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Simplify

Simplify

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Featured article: Modern Law Magazine

Simplify’s CEO David Grossman answers the question…A lot of organisations are focusing on enhancing their workplace culture, where do you suggest companies start? Has the pandemic altered/affected your strategy for this?

In an environment where huge numbers of colleagues are now working from home, it’s never been more important to focus on workplace culture. Bringing together diverse businesses into a larger group means it’s truer still.  Simplify is the UK’s largest conveyancing and property services group and, although our origins carry a rich and varied history, as a combined group, formed in 2019, we have been building our workplace culture during the pandemic and have learned some valuable lessons along the way.

It’s important to start by developing a clear view of why the organisation exists and identifying the ambition and values that unite the people within it. To get traction, the ambition of the business needs to resonate with the widest possible group of colleagues and that means it needs to emerge from that group rather than be imposed on it.

‘Pre COVID’, large meetings and post-it notes were the typical route used to gather insight from colleagues, but with the majority working from home during the pandemic, businesses have needed to get more creative.

By combining Zoom meetings with dynamic polling tools like Slido and good pre & post session communications it’s certainly possible to get high levels of engagement and create sessions that are every bit as interactive as traditional ‘away days’. Remote sessions mean the investment in time is less so it’s also possible to engage more people, more quickly. Through one recent process, Simplify was able to gather the in-depth views of over 1,000 colleagues through 20+ online meetings and, by supplementing this with interviews with customers and introducers of business (such as Estate Agents), we found the common themes and the unifying ambition that will underpin our workplace culture.

 

But defining the ambition and values of the business is just the first step in enhancing a workplace culture; the real work comes in ensuring that these elements flow through everything else you do. For us that means that our ambition to “simplify moving” drives decision making in all aspects of how we run the business and that we work hard to ‘inspire’, ‘innovate’ & ‘care’ in everything we do because these are the values that shape behaviour and activity across the group.  

We have already changed our practices to ensure our people can continue to work and balance their family commitments, either from home with complete IT support or in an office managed to mitigate COVID-risk. We have developed wellbeing programmes, encouraged time away from screens, send regular treats through the post and have fun competitions to keep people smiling. Like all cultures, we expect ours to develop over time but it seems that the legacy of the pandemic on workplace culture could be surprisingly positive.