The Culture Ops Podcast
Every business has a culture that affects how it performs. Culture isn’t optional. How you deal with the day-to-day people challenges in the workplace has a massive effect on that culture. Building a great culture is difficult. So we’re bringing together founders, CEOs, COOs, Heads of People & Heads of HR to share their honest experiences, their struggles and their learnings. At the end of each episode, you will have something to take away and implement with your team.
What it felt like to fire a whole team with Kelsey Traher
February 12, 2020 • 28 MIN
Kelsey, the COO at Marvel, had to fire their entire outbound sales team. Having read a book that many in the tech startup/scale-up world take as a roadmap to success, they made the decision to take what seemed like the best next step for the growth of Marvel - hiring a strong outbound sales team. Their culture grew with their team size so much so that when the conclusion was drawn that the outbound sales team didn’t make sense for their business, firing the entire team was also a blow to the company culture that had flourished. We get into the emotions that lay behind every decision along that journey, and how Kelsey found a way to make rectify their mistake in the kindest way possible, and rethink their hiring process and planning.
We f*cked up and hired someone too junior.
February 18, 2020 • 30 MIN
In 2019 we hired Jack into a position that had too few resources to support and help him grow. He was a strong grad, and a strong culture fit - so it was rough when we had to let him go because we’d made a hiring mistake. In this episode, we cover the effect it had on him, and what it meant for his career and confidence.
How to build a high performance culture - without perks.
February 24, 2020 • 33 MIN
Jess Ruben had to develop a high performance culture. As a part of that, she decided to roll back a load of perks at JudoPay. When she took on the role, she made the decision to retract their unlimited holiday, £1000/year tax-free travel budgets and Sanctus subscriptions. It was a bold move in a bid to genuinely improve employee experience, motivation and performance. In this episode, we discuss why Jess felt the need to role back those heavy-hitting perks, what she introduced, what the effects were and how she felt at each stage of the process.
Performance reviews are changing - here’s how to get them right.
March 3, 2020 • 33 MIN
Performance reviews can be employee-led or company-centric - but which will enable people to perform? Ginni Lisk, People and Culture Partner at Unleashed, goes over how you can build productive performance reviews through conversations and respecting psychological contracts. This is how to get performance reviews right.
Culture - The good, the bad and the ugly.
March 10, 2020 • 32 MIN
Eliza Eddison, previously of Palantir Technologies, shares her experiences of the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to high-performance company culture. The culture at work can be hard to shape. As a leader, it’s your job to plan ahead for challenges that may come up against your convictions and may be detrimental to your business and people. How do you, and just how important, is building a high-performance team that also benefits from a positive, supportive work culture?
How to adapt your leadership style in a time of crisis.
March 24, 2020 • 37 MIN
It’s hard to get remote working right - in a way that supports your business, and your team wherever they may be. Leadership styles in times of crisis can be instrumental in making remote businesses work. We speak to Perri Lewis, the CEO of Mastered, about how leaders can step up and give their teams what they need without over complicating things, from afar.
How to look after your team's morale, when we're all struggling.
March 27, 2020 • 34 MIN
We speak with Sam Clarke, the founder of happiness consultancy Samanthaand.co about how you can prevent morale from sliding when social distancing is weighing heavily on everyone’s mind. This is how you support and elevate your team to be happy and continue to be productive in a measurable and sustainable way.
How to nurture a remote culture.
April 7, 2020 • 37 MIN
Now that the vast majority of small businesses are officially working from home, different lifestyles, communication styles and work elements can lead to serious negative impacts on work culture, productivity and mental health. We talk to Nick Matthews, the VP and General Manager of Culture Amp to find out how small business leaders can create a positive and sustainable remote working culture.
How to tackle furloughing the right way.
April 21, 2020 • 36 MIN
For the health and survival of many small businesses, furloughing staff is necessary in these turbulent times. But how do you minimise the number of jobs lost, accurately calculate the cost and practicality of your minimum ‘skeleton team’ to keep the business going while taking the best possible care of both your team and company? We talk to Lewis Tasker, COO of JustPark about how to get furloughing right.
Should you be prioritising team development during COVID-19?
April 28, 2020 • 30 MIN
How do you look at the context of the business, the individual and the situation to decide where your focus should lie right now? Whether honing in on personal development is not just the right thing to drive for with the individual, but for overall business health? We speak to Tom Marsden the CEO of Saberr to dig into a question we’ve been receiving over and over again since our working lives changed. Is now the right time to be focussing on your team's development?
How small businesses will survive and thrive after COVID-19
May 5, 2020 • 38 MIN
How can small business leaders overcome the shock their companies and teams are suffering during this pandemic - and think about how to develop strong teams and cultures in the long-term that will get us through the short term? We speak to Charlotte Hamill the COO of Born Social about how she’s thinking about what comes next, what policies and processes we need to be thinking about in a post-COVID world and acting on the fact that our teams need our support now more than ever.
How to support the mental and emotional wellbeing of your team during COVID-19
May 12, 2020 • 31 MIN
How can small business leaders lookout for the emotional and mental wellbeing of their teams remotely and during this period of increased stress and tension? We talk to Robert Rees, Director of The Grove Practice, an accredited psychotherapist, about mental health and its role in the COVID-10 pandemic, and how to deal with your own and support that of your teams.
How Bulb built an agile culture that took them from the office to remote work.
May 28, 2020 • 33 MIN
How do you define an agile culture that runs through every team at your company and prepares you for quick, dynamic shifts? Most teams and businesses have faced a dramatic shift in working styles - and the implications big and small, business and personal, are wide-ranging. We speak to Tom Fraine the Chief People Officer at Bulb about how they managed to shift their 750 person team from being in the office every day, to being fully remote overnight with the help of an agile culture.
Getting communication right and aligning your business when remote working.
June 4, 2020 • 36 MIN
The vital factor to making a culture of autonomy and trust work, is communication. Now that many teams are remote, aligning everyone and nailing that seamless communication is both key and difficult to productivity and maintaining that culture of trust. We speak to Sarah Mourtada Sich, the Head of Marketing at Work.Life about how they’re maintaining clear, open, productive communication with their team through these remote-working times.
Should businesses be responsible for employee financial wellbeing?
June 15, 2020 • 29 MIN
In the age of mass furlough, many staff members have had to absorb a 20% reduction in their pay. These tough decisions may have helped businesses stay afloat, but there are also ways your company can help your employees - furloughed or not, weather the storm. We spoke to Grace Tolley-Smith, co-founder and CPO at Bippit, about how and why businesses should think about their employees' financial wellbeing
The role of therapy in the workplace
June 22, 2020 • 34 MIN
Therapy can be a means to improving employee wellness, and therefore business health - which begs the question - should workplaces be looking to provide therapy for their employees? We speak to Philippa Richardson, the Founder of The Circle Line, about how and why businesses should consider therapy for all employees an essential part of their wellness and business plans.
Is the team you needed in the past, the team you’ll need for the future?
July 1, 2020 • 31 MIN
A company without a successful team can never become a successful company. So how can you build a team that operates as a growth engine for the new, future-looking ways of work and avoid creating a bottleneck that inhibits progress moving forward? We speak to Charlotte Melkert, Co-Founder and CEO at Equalture about how you can optimise your team for the new ways of work through assessing skills, personalities and reactive responses.
How to hire for the future, remotely.
July 8, 2020 • 30 MIN
COVID-19 has not only changed hiring and growth at present, it has arguably also changed the future of team-makeup hiring. Following on from our discussion last week about how the demands on your team makeup are changing - we speak to Phillip Blaydes, the Founder and Co-CEO of Talentful about how to build that team you’ll need, remotely and fairly.
How to run probation periods fairly and productively.
July 22, 2020 • 38 MIN
The most important element of a new hire’s probation period is communicating correctly. How do you set expectations, measure success and utilise two-way feedback in a way that is most beneficial to your new hire and your business? We speak to Chris Edson, the CEO and Co-Founder of Second Nature and a Forbes 30 under 30, about how they have improved the way in which they use and approach probation periods for fair employee and business growth.
On remote working; don’t give up your office just yet.
July 30, 2020 • 36 MIN
The environment in which our teams work has a huge impact on productivity, motivation and business success. Many companies have been taking their teams fully remote, but that may not be the best choice for all. We speak to Tushar Agarwal the CEO and Co-Founder of Hubble and Forbes 30 under 30, about why the office isn’t dead, and how teams and businesses might benefit still from a physical presence of their teams at work.
How to enable your team to bring their emotions to the workplace.
August 6, 2020 • 33 MIN
Bringing your full self to work is in our opinion both difficult and important. Building a culture of openness and support can help your team feel safe, and achieve those ‘productivity gains’ in the healthiest way possible. Because no one can be a ‘good, productive employee’ 100% of the time. We speak to Carolyn Stransky, a software developer, journalist and advocate of mental health in the workplace, about her experiences as an employee and how businesses can do better and support the emotional wellbeing of their teams.
How to use one-to-ones to improve your culture, remotely.
August 20, 2020 • 36 MIN
The effects of a good one-to-one on your culture and personal relationships at work can be enormous. But in the current work climate of high-intensity, remote work, it’s even harder and more important to do them well. We speak to Phill Burton, the COO of Bloom & Wild about how one-to-ones have worked for them in a remote setting and strengthened their team and business.
How to get your company talking about their mental health.
September 3, 2020 • 37 MIN
How can you encourage and equip your team leaders to have supportive, constructive conversations with their teams about their mental health? It’s impossible to leave your mental health at the door every morning, so it’s vital that companies do more to support and talk about it. We speak to James Routledge the founder and CEO of Sanctus, a company on a mission to open up the conversation around mental health at work about how you can do that.
How to build a culture that is both professional and allows people to be themselves.
September 10, 2020 • 34 MIN
It can be difficult and seemingly impossible to build a culture that is professional and tuned in, but also open to quirks and people enjoying their days at work. One that is both focussed on business success but also gives room for real relationships to form and for people to have fun with their colleagues. We speak to Angela Bradbury the Chief of Staff at Farewill about how they’ve found that balance and nurtured it in their team, even though they’re in the business of death.
We were wrong about culture fit, we should be hiring for values fit.
October 1, 2020 • 30 MIN
We thought the key to building strong culture through hiring was screening for culture fit. Turns out, we were wrong - it’s a value fit that will be the greatest asset to your team and business. We speak to Bretton Putter, author and CEO of CultureGene, about how and why companies should be screening for values fit when hiring - and how to define, embed and manage your culture.