Fedgroup CHRO Anne Grunow believes in the benefits of putting people first


The value of a business living its culture does not just lie in attracting top employees, but in its ability to retain them, says Anne.

Fedgroup CHRO Anne Grunow is a firm believer that organisational culture is created not by long-winded policies, but rather by the practical implementation of a business’s values from the top down. She does however acknowledge that the theory doesn’t always translate into practice.

“Values start at the leadership level: openness and transparency and a sense of individualism. Everyone is different and a one-size-fits-all approach does not work. People need to be heard and trust that no one is more important than the other. Respect for each other both up and down the organisation is crucial,” she says.

Anne adds that Fedgroup’s values are based on respect, kindness and integrity, which the company leadership tries to live by. “They are an intrinsic part of who we are and how we do business and are an indelible part of our daily lives. These values resonate with me as an individual and are one of the reasons for my many years with the company.”

Anne has been the chief human resources officer at Fedgroup since 2011. Before joining Fedgroup, she was the human resources manager at Formax for 11 years.

Retaining talent through culture

To attract and retain what the business sees as its most important assets, every aspect of an employee’s experience is a touchpoint of an organisation’s values. For Anne, it isn’t just about finding the right employees, but retaining them – and this she says is where culture comes in. The culture she explains, is one of respect, freedom, and accountability.

“Our hiring processes aim to find the smartest people who thrive on working in an entrepreneurial environment, with culture fit being a priority. It is paramount to me that people are treated 100 percent with respect. No matter who you are, or what position you hold, it’s important that everyone in this business understands how valued they are.”

She says that there are many ways to define a positive work culture, but essentially it is an environment in which employees are valued and have a purpose, where there is open and transparent communication, and where personal and professional growth is encouraged and supported. Treating people with kindness and fairness is essential for a healthy and thriving culture.

Anne adds that her organisation isn’t a very large company, so it’s easy to be visible, make a difference and get involved. “Even with this sustained spirit of collaboration and integration, the business believes in growing each employee to be an empowered, leading specialist in their area of expertise. And while working hard is what we do, it’s so important to wake up every day and know that you are doing something purposeful and valuable,” says Anne.

Culture, however, also needs to provide freedom to accommodate an individual’s needs. Anne says that leaders usually expect a lot from their teams with accountability being prioritised, but must realise that, to maintain a high level of dedication and excellence, they need to treat every member of the collective as an individual.

“Being able to offer a flexible environment in which you give your employees the freedom in which to manage their personal lives is an important part of any organisational culture. Ideally, leaders should strive to enable people to balance their responsibilities around their families and personal health,” she says.

Anne concludes by saying that it’s all about treating employees as individual human beings, making sure that their voices are not just heard and appreciated, but also giving them the freedom to do what they do best and not stand in their way.

Anne’s six tips to cultivate a healthy work culture

  • Ensure your organisation’s culture is clearly defined.
  • Hire people that fit the culture and encourage diversity, collaboration, and inclusivity.
  • Encourage open and transparent communication, a safe space where individual voices are heard and acted upon.
  • Have a meaningful EVP and live by it..
  • Applaud and praise individual and team accomplishments. Make people feel valued.
  • Have some fun.

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