27 September 2022

Getting company culture right – the toughest job, the most valuable asset!

Getting company culture right with Juliet Forster

Leadership open door policy? We have a no-door policy!


In our latest blog, Blue Zinc IT's People and Culture Manager Juliet Forster tells us why you can never take the Belfast out of Blue Zinc – its friendliness is part of our DNA and underpins our open and non-hierarchical culture.


Anybody from an HR background (or indeed any management background) will tell you that one of the most challenging things to manipulate and get right in a company is culture: want to sell more units in the south-east of England? then direct staff specifically to that task; need to upskill a team? then send members on a course. However, want to ensure there is a culture of openness and honesty within a business? That's a more subtle and difficult task that involves both leadership and buy-in from everybody across the company, whether a 20-year veteran or a new hire, from a senior team leader to a junior member of staff.


Of course, I would say this (being in charge of HR at Blue Zinc) but I think we have an amazing company culture in our business. We're very much of our home city of Belfast – we place a great deal of value on being friendly, of helping each other out and being respectful, but we are also very innovative and hard-working. This is not all down to any one individual or group of individuals – it's down to the entire team and the way we work together.


As you may know we have just entered into a merger with the ClearCourse group of companies. I can't help but think that one of the key factors that attracted them to us, on top of our fantastic technology and leading position as a provider of solutions to the health and well-being sector, was the quality of the culture in the business. Indeed, we were visited by Managing Director John Antunes, Director of Brand Strategy Dan Barber and Chief People Officer Julie Gordon a couple of weeks back and they all commented on the friendly, collegiate and non-hierarchical way in which we work. That's really important to us because we want to be one of the leading employers both locally and in our sector, a place where people seek us out for a job and a career.


And our research seems to back this up. We undertake a staff survey twice a year and the results continually come back that company culture is one of the leading reasons why people want to work for us. We had a company day out only last Friday at the MAC in Belfast — a famous local venue — where we exchanged thoughts on the merger, and we were able to reassure our people that the only changes in our workplace would be for the positive. In fact, there are real positives from an HR and cultural point of view in being part of a larger group, and we hope to be able to offer a much wider scope of educational and personal development opportunities for our colleagues.


On top of all the workshops and socialising, one thing happened that day that seemed to sum up our business and the way we approach each other. In an exchange between staff and Kyle, one of our founders, somebody commented on the “open door” policy that management have always had with everyone. "Open door policy?", Kyle quipped. "We've got a no door policy! I work on the shopfloor just like you guys!"


About Juliet Forster. People & Culture Manager at Blue Zinc

I'm an experienced human resources manager with a wealth of expertise in managing people and talent within the IT sector. I believe that skilled HR is vital for getting the most out of people and in creating a fun, inclusive and productive environment.


Connect with Juliet Forster on LinkedIn

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