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UK needs urgent working culture shock

Chieu Cao

Most UK employers are still offering a traditional working environment; entrenched management thinking that is increasingly at odds with the demands of a modern workplace culture. Contributor Chieu Cao, Co-Founder and CEO – Perkbox.

The study of 1600 UK-based companies across a diverse set of sectors measured a number of key metrics, from flexible working to rewards programmes, team bonding activity to the sharing of information, working environments to employee retention, the research highlighted the extent to which old school traditions still dictate management practices across UK PLC.

Among respondents, only 15 percent said they have a fun, creative working culture; only 17 percent considered theirs to be emerging new working cultures; 78 percent have no fun or breakout space, 49 percent offer no option to work from home, and 49 percent have no formal reward or recognition programme in place.

What is concerning is 69 percent said they still have a ‘traditional’ working culture, which might explain why 52 percent say the average time employees stay at their companies is between one and five years.

Says Chieu Cao, Co-Founder and CEO Perkbox, “The research tells me employers are struggling to understand the difference between traditional and younger employees, the dangers of a uniform culture and the need for a dynamic one. Demotivation, poor employee engagement, high absenteeism and low staff retention are all key factors behind the UK’s poor ranking in global productivity.

“Innovation is not as daunting as it sounds. It comes from creating autonomy in a collaborative environment, from motivating and rewarding initiative. That’s often all it takes to allow people’s individuality and authenticity to shine”.

All the evidence shows that companies that forsake time honoured management habits in favour of new thinking soon see results. Creativity and inspiration come from staff empowerment, transparency and constant communications, recognition and reward, autonomy and collaboration – vital ingredients in the modernising of the UK workplace.

Perkbox ran the survey in Sept 2017 with a set of demographically diverse employers to determine what workplace culture they really had. 1600+ participated. They used some of the best UK workplaces, as nominated in ‘Great places to work’ 2017 awards, amongst others, to profile how our respondents companies compared.

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