Culture - it's a tough one. You'll hear all sorts of companies and brands talking about their working culture - but it's not something that you can just implement.
In fact, sometimes the more you try, the less successful you'll be.
The problem is, usually that the actions companies or departments take are too big-picture; bringing in measures that they perceive to be culture-shifting (like the option for flexible working or unlimited holidays, comfy sofas or chill out rooms, team lunches or all-staff nights out); but that don't actually tackle stuff on an individual level. Which can result in something that people are unlikely to feel invested in.
Why culture matters
You spend more time at work than you do pretty much anywhere else. With big companies spending untold amounts of time, effort (and money) on nurturing their working cultures, and technology allowing for genuinely flexible working like never before, it's more important than ever to invest in individual worth and find ways to encourage a work-life blend that keeps people engaged and satisfied.
With digital transformation usually comes some pretty big changes. If you want people to feel valued, you need to include them at every stage. Moreover, you should want to. Making sure your workforce represents not only of-the-moment expertise but corporate memory and established relationships is the only way you'll encounter long-term success (in my humble opinion, in any case).
Start with communities
Here in the content team, we're working on building a content design community across Parliament. There are over 300 people with access to our Content Management System (CMS), and of those at least 100 access it every week.
Our core team may be small (there's currently 11 of us), but we want to be able to consider each and every person across Parliament who produces content to be part of our extended team. That's why my other job title is Editor-in-Chief - I'm here to support every editor across Parliament to make the most of their content.
Many of them are subject matter experts (or work closely with them), and there's no one else that knows their work better than they do. We're not here to know every nook and cranny of Parliamentary process - we're here to help showcase the content that Parliament produces in the best way we can.
Identify your identity
We met for the first time today for 'lunch and learn' event. It was the first opportunity for our burgeoning community to come together, and to learn a little something about some of the tools and tactics that we as content designers use to make the most out of the opportunities we're presented with.
We also took the opportunity to talk about how we'd like to see the community develop, and what working together might look like.
To commemorate this inaugural meeting, we designed and produced some content community badges (cute, right?!).
Why badges? Because they're a small, simple, inexpensive way of starting to make a change. Rather than a grand gesture that lacks the personal touch, we're starting small, but looking for big impact.
Everyone around Parliament has to wear a security pass for obvious reasons - so popping a content community badge onto your lanyard means other people can immediately see that you're part of the gang - and that you're able to help, too.
A sea of friendly faces
Imagine you're waiting to speak at a big meeting. You're hoping to fly the flag of great content, or want to offer a new perspective, challenge the status quo, or encourage a little bit of healthy risk taking. You don't always know how it might be received. We've all been there. Then, across the room, you spot a little pin badge you recognise. That simple symbol instantly tells you that the person wearing it has your back. They're looking to do what you are. They're one less person you have to convince. And they can support you if your audience gets tough. They're an instant ally.
Simple, but very effective.
So, that's why here at PDS we consider small culture changes to be as important as bigger ones. If not more. Small shift, big impact. And we want to take everyone with us.
You included. We've got your back.