Manley Hopkinson – Building a culture of commitment

Date: December 11, 2023
Photo of Manley Hopkinson sitting at a desk in a meeting.

In the ever-evolving landscape of the modern workplace, companies are rightly discovering what their values are, and how they – and their employees – should embody behaviours with colleagues, clients and stakeholders to be better businesses.

It’s not just a nice-to-have; it’s a necessity for sustainable success.

However, often the say-do gap – the difference between a company promoting something, and actually following it up with behaviours and actions, internally and externally – can be wide.

At Sweet Projects, we don’t want to be the same as everyone else. We want to be different; we want to be us.

Culture should not be a paragraph on a website; it should be lived experiences.

One of the key questions we ask when employing people – especially when growing at pace – is whether a person is a cultural fit. This has taken centre stage, highlighting the significance of values alignment between company and individual level.

Is this person a culture fit, first and foremost?

Traditionally, hiring decisions are often based on technical skills and qualifications alone. However, a blend of cultural and capability fit is where the magic happens. But what does ‘culture fit’ mean, exactly?

Culture fit goes beyond shared interests or similar backgrounds; it’s about aligning with a company’s values, mission, and vision. When evaluating potential new starters, we look for individuals who not only possess the necessary skills but also resonate with the core beliefs and principles of the company.

This alignment fosters a sense of belonging, leading to higher job satisfaction, and embedded commitment to colleagues and projects.

We have to make sure we are bringing in the very best in their fields. Building better relationships through our culture and way of doing things with supply partners and contractors. Building a better understanding.

And this all begins by bringing together the right people.

Challenging the status quo

As a young, growing business, we’re able to do things differently. We have an agile, flat structure and an open, transparent philosophy. We are never afraid of trying something new.

This willingness to challenge the status quo is an integral aspect of our culture. We fully embrace the courage it takes to challenge the norm. Constructive criticism is the name of the game.

Our colleagues are encouraged to question processes, project approaches, on-site protocols, and other aspects of their work environment. We all have a duty to speak up when we see something that could be done better, or if there are any concerns. This openness to change encourages continuous improvement and innovation.

In a workplace where hierarchy is flattened, all voices are valued. Our teams feel empowered, and psychologically safe to speak up and share their ideas without fear of retribution. This, in turn, encourages diversity of thought and helps us remain agile and responsive to emerging challenges, either on site, or at company level.

A commitment to developing people

This isn’t a one-way street, with colleagues and contractors committing to our culture and way of being. As a company, and speaking on behalf of the board, we are fully committed to empowering and developing people, giving them what they need to be the best they can be.

We’re punching above our weight in terms of company size and our learning and development focus. This commitment extends beyond formal training programs, and engagement with our expert partner membership bodies, and includes ongoing coaching, feedback, management programmes and opportunities for skill enhancement. Our people are the driving force behind Sweet Projects. When they feel a deep connection to our business and values,  and see their growth is our priority, they become even more empowered and valued, contributing to our shared success.