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120 | Crafting culture: unearthing and shaping the heart of your business, with Louise Kennedy
Episode 1201st March 2024 • HR Coffee Time • Fay Wallis
00:00:00 00:36:03

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If you’re stuck about defining or shaping culture in your organisation, you’re not alone. The concept often appears fuzzy, theoretical, and more suited for addressing in large corporations than smaller teams. But it’s a vital component of every thriving workplace. In this episode of HR Coffee Time host, Fay Wallis is joined by Louise Kennedy from Oculus HR, known for her ability to simplify seemingly complex things into clear, actionable steps.

Key Takeaways

  • Culture can feel complex and difficult to define, but it is essential for the success of any organization.
  • Defining culture can happen at different stages of a business's growth.
  • Involving employees in defining culture is crucial for unearthing the ‘now’ culture.
  • Values play a significant role in shaping culture.
  • Engaging senior leadership in culture conversations is essential for driving culture change.

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Fay Wallis:

Louise is all such helpful insights and advice I could chat to you about this topic all day But I better be really disciplined and instead move us along to my penultimate question, which is the question I try to ask every guest who comes on the show, and that is whether you would like to either share a non fiction book recommendation with us, or if you have a confidence building tip for us today.

Louise Kennedy:

I think I'll go for the confidence building tip. I think one big thing for me during the course of last year was about looking after yourself. I think very much around from a wellbeing point of view, such a big area of conversation that's taking place in, in all of our businesses.

But from my own personal experience, I was able to focus on my wellbeing. And that being from everything from, you know, starting yoga classes to losing weight to kind of having your mind in the right space and actually ultimately all of those things give you more confidence in day to day side of things but also in my business.

It's made a massive impact on the business because I'm in the right headspace because you feel comfortable and confident yourself to be able to make a difference to the team that I'm working with but also to the business as well. So it's been so many benefits and definitely a confidence top tip really.

Fay Wallis:

Well, that is a wonderful tip to hear, especially as I always start the show by saying that this podcast is especially to help everyone have a successful and fulfilling HR or people career without working themselves into the ground.

Because I know just how dedicated so many of the people are who are listening to the organizations that they work in and to the people within those organizations. They really want to do a good job and there's a real risk that you can end up just overworking or, or burning out. So thank you for pointing out the importance of well being and actually tying it in with the fact that it can help you to feel more confident as well.

If you're not completely frazzled, you're much more likely to be able to have that self belief and move forward with things when you'd like to. So, a fab tip to share. We've only had a few confidence building tips on the show so far So it's lovely to have another one. And that brings us to my very final question for today Which is for anyone listening who would love to learn more about your work or get in touch with you, what is the best way of them doing that?

Louise Kennedy:

So, you can use our website, that's just oculus hr. co. uk, so you can check us out on there and meet the team on there as well. We have our own podcast, which is called Real World HR, so we're just on our third season of that. They're being released every couple of weeks at the moment so they're really good and we aim them around all sorts of different types of conversations, not just

HR as such, you know, things that really make a difference within businesses. So we do that. Also available on LinkedIn as well. So you can check out Louise Kennedy on LinkedIn. And we also have Oculus HR on then. And we have other platforms, Instagram and Twitter and Facebook as well. But they're, they're our main ones to be able to use.

Fay Wallis:

I'll make sure that I pop links to all of those things in the show notes. And I should say a big thank you to you for having me as a guest on your show as well, Louise.

Louise Kennedy:

Yes, I have. So we're looking forward to that that episode being released as well later on this year, which will be brilliant.

Fay Wallis:

Well, all that leaves me to say is a huge thank you for, well, not only having me on your podcast, but coming on HR Coffee Time. It has just been amazing to be able to chat all things culture with you today.

Louise Kennedy:

No, it's been great and thank you very much for asking me to come on to you because obviously you can tell culture is something that I love to talk about, and it definitely makes a difference in businesses, so I'm so pleased to be able to have the conversation around that.

Fay Wallis:

Now we're at the end of the episode, I'm going to try something new today, thanks to the wonders of AI. So I'd love to get your feedback about what you think once you've listened to this last part. If you signed up to receive my free weekly HR Coffee Time emails, you can just reply to one of those emails to let me know.

Or you can always reach me on LinkedIn. I'm there as myself, Faye Wallace. The Faye doesn't have an E on the end and the Wallace is spelled with an IS on the end instead of an ACE. The software that podcast interviews has started generating a written summary of the key points that were covered in the interview and I thought it might be helpful to share them with you.

I've tweaked what the AI came up with because it sounded a bit too formal and not like me But I am hoping that it will be helpful. I know that lots of other podcasters do a wrap up at the end of their episodes with a really quick summary of the main points that were covered, because it can be hard to remember them all after you've just listened to the whole interview.

In fact, I have tried doing it myself in the past, but I've not done it that often and I've not been consistent with it. So now I've got the help of AI, I thought I'd give it another go. Here is a quick reminder of the key points that Louise shared with us. She explained that defining company culture can happen at different stages of a business's growth.

There might have been a negative incidence at work that has made you think it's a good idea to start defining and shaping the culture, or there could be a completely different reason that the timing feels right. Asking the leadership team and employees about their views on the culture can help with pinning down what the now culture actually is.

Creating a culture group is one way of helping guide the business to address any issues that crop up and ensure that the culture that's being lived and breathed throughout the organization is what you want it to be. Getting external help like Louise or another HR consultant can provide valuable insights and objectivity when it comes to looking at culture.

Values play an incredibly important role. Challenges in defining and shaping culture can include things like resistance from leadership, resistance from employees, a lack of understanding of the benefits, and also it can be a real challenge if the organisation doesn't follow through on culture initiatives.

Engaging senior leadership in culture conversations is absolutely crucial. They need to be the ones leading the way, but you may have to demonstrate the impact on business performance and results to get their buy in. And with that in mind, there is another episode that you might find helpful if you're struggling to get buy in with a culture initiative.

It is episode 88, How to Write a Compelling Business Case and Get Approval for Your Idea, with the brilliant Jo Taylor, who joined me on HL Coffee Time for her second interview. I'll pop a link to it in the show notes for you. along with a link to the last episode where we took a deep dive into culture, which was episode 114, What Workplace Culture Is, How to Measure It, and a Surprising Way to Improve It with Arend Borsumer.

As always, if you're enjoying HR Coffee Time and finding it useful, I would be forever grateful if you are happy to leave a rating and review for it on whichever podcasting platform you're listening to it right now. It makes such a big difference in helping the show to reach new listeners, and I would just love to reach as many HR and people professionals to help them with their career through this free show.

Thank you so much, have a great rest of your day, and I'm looking forward to being back again soon with the next episode for you.




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