurately

    If you would like to know about how to accurately assess Engagement and Retention factors and align cultural values please call Pat on 07768 922244 or email [email protected].

    Find out more about the Alignment Model in ‘Brilliant NLP’, co-authored by Pat Hutchinson and David Molden available here

  2. Next Monday is Blue Monday. Are you ready?


    Understanding Employee Expectations: the key to effective engagement and retention

    Employee Expectations

    Every year January is the month when job boards and recruitment agencies launch their “New Year, New Job” campaigns – why?

    January is the busiest month for starters and leavers with the third Monday of January in particular known as Blue Monday, the one day when more employees hand in their letter of resignation than any other day in the year.

    Two trends indicate 2016 will continue to be a busy year for UK recruiters:

    • UK labour market statistics from the CBI show the employment rate is the highest since records began in 1971 (at 73.7%) with increasing business optimism for the economic outlook;
    • However, research from HR Magazine suggests that effective employee engagement in the UK could be faltering with more than a third of us saying that we were not motivated at work during 2015.

    Organisations with a good employee engagement and retention strategy can cascade retention and turnover KPIs to quantify the overall metrics and financial returns. However, even with these investments organisations still lose their best talent to the competition because of the limitations of high-level engagement surveys; specifically they do not look at an individual’s real engagement factors.

    Asking the right questions, and analysing each individual employee’s real engagement factors ensures managers and the wider organisation provide an environment that retains the best talent. People want to feel recognised but there are other factors that need to be understood if they are to further engage in their work and the overall success of the organisation.

    In this series of eight articles we provide detailed insights into each of the 8 areas of employee expectations, starting with:

    Personal Expectations

    Personal expectations can include areas such as being kept properly informed about what is going on in the company, having a strong and capable leader, access to help when needed and a clear career and development path. In isolation these cannot change performance and increase opportunity but combined with other engagement metrics can help managers develop more fulfilling job roles, set meaningful goals, leading to a more satisfied and productive team. Examples of personal expectations include:

    Wants to be Informed

    • Most employees who are engaged, or want to be more so, also expect to be kept informed of what is going on in the organisation they are working for. This can be particularly problematic during times of change when, for instance, departments are being reorganised or new initiatives and products being released.
    • Meeting these expectations is vital for companies that want to promote better employee relations and a higher sense of well-being.

    Wants Capable Leader

    • One of the major reasons that top talent leave a particular company is the person in charge. That could be because the employee feels unappreciated or that they are being ‘held back’ in some way and it could mean that the person in charge is simply not very good at handling people, particularly those with obvious talent. The CIPD quote a survey last year by B2B marketplace of more than a thousand employees, over a third said they thought their manager was a bad boss.
    • Most employees expect a manager or boss who is responsive, understanding and helps them do their job well.

    Wants Personal Help

    • Employees will have varying expectations of the kind of personal help they want or need. That may just be to ease things during busy periods with access to additional staff or it might be finding ways that fit in with their career expectations such as job development or a better work-life balance.
    • It can also include employees who need additional help such as those with a disability.

    Wants a Stable Career

    • Employees who are constantly in fear of losing their jobs or being undermined in the office are likely, of course, to be less engaged than those who feel they have a stable career pathway.
    • Top talent are usually looking for some way to progress their future employment prospects and have high expectations of a stable career pathway that meets their needs and those of the organisation they work for.

    How Harrison Assessments Talent Solution helps

    Managers can measure employee expectations, the intrinsic behaviours that drive individual and group engagement, by analysing the 8 key areas. This helps to understand any differences between an employee as well as looking at the overall group or team’s expectations. These insights facilitate the essential dialogue between employee and manager, fostering a shared responsibility for engagement to build a culture of employee engagement.

    Managers can use the Manage, Develop and Retain report as a guide to getting the best performance out of an individual member of their team, and shows how mis-matched communication and management styles could potentially demotivate a talented employee. Instead the report suggests how best to develop and engage the employee, what type of tasks to delegate and behaviours to watch out for that could impede performance.

    Understanding Personal Expectations

    Assess employee engagement factors for individuals and groups with summary dashboards and detailed reports.

    Employee Engagement White Paper

    • This employee engagement white paper will outline why this is the case and what is needed to achieve a greater impact on organisational performance.
    • It includes some key areas relating to engagement in the workplace and a crucial 3-step guide to assist with the application of engagement analytics.
    • Written by Dan Harrison, Ph.D. – Organisational Psychology, developer and CEO of Harrison Assessments, this white paper is a must read for anyone involved in employee engagement.  Request your copy here –

    • Employee engagement is a shared responsibility


      Employee engagementHow Employee Engagement Analytics Help Create a Culture of Engagement

      Employee engagement is a hot topic—and for good reason. Research studies from Gallup®, BlessingWhite®, and many more continue to demonstrate that employee engagement highly impacts key organisational metrics including talent retention, mission achievement, growth, and profitability.

      Engagement surveys are commonly used to assess the organisation’s level of employee engagement.  While this approach has proven valuable in many organisations, it has limitations in terms of improving individual engagement and creating a culture of engagement.

      Employee Expectations

      • This employee engagement white paper will outline why this is the case and what is needed to achieve a greater impact on organisational performance metrics.
      • It includes some key areas relating to engagement in the workplace and a crucial 3-step guide to assist you with the application of engagement analytics.
      • Written by Dan Harrison, Ph.D. – Organisational Psychology, developer and CEO of Harrison Assessments, this white paper is a must read for anyone involved in employee engagement.  Request your copy here –

      • Case Study: The entrepreneurial warehouse managers


        Organisations seek to to attract and retain the best talent for specific roles and more importantly – the right cultural fit.

        Even organisations that outsource their selection processes have told us that although outsourcing solves the initial sorting process it often does nothing for the ‘cultural fit’ of applicant to organisation. In fact, the CIPD recently published statistics showing that only 8% of organisations are actually happy with their talent management approach. In our experience there are a number of reasons for this  – disparate methods being used at differing levels and in different areas of the organisation and the perception of cost and dissatisfaction with assessment tools are among the most common.

        So how do you measure company values?

        It has become common practice for business trainers/facilitators to help organisations identify their values and connect these to the behaviours expected in support of these values. Harrison Assessments helps to identify the behaviours behind the values in a way that hasn’t been easy before.

        How do companies measure employee performance against their values?

        The concept is simple. If something is important to us as human beings we will behave in a way that supports this value. So behind each value must be a set of behavioural competencies and behind each competency is a set of behavioural traits.

        Case Study: The entrepreneurial warehouse managers

        We were recently working with an organisation who have a strong value around entrepreneurship. They wanted all their warehouse managers to behave in an entrepreneurial way as if the business was their own. Of course this can mean different things to different people and it took time to establish what was really required in terms of behaviour. For example true entrepreneurs can be very high risk takers unable to convey their vision to others. This is certainly not what the organisation was looking for. When we broke it down we discovered that what was actually required was –

        • Essential traits – optimism, persistence, self-acceptance, self- improvement, the ability to take initiative, enthusiasm for the role, the ability to be open and reflective and some warmth and empathy.
        • Desirable traits – collaboration, effective enforcing, a desire to lead, a systematic approach, the ability to work as a team, diplomacy, frankness, the ability to enlist co-operation, the ability to handle conflict, flexibility, helpfulness and tolerance of structure
        • Traits to avoid – rebellious autonomy, harshness, insensitivity, evasiveness, imprecision caused through speed, scepticism, permissiveness and slow precision.

        Taking a closer look at these you may say that some entrepreneurs will fit into this profile but others definitely not. So gaining a clearer picture was essential to fully understand what the organisation was looking for.

        All the other company values were analysed in the same way to produce an overall profile against which the company can measure accurately.

        So now the company has an accurate measuring tool as well as a clearer understanding of their own expectations in relation to their advertised values. This not only represents a huge cost saving in making sure they recruit people who will fit the culture, it highlights automatically areas for development for existing employees and forms the basis for personal development plans. A next possible step is to incorporate this measurement into the appraisal system thus making it easier for managers to have conversations which may previously have been avoided.

      • How do you Measure Employee Behaviours Against Your Company Values?


        Company valuesLiving Up to Company Values

        How do you know when you interview someone for a job that they will live up to your Company Values? How do you measure employee behaviours against your Company Values?

        Here are some examples of some of the values of three of our major high street names –


        The first and the third have a brief description of what each of them means. The second one is a straightforward list of words.

        Working in large companies as an independent consultant I am intrigued to know what the values mean to the employees. If appropriate during a group session I will often ask who knows what they are and have learnt not to be surprised at the number of people who either don’t know or have them written down somewhere and have to retrieve them in order to answer the question. This is often despite the fact that they are written on large posters all over the building. So why does this happen? It’s simple – it’s about connection, meaning and expectation.

        I am going to use a simple model to explain what I mean.

        The Alignment Model

        Gregory Bateson and latterly Robert Dilts came to the conclusion that we exist at different levels –as individuals, teams and organisations.

        At the very highest level we have a PURPOSE. In organisations this is often put in terms of a mission statement or more fashionably as a simple a Purpose for the organisation. As individuals and teams we have a purpose, whether consciously or unconsciously, behind everything we do and want to achieve and, if stated clearly, this purpose will help to keep us on track.

        At the next level down we have IDENTITY/ROLE. In other words what role do we and others play in achieving the purpose. This is not so much about job title as the changing nature of the roles required of us in relation to each purpose eg, facilitator, coach, educator, entertainer, manager, designer, support, minder and so on.

        Now here comes the level of VALUES AND BELIEFS. What is important to us as an organization, team or individual? Companies spend time determining high level values as seen above and display them on their websites and walls. The expectation here is that employees will understand them, integrate them and live by them at work.

        CAPABILITY comes next. Do we have the capability to fulfill the purpose. What’s missing? If it’s important and we believe it’s possible then this level can be satisfied.

        Effective BEHAVIOUR is the result of all the above levels being aligned. This is the visible part of the process and the one that is often judged.

        Finally its behaviour, often unconscious once it becomes habitual, that determines the culture or the ENVIRONMENT of the organization – it’s the visible and kinaesthetic manifestation of all the levels of above.

        What happens in organisations in relation to values?

        Organisations are very good at coming up with a set of meaningful values. The question is meaningful for who, and how do we test for them at interview and beyond? How do they become part of the muscle of the organization? The trouble with values is that they are generally stated in high level, abstract language that is open to interpretation by individuals if indeed they get that far. Abstract words generally remain just that – abstract! Hence the inability often of people to relate to them, own them and live by them.

        Take collaboration for example. If you were to walk around an organization with this value what sort of behaviours would you see? Collaborating with who, when, about what? Does everyone have to collaborate or just a few people? What does collaboration look and feel like? How do I test for this at interview without asking a direct question about collaboration to which the interviewee is likely to have a prepared answer, particularly having read the values on the website beforehand? Collaboration is a working preference that not everyone is comfortable with.

        And what about humility? How would people demonstrating humility in the workplace be behaving? Or passion? Passion in organisations is often missing if research into job enjoyment is anything to go by. Passionate about what? How does it show?

        The reason for the disconnect is often because organisations stop when they get to the values level. The people who determined the values in the first place know what they mean to them and make the assumption that everyone else will know what they mean. They also, until now, had no way of measuring them effectively.

        Harrison Assessment Talent Solutions

        More than 25 years ago Dr Dan Harrison began to conduct some research into what makes people perform well in the workplace. His research concluded that if people enjoy at least 75% of their work they will do it well and become more productive. He also utilized paradox theory in the design of his unique talent solution which has been developed and refined over the years to become one of the most effective talent solutions on the market today. Basically saying that assessments that utilize a bipolar measuring mechanism are missing the point that people can demonstrate a combination of two opposing traits – it’s not a question of either or it’s a combination of both which produce balanced versatility of behaviour. For example, being frank doesn’t mean that you are never diplomatic. You can have both traits. These two factors alone make Harrison Assessments one of the most effective business tools on the market today. It is this system which can determine the behaviours which sit behind the values and which can be measured by completion of an on-line SmartQuestionnaire™.

        Using the HATS system, organisations can create a template for the behavioural expectations of their employees. This template can then be utilized in recruitment, alongside similar job specific templates and can also be incorporated into the appraisal system if appropriate. This latter has the strong benefit of raising awareness of behavioural expectation as well as giving managers the confidence to ask questions in relation to such, normally subjective, aspects of performance. Such conscious awareness of expectations creates a culture that directly aligns with the values and purpose of the organisation.

        If you would like to know more about matching behaviours to values call 0800 689 3761.

        Pat Hutchinson