SmartHR’s culture and engagement solutions can help to identify and enhance both cultural practices and levels of staff engagement to improve overall effectiveness within an organisation.


In organisations, when we use the term “culture” we are, in simple terms, talking about how it “feels” to be and work in the organisation. This “feeling” is often unchallenged and accepted as being “it is what it is”.  Very often the organisation will have an Organisational Vision and/or Mission, and these will be underpinned by a set of Values or Value statements which seek to direct and guide the behaviours and actions of the organisational members more explicitly and in so doing create the “culture”.

Organisational culture is not just defined by words on a mouse mat or on posters which adorn the office and are designed to motivate and galvanise the troops.  Culture is much much more than this. 

Cultures are an amalgam of the structures, systems, processes, practices and policies at play within the organisation, both those that have been explicitly defined and, of as equal importance, the additional unspoken subliminal messages that are being transmitted every single second and through every single interaction from the organisation’s leaders and managers and received by the organisation’s members.  It determines how it feels to work there, what members are expected to do, what is acceptable or unacceptable, right or wrong, possible or impossible.

The extent to which the structures, systems, processes, practices and policies, behaviours and language at play are mutually supportive of, and align with the Vision, Mission and Values will determine the cultural health of the organisation.  In short, how our leaders show up, the extent to which they walk the talk, and live the espoused values, will directly impact the experience of staff, the overall organisational culture and crucially the potential for long-term organisational success.

It is important not to confuse culture with engagement.  Whilst staff Engagement Surveys provide crucial data to establish how engaged with your organisation your members are, it doesn’t tell you WHAT culture your people are engaged with.  This is the difference.


With an accreditation from Human Synergistics UK, HR Consultant Emma Walker, uses psychometric tools accessed via online surveys to support organisations to take a step back and take an objective look at their organisation, to identify:

  1. Where the organisation currently ‘is’: its prevailing culture
  2. Where the organisation would like to get to: its ideal culture
  3. What gaps exist between the current cultural reality and the identified ideal culture
  4. The overall effectiveness of the organisation

The data is then collected and presented and articulated in a powerful visual model called the Circumplex.  The Circumplex provides a way to identify, measure, and ultimately change the prevailing behaviours that either drive or derail individual, team or organisational performance.  Comprised of 12 specific styles, the Circumplex then collates these into three overarching clusters:  Constructive (the blue cluster), Passive/Defensive (the green cluster) and Aggressive Defensive (the red cluster). Whilst the Constructive cluster is proven to be highly effective and drive high levels of individual and organisational performance, the latter two clusters do not.  In fact, it is proven these behaviours WILL negatively impact individual and organisational effectiveness.

The organisation is then supported to identify the steps to be taken to increase its overall effectiveness.  We will work with you to create and implement a Culture Action Plan, and, if required, provide further support through individual coaching to help to drive the organisation into making the cultural shift into a high performing space.

To find out how we can help to shift your organisation into the high performing space, please contact Emma Walker at


The power of staff engagement is not always fully appreciated; often it may be perceived as a “fluffy” HR initiative which adds very little long-term value to an organisation but might instead incur unnecessary expense.  However, measuring staff engagement, and seeking to foster an environment which engages employees makes perfect business sense.

In “Engage for Success”, David Macleod describes Staff Engagement as being “about how companies create the conditions in which employees offer more of their capability and potential”.  Therefore, by creating an engaged workforce, you are likely to have a workforce who, when the chips are down, will pull together to make sure that the organisation fulfils and meets its demands.

Highly engaged employees:

  • have greater customer focus, are less likely to be absent, and are more creative than those who are not as engaged
  • care about the organisation’s future and will pull-out the stops to help it meet its objectives
  • have a sense of pride for their organisation and are highly motivated

At SmartHR we can work with you to gain insight into how motivated and engaged your staff are.  We can provide, design and administer tailored, bespoke engagement surveys, collect the data, and provide a full report on the findings.  We will then work with you to help devise an appropriate Engagement Action Plan and support you to implement the agreed activities.

Alternatively, for those organisations who wish to understand how their engagement levels compare to others, we are able to work in partnership with an organisation who will provide a survey and aggregate the responses providing you with data and benchmark data in order to enable you to take steps to improve your engagement scores and in so doing, ensure you are competitive and doing the right things to retain and engage your staff and increase organisational performance.

For more information, please contact one of the team: or

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Client Testimonials

  • “I recently attended the “Developing a High-Performance Culture” seminar given by Emma Walker of SmartHR.  The session was thought provoking, informative and enjoyable. In a relatively short period of time Emma was able to cover a broad subject, give us the opportunity to share our collective experiences and learn about some of the leading HR perspectives. I will be looking out for more presentations and workshops led by Emma and SmartHR.”

    Neal Kelly – Operations Director, PDMS Ltd – Nov 2018
  • “Dear Gail, Jo and I wanted to thank you for delivering Equality training to our Recruitment Consultants and Administration Team this morning. Feedback was great, they found the content and delivery spot on – targeted, effective and full of practical applications and examples. It’s so valuable in terms of time and impact to have design and delivery of training tailored specifically to the needs of our industry, business and teams. Much appreciated, and we’ll certainly recommend to any of our clients seeking similar support.”

    Debbie Scrimshaw – Director, Paragon (HR & Recruitment) Ltd – Oct 2018
  • “In transitioning from being part of a large FTSE250 Company with all the support of the Group Functions to being a standalone entity, we engaged with SmartHR to help us establish all our new HR policies and procedures, including a new Staff Manual and staff contracts. Doing so has proved to be one of the best decisions we made: what at first seemed a mountain to climb was quickly and efficiently dealt with by Gail whose engaging manner and deep knowledge of her subject allowed her to quickly assess our existing group policies and tailor them to meet our new needs with the minimum of fuss. Since then she has also proved to be an invaluable confidante and adviser on HR matters across the board and I have no hesitation in thoroughly recommending her and her company.”

    John Tottenham – Managing Director, Zeffyr Services Limited – Sept 2018
  • “SmartHR provided a thorough, professional, first class service to the Gambling Supervision Commission. Gail and Julia were super to work with, understood our issues, provided options and made recommendations that are now starting to bear fruit. The Commission continues to use SmartHR for advice and support in the on-going development of its HR practices and I would have no hesitation in recommending Gail and her team to any organisation.”

    Steve Brennan – Chief Executive, Gambling Supervision Commission – Sept 2018
  • “Nedgroup Investments engages SmartHR to provide advice and guidance on a wide variety of human resources related matters. The current changes and updates to employment law affect all employers and it is vital that we adhere to best practice at all times. Gail provides a knowledgeable and efficient service and with her guidance we can be sure that our HR procedures and processes align with the highest industry standards. Working with Gail at SmartHR is a highly cost effective method of engaging a professional HR resource and her patient expertise is always only a phone call away.”

    Tracey Wiltcher – Director, Nedgroup Investments – Sept 2018
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