Katie Streeter-Hurle: How can employers create an engaging workplace culture?


Today’s employees have growing expectations of the organisation they work for. For ambitious organisations, engagement has got to be top of the agenda in order to attract the best talent and to retain them over time. So what does it take to create an engaging workplace culture in 2018?

Employers have to start with the vision. It is no secret that people are motivated by having a sense of purpose and direction in life. The same can be said about the workplace. A clear vision set out by leaders provides employees something to strive towards. At Shopper Media Group (SMG), it is hard to escape our vision, which is displayed on boards around each of our offices. For us, it has been important to tell our teams not just what we do, but why we do it; this is key to propelling everyone towards the same goals.

Secondly, employers need to live their values. Many employers are guilty of publishing their values on their website or in their employee handbook but not doing a whole lot more than that to embody them. We know that every SMG employee knows our four core values; stay honest, stay hungry, stay foolish, have fun. Why? Because we have them painted on our walls. We also reward people for bringing them to life each month with our programme of organisation awards, which are nominated by employees. Our values also play an increasingly large role in our recruitment and on-boarding processes; it is not enough to bring experience to the table, we want to find people who live our values too.

Next, employers should put people first. Looking after employee wellbeing is key. Putting simple initiatives in place can go a long way towards making employees feel valued and to show them the employer cares about how they are doing. It is the little things that count here, like providing a free breakfast at work to start the day right or having a constant supply of fruit in our offices. We also put on monthly subsidised socials that cater for all interests and we run a 4pm finish every Friday throughout the year.

Lastly, employers need to hear peoples’ voices. It is critical to listen to how teams are feeling and to understand what they want. We make sure that we do regular employee surveys to understand what we are getting right and where we need to do better. This helps us keep our finger on the pulse and respond to feedback regularly. We also run a programme called B3, which gives people the chance to contribute to projects that help us shape how things are done.

Whether it is our recruitment, our socials or how we give back to the community around us, we make sure we involve everyone in what we do.

Katie Streeter-Hurle is partnerships and campaign director at Shopper Media Group (SMG)