One of my favourite parts of working at Rude Health is our Culture Club. It isn’t the high-minded arts group that it sounds like - rather it is where we decide as a group what we need to do, do more of, or change, in order to help keep us all feeling (and working) in rude health. You could describe it as the non-legal part of the HR function, which we don’t have in-house.
Last week we got the whole company together to vote on what we’d most like to add or change. It started with a no-holds-barred brainstorm, and the ideas ranged from flexi-time, through to pet days, to more training, and the opening of a café in the Netherlands. I don’t think anyone was expecting the runaway winner to be ‘a new carpet’.
There is no question that the carpet needs changing, and we are now on the case (the Dutch team think we’re mad in an entirely British way to choose carpet over laminate. They may have a point).
But what was fascinating about this, for me at least, was that I had no idea how many people wanted it to be sorted out - and I probably would never have known if we hadn’t got everyone together in the same room to talk about change.
It’s so easy to ask specific questions, or to be so pre-occupied getting on with business that you don’t ask any questions at all, but you miss out on so much when you don’t ask. I realise that a replacement carpet isn’t going to change our lives or the business in a massive way, but it’s a simple example of a widely shared desire that each person who brought it up thought was a personal issue, and would never have been brought up. And it’s easy to change.
Because the carpet is a one-off fix, we are looking at the second-most popular option too, which was flexi-time. This was much more the sort of thing we had in mind when we set the meeting up. It might take a little longer to clarify and organise than the carpet, but now we know how much it matters to the whole team, we know it’s worth putting in the time to work through the details, and finding a way of working that everyone will find more satisfying.
In the meantime, our big job is to reach a consensus on what colour the carpet should be. Any suggestions?