The three pillars of workplace culture at Matthews Steer Part 2 - Purpose
By Catherine Duncan.
This week in my series on the three pillars of workplace culture I’m focusing on the symbiotic relationship between culture and productivity.
I’ve written previously about how innovation breeds motivation and the advantages we see from building and nurturing diversity, and proactively supporting people to play to their many and varied strengths when we are innovating within our business. Dividing projects up and encouraging people to take ownership of the tasks they enjoy is a sure-fire way to ensure productivity and, importantly in the era of the Great Resignation, to promote engagement and initiate a brand new phenomenon I like to call the Great Retention!
The 80/20 principle
Where we can, at Matthews Steer we advocate an 80-20 principle with our people; we ask them to focus on their core, bread and butter tasks for 80 per cent of their time, and to devote 20 per cent of their time to questioning our processes, seeking improvements and innovating in ways that capture their imagination, ignite their passion and make what they do more efficient or effective.
As a keynote speaker at our recent Success Stories breakfast, Human Resources guru Shanyn Payne describes it as “unleashing the mastery;’ setting up the conditions for people to thrive and perform at their best by creating an agreeable workplace environment and empowering them with clarity, direction and confidence.
This tactic has paid dividends for us time and time again, engaging our people to challenge every facet of our business. But the productivity prism isn’t just about creating a fun environment. Absolutely we want our people to feel ‘seen’ and to enjoy coming to work, but an expectation of high-performance balances out the space to ‘play’ in our workplace equation.
Purpose and productivity
It all comes back to our purpose; empowering our communities to live their potential, which is our North Star in our dealings with clients and colleagues alike, and which we even use as the basis for performance management within our firm. Whether someone is a newcomer to our business, or a long-term employee struggling to meet their KPIs, performance management can be a fraught process. Agreeing to focus on how we empower each other to live our potential helps to take the emotion out of what can be confronting situations, and enables us to move forward in a positive, constructive, future-focused way so everyone wins.
Potential is a powerful and future focused word. Many of us don’t fully understand our own potential We need great peers and solid managers around us to help explore our potential. Staying relevant, getting good external feeds from discussion groups, podcasts etc are also critical to setting yourself up for the future. Surround yourself with the right people who will challenge and support you.
At some time or another you’ve probably experienced firsthand how demotivating it can be when you don’t understand - or engage with – a task you’ve been asked to complete. We find we achieve our greatest successes with outcome-driven programs with clear targets that enable our people to follow pathways that interest them and advance their career in ways that work for them, while ensuring that they meet the requirements and deliverables of their individual roles. I feel many people don’t invest enough in a strong foundation of proactively planning and thinking ahead. That comes back to bite them and often results in them becoming overwhelmed and ultimately unproductive.
Crafting a colleague-friendly workplace
This might mean matching tasks to an individual’s natural skill set, or crafting a workplace that fits their career ambitions and work-life balance ideals in the long term, and it’s a growing trend in HR with some firms now offer paw-rental leave (the new pet equivalent of maternity/paternity leave), and heartbreak leave (self-explanatory). While we’re not quite that progressive, we have a robust new paid parental leave policy for primary and secondary carers
Post-pandemic, businesses are facing real challenges reintegrating some of their people into office-based work. Unlike Melbourne CBD firms whose employees have to commute on public transport daily, many of our people can’t wait to get back to an in-person workplace at our Essendon Fields location, but not everyone is keen to give up working from home.
Annecdotal evidence indicates one-third of Australians can’t wait to get back to the office full-time, one-third are happy to be office-based some of the time, and the remaining third never want to step foot in an office again! Open, honest and transparent dialogue with our people suggested their needs are no different, which is why we’ve introduced new hybrid working arrangements at Matthews Steer that offer our team the flexibility to get their work done when they’re at their most productive, and to divide their work between our Essendon Fields office and home.
We are committed to ‘hearing’ our team as individuals, and providing a working environment that continually evolves to enhance our culture, and build on one of our greatest strengths – our ability to work as a team. Our aim is an environment where we know and support each other, where we collaborate to find exceptional solutions, and where we provide outstanding service to our clients. We are seizing the opportunity to reimagine how we work, and we believe the hybrid workplace model will enable us to become a powerhouse of productivity.
Return on investment in culture
Creating an environment that optimises your team’s productivity might sound like a costly exercise, but we believe failing to listen to our team’s needs, and to work with them to create a workplace that works for them, could end up costing us even more! Simply said, flexibility is critical to attracting great people and ensuring the Great Retention all strategic businesses aspire to!
In the final part of my three-part series on the pillars of workplace culture, I’ll be tackling the importance of passion and pride to healthy workplace culture.
If you’d like to come and work at a purposeful, productivity-driven accounting and advisory firm call Hilda Boulton from our HR team, or click here to email Hilda for more information about accounting job opportunities at Matthews Steer.