Monday 25th April 2022

Fostering a Positive and Empowering Culture

How Karbon Homes has fostered a positive and empowering culture over the last two years...

Fostering a positive and empowering culture

By Iain Herdman - Karbon Homes


It is undeniable that COVID has completely changed how organisations operate and how colleagues work. While some crave returning to theworkplace, others have discovered their preferred way of working, and this shift has led to organisations seeing a significant change in their culture.

Colleagues want a workplace culture that empowers them, supports them and helps them flex around their personal needs and circumstances. Iain Herdman, Assistant Director of People and Organisational Development at Karbon Homes, shares how Karbon has fostered a positive and empowering culture over the last two years. 

“Culture is all encompassing, it’s who we are, what we stand for and the way we work."

Whether visiting a customer, picking up the phone, carrying out a repair or attending a meeting, a positive culture plays a part in our success, and that’s because colleagues who are engaged and supported perform the best. 

If the last two years have taught us anything it’s that culture is ever changing and it’s crucial to plan for change but also to be agile enough to adapt to the unexpected.  

Being ready to adapt to operational changes, use new technologies and find new ways of working in very challenging circumstances are all important.

However, it’s the time and hard work invested in people, creating conditions which encourage colleagues to perform at their best, which really makes the difference. 

There’s no better way to empower colleagues than to take them on the journey with you and show them just how much you value their perspective. 

Empowerment within an organisation can have so many benefits. It can instil greater trust in leadership, improve employee motivation, lead to greater creativity and improve employee retention, all of which ultimately produce better services for customers and better results for the organisation. 

At Karbon, we’ve empowered colleagues by putting their voice and involvement front and centre in developing our approach to what we’re doing and how we’re doing it.

This has enabled us to not only create and articulate a clear vision of what we want to achieve as an organisation but ensure colleagues are clear on the role they play and embed a common purpose that all colleagues can get behind.

We also recognise the important role of our leaders in creating the conditions needed for a positive culture. 

We developed an adaptive leadership programme, which provides self-awareness, core skills and knowledge to help leaders support their teams through change and strengthen cross-team collaborative working. 

So how do we know it’s working? At a challenging time for employers, our resignations-based turnover sits at around 7%. 

In the past three years our Employer Net promoter Score (measure of employee engagement) has increased from -9 to +27 with scores for advocacy, loyalty and pride (and all engagement questions) all increasing over the same period. 

As well as the internal validation, our adaptive leader programme was recognised by the CIPD, which awarded the programme best organisational development initiative at its national awards last year. 

Karbon is currently in a good place culturally but creating a positive culture which supports every colleague to bring and be their best at work rests with everyone and we can and want to do more.

We’ve recently concluded work with colleagues looking at a range of areas including wellbeing, communications, equality, diversity and inclusion, and customer services and we’ve used this data to develop a colleague engagement plan to guide our cultural work going forward.

Karbon Homes was proud to be sponsor at the WISH North East’s #CultureClub event. This took place at the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough on 26 May. The event focused on the WISHlist priority ‘Be Heard and Understood’ and covers all things culture.

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