Mary Nowell
Mary Nowell
Managing Director: Private Practice

Articles From the Team

Concentrate on Culture

The more clients and candidates I meet the more I know that workplace culture is high on the agenda for both parties. Clients are striving to find ways to create identify, reflect personality and ultimately create enjoyable working conditions that keep retention rates and productivity high. Candidates want to work in an organisation in which they feel belonging, connection and engagement. As the market becomes more competitive organisations must begin to create an ‘identity’ and as such a unique culture (and by definition selling point).

So what is this allusive culture? “Culture is made up of the values, beliefs, underlying assumptions, attitudes, and behaviours shared by a group of people. Culture is the behaviour that results when a group arrives at a set of - generally unspoken and unwritten - rules for working together”. So what is that in practice? It’s the physical environment from a break out area to an open plan work space, it’s the values that employees share and deploy in all of their working practices (and life!), the opportunities for self promotion and self development, its sharing (and celebrating) the wins and the losses. It’s a million small things; formality, open door policies, the etiquette at social occasions, and sometimes just saying hello in the morning. It’s the things that employers can do cost free to define their business and create a place where employees want to be.

So why is getting culture right so important? I think its crucial to growth, productivity (we all know about the UK productivity gap) and staff retention. We at BCL Legal are very familiar with the reasons that people cite when they decide to move on and some of this could be rectified if cultural identity was addressed. Lets be honest, the reality is that each and every job searcher will share one common goal – the desire to be happy in work. Happy for most means included, surrounded by like minded souls, a sense of belonging and common purpose and ultimately to feel valued. Five years ago I left BCL Legal and experienced what it was like to feel I that I didn’t fit into a workplace culture, returning over four years’ ago was like coming home. Of course that’s not to say that BCL Legal is right for everyone or perfect by any stretch, but it is right for me.

My message is; if you’re a job seeker concentrate on finding that cultural match and put that at the forefront of your search. Be honest with yourself about what drives you and ultimately what makes you happy. As an employer remember that well known African proverb, "If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.".

For more information contact Mary Nowell at BCL Legal.

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