At hfi we are only as good as the clients we serve, and we wouldn’t have continued growth without repeated success in building relationships with our clients. Our services go beyond one-time projects. Our focus is on long term partnerships working closely with our clients to ensure their business success. Over the past 19 years we have formed a long term, meaningful business relationship with Reed & Mackay Travel Ltd, a travel management company, and have captured their organizational culture for over a decade.
Throughout this time, the long term focus has been on the organization’s culture and hfi have enabled Reed & Mackay to implement culture development by capturing both the opinions and perspectives of the senior leadership team and those of the Reed & Mackay employees. This strategic culture survey review used repeat administrations of the hfi Culture Values Questionnaire (CVQ) and Organizational Values Questionnaire (OCQ) alongside a behavioral review of the Reed & Mackay values to enable them to manage and implement successful culture development.
The culture survey has often been the foundation for other important business development activities and as Reed and Mackay grew, it was the right time for them to review their core values in order to redefine, re-energize and support their business for long-term growth. As part of this recent work with Reed & Mackay, hfi facilitated a culture review with the senior leadership team on what they felt were the core values Reed & Mackay needed both now and in the future. The outcome was a set of values they call “the magic”; the attitudes and behaviors that are integral to their success. This piece of work resulted in hfi recommending an integrated culture development approach including the Cultural Ambassadors Program; whereby employees were interviewed, selected and appointed to promote the values across the organization. This was to ensure that the growing population of office based employees, homeworkers and off-site staff, were all aware and supportive of the values and the culture.
The Cultural Ambassadors role, alongside promoting the values and supporting culture development, was also to focus on the improvement areas highlighted by the OCQ results to support and facilitate the change management process. hfi look back over 19 years of collaboration with Reed & Mackay and how this collaboration has created the magic in their success with HR Director, Victoria O’Rourke.
VO: We have been carrying out a culture survey for a number of years now and have a long standing relationship of over 19 years with hfi. I don’t believe there are many businesses out there that have measured Culture, against the same criteria for so long. Reed & Mackay is renowned for its unique culture. This culture is the backbone of the company; it runs through the heart of the business and is what sets us apart. Everyone within the business wants to protect our culture as we grow and are therefore very engaged with the introduction of 20 Cultural Ambassadors across the business.
Our employees are hugely passionate about this subject and want to ensure it is looked after and is continuously improved. When you have 400 staff, there’s absolutely no way you can keep a good check on the culture unless you’re inviting everybody’s views. That’s obviously what the hfi culture survey helps us do and it’s been an absolute pleasure working with them on this. Our clients also feel this culture through our high levels of service and the buzz they experience when they visit our offices. They say it’s what makes us stand out, so it’s really important for the continued growth and success of the business. It is imperative that we continue to measure it and never allow ourselves to become complacent!
VO: Following our survey in 2010, a lot of change took place in the business. To give a few examples – a head office relocation, considerable growth in staff numbers, additional external sites – all significant enough to potentially impact culture. We carried out the next survey across the business in 2014 and the results in general were still very positive, with the majority of categories being rated Excellent or Good. We did see a couple of components drop when compared to the previous survey results which highlighted that when a business experiences growth you need to focus even more on your culture. It is also a crucial part of the process to share the results and outcomes with your entire workforce, which we did during our annual company conference.
VO: Whilst reviewing the culture of the business we also included a review of the company values. hfi took us through the comprehensive culture survey results in detail looking at comparative data across the different surveys and different years. It’s always very interesting to see what the results will reveal. hfi enabled us to review our values and to redefine them for what they stand for today and for the future. This piece of work led us to the decision that having Cultural Ambassadors within the business would be very beneficial – an ongoing program that was completely dedicated to our culture. We worked closely with hfi, who helped walk us through the process of setting up the program. Upon communicating the new roles, lots of people came forward with interest in this program, and through an interview process we narrowed it down to 20 Ambassadors. It was great to hear how passionate those individuals were about the business and how much they wanted to protect the culture. hfi suggested introducing Ambassadors at this stage due to the business having reached a significant size. We had grown and spread out between the main office, with additional office locations and a comprehensive homeworking network. As you grow, it’s very difficult to drive culture just from a leadership team and we felt it was the right time to share this across the business and empower our passionate employees.
VO: We had a project plan developed by myself, Julia Assock, our Head of Learning & Development, and hfi that outlined the process and the steps we needed to take. They helped us to build the job roles and responsibilities for the Ambassadors. We came up with our own questions for the selection process but hfi guided us in terms of what we needed to get out of the actual interview. Once we had selected our 20 Ambassadors, hfi put together a two-day workshop for them that was tailored to help them understand their role as an Ambassador for the company. Both workshops were really well received and provided us with an excellent foundation for the implementation phase.
VO: Each and every one of the Ambassadors really engaged well with hfi. I think this was partly due to their ability to make the group feel relaxed and at ease during the full day workshop. hfi was very supportive and interactive throughout that process. In business you’re given a proposal about what a program looks like but actually then putting it into practice and getting it going is very different. hfi supported us along the way in terms of making it come to life.
VO: The Ambassadors have been assigned 6 projects over an 18 month period, and we will be utilizing that time to implement all of the changes that arise from their findings. They will be supported by 6 Sponsors, all members of the Leadership team. hfi are there to support us as we need it but they recognize the importance of driving the culture change from within the business itself. The next time we do the culture survey, which is planned for the summer of 2017, we will hopefully see a positive impact on some of those scores that were a little behind this time. That’s the main objective.
VO: We were able to build on our long term relationship with hfi and, working closely with Hazel McLaughlin, MD Europe and the hfi team, we were able to avoid the traditional route and to engage in a new tailored process. We were able to build on our passion about our culture and to supplement our thinking with a structured, robust and recognizable culture program which is highly visible across the Reed & Mackay business. We are already seeing the results of the first culture based project and have strong engagement to the development process. As one of our cultural Ambassadors said; “this is the best thing I have ever been closely involved in at Reed & Mackay.” We intend to build upon this success and to carry this forward to enhance our business growth strategy.