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Derek Bishop

Culture Consultancy


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Developing culture


When was the last time you took a positive decision to take a good look at your organisation?  We’re not talking here about changing a job title in response to the latest government missive on pay or restructuring a department in the light of technology developments.  Changes of that nature go on all the time in organisations but they are reactive rather than creative.  What we are thinking of here is deliberately taking time out to have a good hard look at the organisation and its culture.

When running a business on a daily basis, when implementing changes in response to customer demand, or technological improvement, or the latest government or regulatory initiative it is all too easy to get caught up in an endless cycle in which the immediate is taken care of and everything else is shoehorned in as time permits. The trouble with this approach is that those things which made the business successful in the first place; the vision, the culture, the attention to employee engagement, are all sidelined and before you know it profits and reputation start to slide and employee turnover and absence start to soar. 

There is an old adage that leaders should spend more time on the business than in the business and when it comes to keeping a weather eye on culture and engagement this is certainly true.  But culture and engagement aren’t just the preserve of the leadership.  Employees throughout the organisation have a responsibility for the organisation and that responsibility certainly extends to the HR/L&D team. 

Much has been written about the way in which the HR team can work to ensure that new employees are engaged in the organisation’s values through hiring for cultural fit and through attention to the induction process. But when it comes to day to day processes or to cultural reorganisations there is perhaps a lack of appreciation of the way in which HR can influence the outcome.   The surface stuff is easy; preparing new contracts, drawing up a new org. chart or issuing fresh procedure documentation but there is so much more which the HR/L&D team can do as the gatekeepers of the culture.

Let’s take a departmental reshuffle for example.  It’s far too easy to assume that because people are still working for the same organisation it is easy to switch.  But that is far from the case.  Learning to work with a new set of colleagues under different leadership and with new processes can be very unsettling and can lead to some considerable levels of stress.  Simply by being aware of this in advance the HR/L&D team can alleviate much of the problem.  From organising ‘get to meet you’ events to arranging appropriate training in advance of the reorganisation HR can make a measurable difference to the way in which the new team gels together.

Even without reorganisations it is the HR team who should have their finger on the pulse of the organisation and who should therefore alert the leadership to a problem with the culture.  A rise in absenteeism, an increase in the number of employees who hand in their notice, an increase in overtime or even a report of inter-departmental wrangling or a spat in the corridor should be flagged as a signal that all is not well.  Every organisation has a culture whether it likes it or not but unless the leadership including the HR/L&D team keep an eye on the culture and take steps to keep it aligned with the aims and values of the organisation then sooner or later an organisational reshuffle in response to the latest government initiative will be the least of your worries.

If you’ve got a question on organisational culture feel free to email Derek at or visit for more information on organisational culture and employee engagement.

One Response

  1. Very Interesting

    Thank you for this article. You have raised some really interesting points. If you are interested take a look at a blog which highlights a similar theme- recognizing the importance of the right attitude when inspiring the sales team.

    Sales 101 

    Professional and Effective Sales Training and Recruitment Resources 

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Derek Bishop


Read more from Derek Bishop

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