Christina Lewis is the Head of People & Performance at Restless Development andÂ recently undertook a support visit to our offices in South East Asia. Here she reflects on how theÂ sameÂ ‘Restless’ culture is shared the world over.
I’d never been to Delhi (India) or Kathmandu (Nepal)Â beforeÂ and once I arrived I felt a long way from home. When I first went into the office in Delhi it was great to finally put names to faces. The black andÂ white Restless logos and familiar posters instantly made me feel connected and part of the team.
When I met the team in Kathmandu it was great to see our Restless Values not only up on the wallsÂ but also part of day to day conversations and delivery. The values were alive, just like they are inÂ London. Just like they are in each Restless office.
TheÂ main business objectives for this support visit were to deliver generic HR/People training to the teams, to work strategically with theÂ Country Director and Senior Managers around their People planning and policies and to alsoÂ establish a connection between staff and the International People unit in London.
However, my ownÂ personal objectives were to live, breathe and understand the culture in each office. Gauging anÂ understanding of the working culture allows me to provide much more valuable support and meansÂ that any advice I give or suggest is far more bespoke and meaningful for the given workingÂ environment.
I have worked in different global organisations for over seven years. Each country office, although part of the sameÂ organisation, normally has its own identity and with that its own working culture. An overarchingÂ global organisational culture is hard to achieve and something that cannot be forced, it has to beÂ created organically through the staff/volunteers/teams themselves.
It’s a hard nut to crack. But one IÂ believe that Restless has. The posters, the branding all this helps to create organisational identity butÂ essentially it is the people that create and grow the culture. From London to Delhi to Kathmandu theÂ culture is evidently Restless. The work ethic, the passion and the ambition is the same and veryÂ present in each person in each office. As an HR professional this is amazing to see and somethingÂ that a lot of global organisations strive for.
I have always had to make allowances within my globalÂ HR work for cultural differences, customs and practices especially when it comes to deliveringÂ training. However I delivered the same Valuing Diversity training in London, Delhi and KathmanduÂ and the response to it was very similar. Similar questions, findings and comments over what can be aÂ very provocative topic.
By then end of my two weeks I didn’t feel so far away from home. I was inspired massively by bothÂ teams. Delhi for their proactive thinking around the People function and Kathmandu for working soÂ hard and passionately in a post disaster situation. But it was the working culture that struck me theÂ most. The majority of our staff in country are national so yes of course the culture was Indian andÂ Nepalese, but above all it was Restless.