“Culture for us is the DNA, it’s the way we interact with everyone, it’s how we behave, it’s our values, it’s why we go to work every day. It’s the lifeblood that runs through the business.
“We’ve been on quite a journey, if I think back five years ago UHY East was very much a partner-led firm where the partners would sit round a table and make all the decisions together, which was very time consuming.
“We didn’t have a defined culture, it was very much work long hours and get the job done. We had high staff turnover which implied our culture wasn’t right either. We didn’t prioritise culture, in fact, it wasn’t a word we used in the business five years ago.
“Since then we have completely changed our business model, so we are not a partner-led firm, we are more of a corporate with a managing director. We have passed down roles and responsibilities throughout the firm giving people more autonomy to take ownership and drive things forward.
“We have also defined our values and behaviours, this wasn’t done from the top down but everyone was included. As part of this journey we are now working on our purpose, which includes questions like why does UHY exist, why do we come to work each day and why do clients want to work with us?
The change that UHY East has been through over the past 5 years has had a considerable impact on team morale, engagement and empowerment.
“For example, a few weeks ago we did a whole team away day based around our purpose and the feedback we got back from that, and our journey over the past five years, was that ‘this firm has changed for the better’.
“When you receive feedback like that, with people saying they enjoy working here and they are listened to, it says a lot and we are really proud of that.
“When you have a top-down strategy, you’re actually missing out all the people who are on the frontline of the business, right down to the people picking up the phone speaking to the clients. If you don’t listen to what’s happening there, you’re not understanding what’s going on in the business.”
The next steps
To hear more about the trials and tribulations UHY East have been through in their transition from a partner-led firm to a corporate listen to the full podcast here: