Deserving of a Seat at the Culture Table
Some people hear the words “human resources” and run for the hills. Known for being the top cops of the business world, employees see red tape and a long list of things NOT to do. The Human Resources department is made up of more than just rule-setters, however, and their insights are impactful. If you want a keen eye and experienced opinion on how to steer a ship towards a healthy culture, we suggest giving HR a seat at the table.
Alan Tecktiel, Global HR Director at Baker & McKenzie, is no stranger to the complexities that go into balancing employees, leaders and clients. Baker—known for being a progressive, client-forward company—refuses to embrace a dog eat dog environment, instead shifting their focus to clients first and always.
“If the client is at the forefront, you’ll never fail. It solves a lot of problems when we know what our focus is; from department to department the end goal is the same. It allows our teams to be consistent, following a roadmap that all leads back to superior customer satisfaction.”
We’ve all heard the stereotypes surrounding millennials: selfish, flaky and entitled. Yet, similar to my opinions on the matter, Tecktiel sees a different side to them, “I find millennials to be bolder—in a good way—than previous generations. They are “digital natives” meaning that they’ve grown up with technology, so their grasp is stronger on the potentials of it. Additionally, millennials tend be ‘big idea’ people—where some feel they’re overstepping, I find that they possess a courage to speak up.”
Another major takeaway from Tecktiel’s experience—including over a decade working for the global fast food operation, McDonald’s—is that you can’t turn a weakness into a strength, “You can neutralize weaknesses, but you’ll never change them entirely; the real goal is to highlight an employee’s strengths. Performance discussions should be less about what isn’t going right and more about their top three strengths and posing the question, ‘How do we expand on these?’”
Finally, for companies that are truly in the hunt for enviable organizational culture, there has to be a “big picture” understanding from the top down. Especially with the current workforce—where money is no longer the key decision maker, companies are recognizing the value of offering well-rounded experiences and opportunities that benefit both parties.
“I think that the companies that truly get it focus their time and energy on maximizing the potential of their employees, bringing everyone to the table, providing experiences and training that benefit not only the company but the employees, as well. At the end of the day, people want to have a feeling of moving forward rather than being stagnant—and the companies that understand that will invest in those things.”
Kevin Bugielski is the Marketing Manager for Victory Lap, a purpose-driven startup changing the sales game. Avid Snapchatter, SoulCycle lover, newfound runner, but ultimately, a foodie.