Best practice: Flexible culture

May 12, 2021

first_img Comments are closed. Best practice: Flexible cultureOn 6 Nov 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article PersonnelToday’s monthly series reveals how managers deal with business problems toenhance performance. In this issue, Mike Eadie, co-managing director oftop-banana global, explains the benefits of flexi-culture in managing adisparate workforceTop-banana global is a leading organisation of human performanceconsultants. It delivers innovative solutions to a wide range of blue-chipclients throughout the UK. While its site-based team is small, comprising only nine people, the organisationfunctions using a team of management, training and HR consultants based indifferent locations throughout the UK and Europe. With such a substantialdistribution of resource, top-banana faces many of the same complex culturalissues that challenge much larger companies. The company is young, only two years old, but it has grown from three peopleto 300 in that time. The management decided from the outset that it wanted thebusiness to grow fast and getting the right culture was key. It was a rare opportunity to conceptualise and develop a distinctive modernculture, without first having to modify an existing one. Top-banana wanted a culture that was not only flexible internally, but thatcould be flexible with its clients as well. This strategy came from experience of other consultancies that imposeparticular models of practice on to their staff and clients. So the company knew what it didn’t want to be, the question was how tocreate the culture that it did want? How we implemented the solution In practical terms, a flexi-culture means top-banana can both work with itsclients in a non-prescriptive way, and also draw on the resource of itsconsultants to find the best ways of working. As a company, top-banana is notdriven by methods and processes, but by the need to deliver the best solutionsfor individual cases. For the consultants, this means regular meetings with top-banana to form theright strategy for each client. Consultants are encouraged to put forward theirideas. When top-banana is discussing a new client, it makes a concerted effortto ensure that it does not impose a strategy on the consultants who will bedoing the work. The most important function of meetings is to ask the opinion of theconsultants, finding out how they think a problem should be tackled and worktogether to find the solution. Crucial to the company’s philosophy is that there is no failure – onlyfeedback. Everyone will make a mistake at some point in his or her career, buttop-banana does not see this as a cause for negativity. All employees, be theyfull time staff or consultants, know that they can work confidently. Ifsomething doesn’t go as they first planned, they will receive the constructivefeedback they need to help them and improve the situation. This means that employees also have the confidence to ask for help, becausethey know it is not seen as a reflection of their ability to do the job. Most of the consultants meet at top-banana two or three times a week. For anew project, the consultants are involved from a very early stage. First, they are invited in to discuss the project. Following this, theconsultants are then able to review the material that is being proposed for theclient. This process ensures that they really understand the client’s needs andthat they are working as a seamless team when they go out to meet the client. Even though most of the staff are not full-time employees, there are regularperformance reviews. These are very open, flexible occasions with a powerfulcoaching element to close any knowledge gaps. The performance reviews are alsoa time to anchor the things that are going really well. Communication has, for obvious reasons, developed as a key part of thecultural strategy. Associate days are a great opportunity for sharing ideas,and part of the day is set aside for networking. After every meeting, the attendants’ details are shared with each other sothey can communicate outside the meetings and help each other with professionalqueries. Positive outcomes for the business Top-banana has grown 264 per cent in the last year. The established culture,although always being reviewed and updated, has gained the company a reputationas a “chameleon” within the industry, because of its ability to mergeseamlessly with the culture of each company it visits. The flexible approach has definitely worked in establishing good workingrelationships with consultants. Each consultant is recognised as an individual with individual needs andconcerns. For example, if there are a number of people working on a team, one mightprefer to be left alone to work self sufficiently, whereas somebody else mightwork better with contact from top-banana every few days. The company tries to meet these needs, giving a free hand to those who wantit, but establishing regular contact with those who work best with moresupport. As a human performance consultancy, top-banana is naturally concerned withthe human behavioural aspect of how its consultants perform. In business terms, that has been what has created the success of thecompany, but it is also the backbone of ensuring top-banana employees arefulfilling their potential and feel completely supported in their work. The Best Practice ClubThe best professional network youwill ever join.The Best Practice Club is a professional knowledge network,pooling the ideas and advice gleaned from a diverse and global membership whichspans manufacturing and service industries as well as the public and private sectors.Through a combination of education and shared experience, members are able toidentify and adopt best business practices.For a full information pack, contact 0800 435399 or visit www.bpclub.comBenefits of flexi-culture in managing a workforce– Theculture is created by the people in the company, specifically those atmanagement level– Coach people at the top, as what people see as behaviourfrom  key people on a daily basisaffects the whole company culture – Everybody in the company needs to be committed to developinga flexible approach– Don’t blame the working environment. Cultures don’t justhappen; people make the culture, rarely the environment they work in Related posts:No related photos.last_img

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