Article was written by Tamara Buckland, Head of People Experience at Sharesies
Last week, I took the Sharesies team through an Emotional Culture workshop to better understand what our team want to feel at work, so that we could learn together which feelings and experiences our success relies on. For this, we used the Emotional Culture deck, created by my friend and mentor Jeremy Dean. Check out the deck and more info about it here.
What exactly is emotional culture?
Emotional cultures are defined as the “shared affective values, norms, artefacts, and assumptions that govern which emotions people have and express at work and which ones they are better off suppressing.” The emotional culture of an organisation can affect engagement, satisfaction, stress, burnout, mental health, absenteeism and financial performance.
Why does emotional culture matter to us?
At Sharesies, we've worked really hard to build a culture of wellbeing and safety. How you feel when you come to work is a big part of this, and can often be the underlying source of how well you perform at work.
As an organisation, we’ve recognised that we have a role to play in building a culture where emotions are not only talked about openly but are used proactively to build our strategic vision and goals.
We used this session to understand more about what’s important to our people so that we can more accurately measure how we're all feeling at different points. This helps us to purposely shape and adjust things in our environment to keep us on the right track. For example, imagine that we know that feeling valued at work is important to our team, and we're able to measure how often they feel valued. As soon as we start hearing that peoples' experiences and feelings of being valued are dropping, we can work on that - take purposeful action to bring that value back up. We can also use this information when setting our goals for the year by connecting our emotional culture to new initiatives and connecting those initiatives to our strategic goals and vision.
What did the workshop entail?
As mentioned earlier, we used the Emotional Culture Deck to guide us through this workshop. We only had 2 hours together as a team so decided to follow a portion of the process which I think actually worked really well for us. We focused on answering the question 'Our success relies on us feeling...' to walk away with the top 5 feelings we want to experience while at work. We then brainstormed some corresponding behaviours and rituals that would enable us to achieve these 5 feelings.
We followed parts 1 & 2 of this workshop plan; I found the plan really easy to follow and adapt for our team as needed too. It flowed really easily, and surprisingly, it was pretty easy to come up with a consensus on our company-wide top 5 emotions that we want to feel at work. These are (for the moment):
These align really nicely with our values of 'Always Care', 'Chase Remarkable' and 'In it Together'. The outputs from this workshop will also help us understand how we’re living these values and make sure they’re actively guiding how we work at Sharesies.
Here are some pics of the team working together during the workshop:
Our next steps:
There are more parts to the journey of building more understanding of our emotional culture and we'll no doubt be revisiting these concepts as a company on a regular basis.
With the data we've come up with, my job is to now think about how it applies to our people experience strategy. The most exciting bit for me is to see how we can use this data to measure the engagement of the team too. I'll write another post once we start our journey and have more to share.
Overall, the team really loved the workshop and many of them told me how refreshing it was to talk about emotions openly with their colleagues.