Latest | Organisational Culture Trends


The latest HR trends in organisational culture.

Case studies and news about how HR leaders at people-first brand are tackling today's workplace culture challenges.

Featuring tips and new best practice for improving communication, aligning people values with business success and transforming organisational culture.

Organisational Culture Trends

Published Monday 12th September

How Zurich is overhauling its graduate hiring process

The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown periods had huge impacts on many people but, in particular, it was incredibly tough for school leavers and university students.

In fact, data from Prospects found that 28.2% of university students had their job offer deferred or cancelled, while 26.1% had lost their work placement or internship.

One firm who has acknowledged these challenges, and is overhauling its graduate hiring process as a result, is the insurance firm Zurich UK.

The company has adapted its hiring process to ensure that job applicants aren’t penalised for having fewer life events to draw on in the assessment process.

As part of this, competency-based interviews have now been culled in favour of strength-based assessments. The firm will also be giving some applicants feedback to help with future job-seeking prospects.

Michelle Ransome, Head of Talent Acquisition at Zurich, said: “We really want to create a level playing field for all graduates to ensure we genuinely attract the best person for every role.

“Candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as recent graduates hit by lockdown, may not have had the same opportunities and life experiences as others,” she added. 

Published Wednesday 7th September

What are ‘microbreaks’ and could they help employee wellbeing?

At work it can be tempting to power through, giving little thought to taking breaks, in an attempt to tackle big-do lists.

However, new data from the University of Timisoara in Romania has found that taking short microbreaks throughout the day could help boost employee wellbeing and prevent burnout.

The researchers described microbreaks as dedicated time away from work (that lasts ten minutes or less) and the study found that “the longer the breaks, the better the performance”.

Following the news of this research, Alan Price, CEO of BrightHR, told HR Grapevine: “If staff members feel they don’t have enough time to recharge throughout the day, they are more likely to suffer burnout.

“So, introducing microbreaks can be an effective way to give teams a much-needed boost during working time, resulting in more creativity and enthusiasm.”

Published Tuesday 30th August

What makes an organisation a great place to work?

Have you ever wondered what employees think makes an organisation a top place to work? Is it having a good perks and benefits package? The ability to work flexibly? Or having a good team to work and collaborate with? There is no need to keep guessing because new statistics have shed light on this very thing.

New data from Ciphr revealed that ‘good people/ friendly employees’ was the top pick for two-fifths of survey respondents. A further third of respondents cited good pay and job security (35% and 34% respectively) which is perhaps unsurprising given the impact that the cost-of-living crisis is having on many households.

Commenting on the research, Claire Williams, Chief People Officer at Ciphr, said: “I don’t think any employer should underestimate the importance and impact that the relationships that employees have with their colleagues can have on individual and team performance, morale, productivity, and even retention.”

Published Thursday 25th August

6 in 10 staff find team-building days 'cringe' - here's how HR can change that

Team-building events have been a core part of strengthening employee relationships for years. Particularly after the Covid-19 pandemic (and the restrictions which limited in-person social interactions), many employers have been thinking about unique ways to re-establish these workplace connections in 2022.

However, a recent YouGov poll has revealed that some workers were less than keen on some of their most recent team-building days. In fact, 60% of people found their last workplace team-building experience embarrassing, with most admitting they’d rather be working.

Some of the worst experiences shared included ‘building a boat, which sank’, ‘feeding my boss chocolate while lying on the floor’ and ‘forming a conga line with everyone blindfolded’.

With this in mind, how can HR ensure that the next get-together is a hit instead of a miss? Easy Offices conducted research to determine the UK’s favourite team-building activities, with after work drinks (46%), connecting in office breakout rooms (30%) and team-building weekends (21%) among the list.

Published Friday, 19 August 2022

Why the ‘Crying CEO’ is hindering his workforce

There isn’t a corner of LinkedIn that hasn’t heard about Braden Wallake in recent days. His name, and his infamous crying selfie, have even travelled beyond LinkedIn’s echo chamber and found their way into global news outlets.

Wallake, the CEO of social media marketing agency Hyper Social, went viral last week for posting a photo of himself crying, alongside a post revealing that he had to lay off a number of staff after he scaled up his business too quickly.

However, whilst reactions have been mixed to the post, Kristin Dell’Orso, a trauma therapist, recently told HR Grapevine that the post is in-fact causing more harm than good.

“As a mental health professional, this post throws up a number of red flags for me. Accountability is great, it's crucial for any kind of growth and recovery.

“This, though, is not accountability, but rather emotional manipulation. The selfie is truly a next-level manipulation tactic. I see this sort of behaviour among abusive parents who want their children to pity them for the abuse they committed,” she added.

Is ‘mature’ talent an untapped group?

“Organisations are definitely more aware of older workers being an untapped and potentially overlooked talent pool,” recently noted Yvonne Smyth, Group Head of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Hays. “Organisations are definitely more aware of older workers being an untapped and potentially overlooked talent pool,” she added.

This has been brought into sharp focus since the pandemic; as the ONS reported, 77% of adults aged 50 to 59 said they left their job sooner than expected during the pandemic. The Insight Report by the ONS also revealed four in ten of the 50 and over workforce who left during the pandemic are now showing a willingness to return to work.”

“Older workers hold vital skills that they’ve built up over years of experience, such as resilience, work ethic and general business acumen,” added Mark Lester, Chief Partnerships Officer at digital skills start-up, FourthRev. “They are also able to serve as mentors, coaches, or subject area experts to assist ambitious younger employees, as well as applying their vast networks and contacts, which take time and experience to establish.”

Revolutionize Your Workplace: Download the 2024 Employee Experience Report

Revolutionize Your Workplace: Download the 2024 Employee Experience Report

Discover what’s shaping the workplace with Zendesk latest EX 2024 report.

Don't get left behind in employee experience. 80% agree EX needs improvement.

Find out what leading companies are doing differently and unlock the future of intelligent employee experiences.

You will learn:

  • How to navigate the future of intelligent employee experiences effectively

  • Prepare for the evolving workplace and learn the strategies to enhance business performance

  • Identify key challenges such maintaining team cohesion, and evaluating remote employee performance, and how to address these issues.

Show more
Show less

Will a ‘9 day fortnight’ be the new normal?

For employees working at CharlieHR – a company which offers HR advice and software to SMEs – they were able to alternate between a five and a four-day working week. The main aim of this trial was to see whether shaking up work patterns could benefit areas such as wellbeing and productivity.

The results of the trial, which operated between October 2021 and June 2022, appeared to be largely positive, with the firm shedding light on how this impacted several key areas of HR.

The company said it saw a 24% decrease in work-related stress across the company. If employees feel less stressed then this will likely have a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing. Combatting stress among employees should be a top priority for employers, particularly with estimates from the Labour Force Survey – cited in a HSE report – finding that in 2020/2021, stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 50% of all work-related ill health cases.

Published Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Could legal advice be part of your benefits package?

As employers and HR try to attract and retain top talent, companies are thinking outside the box as to how they can enhance benefits packages to suit the needs of employees. A recent example of this to hit headlines is offering legal advice to staff as a work benefit.

According to LinkedIn News, the French legal start-up Ekie is selling its services to employers, enabling staff to speak to lawyers about issues such as visas, tenancy issues and family law. Ekie’s Co-Founder, Raphaël Jabol, told Sifted: “Legal [advice] is a pillar of our society yet it’s still hard for everyone to access legal solutions.”

2019 research by the World Justice Project supports this, finding that less than one-third (29%) of people who have experienced a legal issue sought any form of advice to help them better understand or resolve their issue. The perceived cost of seeking legal advice could be part of what is putting people off. A fifth (21%) of people didn’t try to get help (for contentious or non/contentious issues) from a professional adviser because they assumed it would be too expensive, according to Legal Services Board.

Published Thursday, 2 August 2022

What is ‘quiet quitting’?

Every so often, new workplace terms or concepts come onto the scene, whether it's to describe new ways of working, management styles or the latest trends felt in the employment market.

The latest to hit headlines is the term 'quiet quitting'. But what does 'quiet quitting' actually mean? “You’re not outright quitting your job, but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond. You’re still performing your duties, but you’re no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality that work has to be your life – the reality is, it’s not,” TikToker Zkchillin explained in a recent video.

It is a trend that appears to have gained significant media attention in recent weeks and one that HR may want to keep a keen eye on. Cathy Acratupulo, Managing Director and Co-Founder at LACE Partners, explained: “Prevention could be as simple as ensuring line managers are speaking regularly with all of their team members, whether remote or in person.

“Additionally, there are many tools available to track engagement and seek real time feedback, as well as tools that can track outputs and productivity to highlight individual and team trends.”

Find Your Perfect Flexible Working Fit

Find Your Perfect Flexible Working Fit

Most employers consider flexible working to be the most important benefit they can offer their people.

However, according to SD Worx research into over 16,000 workers across Europe, only 45% of employees are satisfied with their work-life balance.

How far have your flexible working policies evolved since the pandemic forced that initial shift? How can HR managers align business expectations with the evolving needs of employees?

Explore 4 priority areas to focus on when shaping flexible work policies at your organisation.

In our interactive report, you’ll discover how to:

  • Extend your definition of flexibility

  • Overcome remote work challenges

  • Measure impact, not minutes worked

  • Consider new ways to streamline work

Show more
Show less

Published Thursday, 28th July 2022

How to support working parents in the summer holidays

Schools out for summer! While this is good news for the children who will have a lengthy break away from education, for working parents, or those with caring responsibilities, it can pose a bit of a headache. With this in mind, below you’ll find two examples of how HR could assist working parents.

It may sound simple but remote working can be an attractive offering for working parents or those that have childcare responsibilities as it takes away the hassle of lengthy commutes, and allows them to spend more time with their families.

Also, for many working parents, one of the biggest challenges with the summer holidays is childcare. Employers could help take away some of this stress by doing things such as having a nursery on the premises.

Published Tuesday, 19 July 2022

Frasers Group bans home working

Mike Ashley-owned Frasers Group has axed its home working policy after bosses claimed staff were being less productive when not in the office.

Multiple publications have reported that the retail group, which owns House of Fraser and Sports Direct, previously had in place a ‘Frasers Friday’ policy that allowed employees to work from home on the final day of the working week. However, the firm has now reportedly scrapped the initiative, which began in 2020 at the height of the move towards remote working, as a result of the pandemic. But Frasers’ COO David Al-Mudallal has now told staff that it has become “an unproductive day of the week”.

Al-Mudallal reportedly said in an internal memo that there were “too many examples of people or teams not being contactable when they need to be…and colleagues who via their social media profiles are demonstrating they’re not treating Friday as a working day”.