Creating a culture for WBH

This month, the PSR Forum invited one of our excellent training partners Dr Simon Haslam to help us explore ideas around the culture and shared ways of working at Walter Bower House (WBH).

Culture has been defined as ‘the way we do things around here’. A workplace culture is the shared protocols, belief systems, attitudes, assumptions and behaviours that people in a workplace share. A positive workplace culture improves teamwork, enhances job satisfaction, increases productivity, and generally makes us healthier and happier in our workplaces.

Relocating to a new building such as WBH gives us a golden opportunity to consciously consider what a positive workplace culture will look like, and who better to do that than the future occupants of WBH themselves?

Before the session, the reps asked their teams the following questions:

  • What are the five words that you think best describe ‘what we want our workplace to be like’?
  • Identify the behaviours that support these concepts

With a little help from Simon, we split into four groups to discuss and share ideas. The teams wrote their words on flipchart paper, then drilled down a bit more and added some behaviours to support these ideas.

Group 1’s comments…

Group 2’s comments…

Group 3’s comments…

Group 4’s comments…

I then took the reps’ hard work and spent a bit of time grouping the ideas together:

Notwithstanding some small differences in expression and vocabulary, I think six clear themes emerge:

Words that describe what we want our workplace to be like Number of times mentioned
Respectful 4
Flexible 4
Collaborative 3
Positive 3
Professional 3
Supportive 3

I also pulled out some of the related behaviours that the reps thought supported these descriptive words and have expressed this relationship as follows:

We are…  I will…
Respectful
  • Be considerate to others
  • Follow the building protocols and etiquette
  • Respect our environment
Flexible
  • Treat Smart Working as the standard
  • Be open to change and new ways of working
  • Value teamwork
Collaborative
  • Communicate clearly with others
  • Be inclusive
  • Break down silos and work with others
Positive
  • Be optimistic and forward-looking
  • Look for opportunities in change
  • Appreciate our diversity
Professional
  • Be mindful of the needs of others
  • Understand others’ boundaries
Supportive
  • Offer support and help to colleagues when needed
  • Be approachable and friendly
  • Keep a sense of fun

So there you have it, some ‘crowd-sourced’ shared ways of working, courtesy of the PSR reps.

The next step will be to build these six words and their related behaviours into the building protocols. Better get to work!

Have a fun and restful Christmas and New Year break (when it comes!)

Louise Soutar
PSR Project Officer

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