On bonfire night I partook in my annual ritual for watching the amazing film V for Vendetta partly because I love comic book movies but also because it reminds me of how fragile our democracy is in the UK and how easily fear can make us behave in strange and dark ways.
At the centre of the V for Vendetta film is the concepts of equality and freedom. Thinking back 2011 when we emerged from the NHS there was a great deal of fear, fear of the known, fear of the unknown and fear of knowing that the normal was no longer going to ‘hold any water’.
It was clear we needed a new normal, it was clear that change was inevitable and that we could if we wanted create an organisation that was more autonomous than the public sector and more equal than the private sector, a business with a purpose at its heart.
As V says ‘There’s no certainty – only opportunity’ and from a handful of staff we have grown dramatically which as been has hard in some ways as not growing at all.
In a couple of weeks I am speaking at the Employee Ownership Conference on employee engagement and how at my organisation Social adVentures it has fuelled our recession bucking growth.
We have learned that culture is still king and to have a business that is truly people powered you have to have them engaged at all levels in the organisation. So what do you do to get there ?
Tip 1. Give staff freedom to act within clear guidelines – Ownership is underpinned by trust and what’s interesting in the world of work, we have developed a thousand ways to show our co-workers that we don’t trust them. We set rules based on that one time that someone or something went wrong slowly eroding trust and reducing freedom. Rules should be structured around the 99% of people that have earnt your trust and not around the other 1%.
Tip 2. Recruit for attitude and train for skill – Your values should be like the writing in a Blackpool stick of rock when it comes to recruitment. 89% of people fail in jobs because they have the wrong attitude. Find ways to build the ‘gut feel’ into your recruitment process. A great example of this is our Being Well Coaches Hannah and Mike. When recruiting for these positions we asked applicants to make a short video instead of an application form to get shortlisted for the job. This allowed them to showcase how inspired by the opportunity they were, both Mike and Hannah shone through. Mike has gone from strength to strength becoming an outstanding public health practitioner a far cry from his role previously in catering logistics. If we had used a traditional method he admits he wouldn’t have bothered applying and to be honest we would have probably screened him out on experience.
Tip 3. Make your people happy- Happy people work at their best so the role of management should be creating happy staff – that makes sense right? Is employee happiness an agenda item at team meetings? , do you measure it? You should! Then find out what makes them tick and resource it.
As V says ‘’ A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having!’’
Social adVentures offers workshop programmes and inspirational public speaking packages on creating, sustaining and growing a people powered business. You can read more about this here.