SME Culture Leaders 2019: 5 minutes with Emperor

4 min read  |   4 October, 2019   By Kayleigh Scarratt

A group of eleven people celebrating from the company, Emperor.

Tracey Anderton Head of People and Culture

By launching a brand new company intranet, #7 SME Culture LeaderEmperor, found a way to connect all teams, boost engagement and inspire creativity by encouraging their people to share work, news and and celebrate each others’ achievements.

Head of People & Culture, Tracey Anderton, shares how Emperor have made their culture a vital part of their workplace.

What does Emperor provide?

Emperor is one of the UK's leading providers of strategic consultancy and creative communications to listed and private companies.

We specialise in reporting, sustainability, brand and employee engagement; and we’re experts in getting the most from integrated media and channels.

When were you first established?

In 1996 by Steve Kemp and Noel O’Connor. We are proud to remain privately owned and our Directors are still involved in the day-to-day running of the business.

How many people do you employ?

We now employ over 200 diverse, talented people across our six offices in London, Edinburgh, Bicester, Birmingham, Manchester and Dubai.

Why do you think company culture is so important?

Our company culture is a vital part of our workplace environment and ultimately the way our business performs as a whole. At Emperor, everyone has a shared responsibility to ensure that we live and breathe our culture.

Our CEO and Founder, Steve Kemp leads with thinking on culture, which means that company culture is a priority at every level.

How have your people benefited from your company’s culture?

Emperor’s company culture is central to everything that we do, from the way our people interact with each other, both in person on a daily basis and via email and phone to those in other offices.

Last year we launched a new intranet, Jostle, which is so much more than a central library for key documents - it's an area for people to share work, news and articles, and celebrate each others’ achievements.

We produce a quarterly printed internal newsletter, A Kilo of Squid (because penguins eat squid), serving to reaffirm and inform our 200+ employees about the exceptional work and activities that continually occur in and outside the office.

We’ve also introduced regular employee happiness surveys which we run on a weekly basis to answer questions, listen to feedback and address any issues. An annual in-depth survey is also conducted to measure employee wellbeing year-on-year.

A group of eleven people celebrating from the company, Emperor.

How has your business benefited from your focus on culture?

Our pledges, which are a series of ten commitments and promises we have defined and launched across the business has reinforced our people's understanding of how we behave and has formed a platform to build on in the future.

We have a team of pledge ambassadors across the company looking after each individual pledge who will drive activity and make sure our pledges are embedded in the day-to-day life at Emperor.

Our new intranet, Jostle, has proved to be an engaging means of interacting with each other. As more and more people are embracing it and proactively posting and sharing all kinds of activities, Jostle has become an online hub for the business, hugely improving internal communications and the way the different offices interact with each other.

What would you say to other business leaders who are rethinking their culture

Firstly, you have to understand your culture - the reality versus perception. So you need to be brave and look under the lid which means talking to people, reviewing the way things are done, how we communicate, our strategy and purpose as well as leadership and behaviours.

The second thing is to accept insights - whilst you might not like what you find, we have to be honest and accept what we're not doing as well as we'd like - whether that be looking after our people's wellbeing - mental, financial or client-focused, providing clear career paths or general meeting etiquette! Recognise the behaviours we want to champion, those we want to encourage more and those we want to stop.

Thirdly, create a meaningful plan for change - your culture should be a balance of being reflective of how you already work and think with an aspirational element that allows room for improvement. And more importantly, you need to ensure your culture supports the business strategy and purpose.

The fourth step is making sure the EVP and values are thoroughly embedded throughout everything you do in a consistent way - we need to bring this to life and integrate it in everything we do from interviewing, to holding reviews to how we operate.

Lastly, everyone's responsible. Every person plays a part in creating and championing the culture, so it’s important to create an environment and working practices that allow people to take responsibility and create change.

It's important to recognise that culture can change a business’ growth, which makes a common purpose key to unite people and galvanise behaviours.

If you could describe culture in one word, what would it be?


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Author: Kayleigh Scarratt

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