Rod Carr

CIO
Inclusive teamwork
Communication, explanation and being willing to be open about what you need, not just from the company but also from your colleagues, is really important.
Rod Carr

Corporate cultures develop over a long period of time and are often accepted as the norm by the management, employees and individuals joining the organisation.

It takes time and effort to change working practices and setting the tone from the top is crucial. The rewards of creating an environment where employees can be themselves, be happy, and feel included are substantial.

Studies have shown evidence of improved productivity, lower attrition and sickness levels, and therefore lower recruitment costs.

Whilst in his most recent role, Rod developed a highly creative environment where teams were encouraged to create their own way of working, selecting the mobile app projects they wanted to work on and when and where they worked.

The end result was cutting edge products and a motivated team, fully able to communicate whether in the office, at home, on the move, or in different countries.

To create a successful team, Rod focused on three main areas - recruitment, retention and engagement.

Recruitment – Recruiting IT staff has traditionally been based on educational background, skills and output rather than the individual. Rod focussed on the person, which led to more interesting interviews and enabled him to identify some real stars.

His selection process today now includes blind CVs (with names removed to avoid unconscious bias), with a summary and output paragraph.

This has really changed the kind of individuals who are shortlisted and who ultimately get the job. To do this effectively, it is important to identify different channels and partners who are also committed to shifting the dial.

Retention – A difficult one to master in a large organisation. The key to success is to examine the heart of any policy and make it work for the people, rather than make them adhere to a policy which feels imposed.

Develop polices which have room to flex and breathe with people as their circumstances change – people often leave when they just can’t make the system work for them.

Transparent and clear communication is also essential, so that employees know what is on offer rather than what they perceive it to be, as the reality can often be quite different.

Engagement – By improving the quality of relationships between line managers and their teams and encouraging openness and honesty about what people need to balance their lives, Rod was able to develop a totally flexible working environment.

This approach copes well with unexpected life events or changes to work hours.

Combining this with engaging work projects has led to a highly motivated workforce.

Rod’s advice

  • Be realistic in your expectations – changing anything cultural is a three to five year mission – plan reasonably and fully accept it will take time
  • Don’t be afraid of doing things one at a time – each change is huge and needs time to develop
  • Be relaxed about it – it’s very easy to get wound up by so many things, but really this is just another aspect of people interacting with people and open, truthful communication is key. People are very good at reading sub text into communications that really isn’t there – establish the reality

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