Rick Lee, Chief People Officer at Willmott Dixon gives practical tips on how to influence behaviour through fostering a leadership culture. Rick is speaking at the CIPD Employee Engagement Conference and Workshop which takes place on 30-31 January 2020 in London. Book your ticket today.
At Willmott Dixon it is all about our people and our tireless engagement and care that underpins our culture. This year, as recognition of this deeply embedded ethos, our people voted us as the fourth best company in the UK to work for in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies list. Recently we were delighted to be ranked first in the UK and third in Europe, above many household names, for our diversity and inclusion work. Companies with great leadership culture and good behaviours perform better than their peers. Their people are happier, they challenge the status quo, and their respect towards their customers and supply chain builds long term meaningful relationships.
At the heart of a successful leadership culture are behaviours, which are based on respect, excellence, empowerment and accountability. We have embedded these behaviours at Willmott Dixon. We are now measuring our people’s contribution to the business in terms of their behaviours, as well as their performance. There are a number of ways that HR can work with their people to help create a leadership culture that encourages accountability and embeds the right behaviours. To start with, ensure that the business takes the lead and explains why, then train, practice, measure, explain why, train, practice, measure… repeat to fade… Below are some examples of how to do this:
- Regularly communicate and reinforce your company’s behaviours through the intranet, bulletins, newsletters and at internal meetings.
- Embed the behaviours with relevant training at every stage of an employee’s career. For example, at Willmott Dixon right from the start we have a Group Induction for recent new starters, where we have Role of the Manager training which is based on our company’s values and behaviours and lets our new line managers know what is expected of them in terms of empowering and inspiring their teams.
- It is important to measure the success of what you are doing. For example, staff turnover, ‘happy scores’, staff satisfaction surveys. In our staff survey, ‘Your Say’, we ask our people to rate the statement ‘My line manager empowers me to take personal accountability’. Overall, 97% of our people agreed with this statement.
- Recognise when your people have performed well and taken accountability for what they do. At Willmott Dixon we have Above and Beyond monetary awards where people can nominate their colleagues for exceptional contribution over the course of the year.
This is just a taster of what we can do to empower managers. As HR, one of our roles is to be the conscience of the organisation; there is a fine line between giving advice and telling people, but sometimes we need to be brave and speak truth to power, to make sure our leaders create a culture in which their people can grow and flourish.