It is interesting to reflect that our instinctive way of getting to know potential employees and work placement students is to see how we get along with them and to also give them the opportunity to see how we like to play!

Tuesday was the Haywards Heath and District Business Association (HHDBA) networking event at Idlewild and as it was the Chair’s “Official” Birthday BBQ bash it seemed sensible to invite our prospective new employee and two potential students from the University of Sussex. Many members of our team were there too. It was great to also see our last Bright Young Thing (BYT), Eleanor Brough and catch up with her news.

So what better way for the Cullen Scholefield team to get to know the potential new people than at a social gathering!

To me, cultural fit is critical in any size of organisation. Getting to know potential people before the formal interview ensures that engagement begins before employment. Our potentials were also able to quiz our team, new Seb Hockaday – the present BYT; the great Rob Gordon – who started 3 years ago as an HHDBA intern and is now helping us to cover a post; the bubbly Gina Andrei – Centre Administrator; Vicki Taylor – my superb PA who tries to keep me grounded and Carol Bates – our People Director and my fabulous colleague for 28 years.

The recent Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2015 Leading in the new world of work comments on the fact that we are now living in a Glassdoor era, where everything an organisation does is immediately debated and potentially criticised. So I believe that there is a need for transparency and getting to know people helps this. Deloitte have called this “The naked organisation” and they make three key points:

  • In an era of heightened corporate transparency, great workforce mobility and severe skills shortages, culture, engagement and retention have emerged as top issues for business leaders.  These issues are not simply an HR problem.
  • Culture and engagement is the most important issue companies face around the world, 87% of organisations cite culture and engagement as one of their top challenges and 50% call the problem “very important.”
  • Organisations that create a culture defined by meaningful work, deep employee engagement, job and organisational fit and strong leadership are outperforming their peers and will likely beat their competition in attracting top talent.

The report goes on to outline what companies can start to do (see Page 39) and then finishes with a lovely statement.


The old adage “culture eats strategy for breakfast” applies to every organisation today. Business and HR executives must understand that highly engaged companies:

  • Attract the best talent
  • Have the lowest voluntary turnover rates
  • Are more profitable over the long run

Companies should use 2015 as a time for change. By focusing on driving engagement through the right corporate culture, companies can improve execution, retention and financial performance.

Source : Great Place to Work Institute, “What are the benefits? The ROI on workplace culture.

My key reflection on this is that our great people help me to keep Cullen Scholefield “Ahead of the Game in ’86 and still ahead now!”