24th Jul 2023
3 Min Read

Pioneering culture. An interview with HRZone's managing editor

Culture & Insights

As the scarlettabbott team joins forces with HRZone’s Culture Pioneers initiative to champion workplace culture, we caught up with Becky Norman, managing editor of HRZone, to find out why culture is at the heart of their ambitions for the world of work.

Why is culture such an important focus for HRZone?

Workplace culture sets the tone for how people interact within an organisation. It shapes employees’ attitudes and behaviours and influences the overall success of the company.

We recently conducted research that shows business leaders see inherent value in workplace culture. Yet, there are many rookies among us who want to muck in with shaping culture but just don’t know where to start (71 per cent).

These people are primed to make change happen in the workplace, and HRZone (through its Culture Pioneers initiative) wants to support them in their journey.

Culture Pioneers started life as an awards programme, but you have bigger ambitions. Tell us about them.

We don’t just want to celebrate those who are forging ahead with progressive culture change. We also want to support those who are trying to cultivate a better workplace environment but might not know how.

That’s why, earlier this year, we launched #ExploreChange – a social campaign encouraging organisations to get going with their culture-crafting efforts. Businesses can sign our pledge to show their genuine commitment and then choose from one of three challenges that will help them take a positive step forward.

It’s all about helping the many organisations out there facing a state of inertia. We want to give them a nudge in the right direction, because culture change is hard to get right.

What are your ambitions for the next three years?

By 2026 we aim to engage over 500 companies in adopting working culture change across the UK. We’re geared up to make this happen through our #ExploreChange pledge, Culture Pioneer Awards programme and by creating guidance-based, research-informed content on workplace culture year-round.

With your eye trained so closely on culture, what trends are you seeing emerge?

Alongside the more obvious trends of supporting mental health, consolidating hybrid/remote working, and prioritising inclusivity, I’m noticing a few other movements at play.

Purpose-driven cultures: Many employees, particularly those in Generation Z, are now seeking more meaningful work that aligns with their values and contributes to a greater purpose. In response, savvier organisations are focusing on creating purpose-driven cultures by clearly defining and communicating their mission, vision and values. They’re integrating social and environmental responsibility into their business practices, which can help attract and retain employees who are passionate about making a positive impact.

Agile and adaptive cultures: As organisations face increasing complexity and uncertainty, there’s a growing emphasis on developing agile and adaptive cultures. These cultures promote flexibility, innovation and quick decision-making. A great example of this is one of our 2022 award winners, CharlieHR. The organisation encourages experimentation, sees failure as a learning opportunity and empowers employees to adapt and respond to changing circumstances.

Coaching cultures: The buzz for cultures that embrace lifelong learning has become laser-focused on coaching. Those pioneering in this space are equipping not only managers with these skills, but all employees, to support coaching conversations among team members. It’s such a good way of creating learning opportunities within the flow of work, forging stronger connections among colleagues and democratising a development opportunity that’s often only available to managers and leaders.

What are you most looking forward to for the next 12 months of Culture Pioneers?

I’m excited to hear about the radical, adventurous approaches organisations are taking to build better cultures. We want to give these pioneers a platform so that others can learn and take inspiration from them.

If this sounds like you, then I strongly encourage you to enter our 2023 awards programme – it’s free to enter so why not give it a go?

More on this TopIC

The Point.

The latest thinking from the team, direct to your inbox.
We’d love to hear from you

01904 633 399

AWARDS BADGES Agency Business white

The Old Chapel,
27a Main Street,
YO10 4PJ


The Black & White Building,
74 Rivington Street,

© scarlettabbott 2024 Privacy Notice