Tuesday this week saw me delivering some mini coaching training sessions. The organisation was Freebridge, a housing association, not necessarily an industry associated with the most innovative thinking. However over the course of the day a wonderful narrative emerged.
The way the day was organised saw half the company attend in the morning & half in the afternoon with a joint lunch bridging the gap. The other part of the bridge was a small awards ceremony where some high performing staff were recognised for their work and how they had reflected the organisational values in their actions. What was so nice in the ceremony was the very specific nature of the feedback, quotes from tenants, examples from colleagues as to how each staff member had embodied these values. The whole room was quick to applaud others and there seemed to be universal agreement about the staff members abilities. It was light hearted too, some banter here and there, not sterile at all, (one of the staff even jokily curtseying to the CEO). The whole event seemed effortless.
Except obviously it wasn’t effortless – only a year ago there had been a different event, with hard messages for the management team. Some of them about reward but also a lot about recognition. About what it was like to work for this organisation and what needed to change. Most senior teams struggle with that sort of direct feedback but Freebridge took it on the chin. I heard reference to how any member of staff could request to meet with the CEO or his deputy under an “open door” policy and how all levels of staff could attend informal lunches with the top team. I know from my own work with them how they are enabling a coaching culture which is opening up across all levels of the organisation, not just for managers. These and other initiatives truly inspired me but you know what really blew me away? It was a couple of statistics from their staff survey.
93% of respondents said they were proud of the organisation.
96% of respondents said they like the job they do.
Now whilst I accept that statistics can be interpreted (& this was on a 50% response rate) my non scientific appraisal of the groups I worked with came to a similar view. Thats a pretty big turn around from the year before. Of course it could all change back but honestly having met these people I can’t see that they’d allow it to slip. These guys and girls are applying both heart and soul to their work, things we often leave at home.
This week my call to action is a simple question but a tough ask – what could you do to help make your organisation a place where all the people are proud and like the work they do?