How Michelle Hill Has Maintained TLC's Culture Whilst Growing

In: BlogDate: Mar 27, 2024By: Claire Lickman

"We're a relationship charity, and we want to invest as much time in our team and their relationships at work as we do with our clients," says Michelle Hill, CEO of TLC: Talk, Listen, Change. "We want them to have a workplace where they feel valued and where they want to do their best work. I think the more we invest in wellbeing and the team being happier, the better the results are."

Michelle will be speaking at the 2024 Happy Workplaces Conference about maintaining your organisation's culture whilst growing.

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Michelle Hill is founder and CEO of TLC: Talk Listen Change. TLC is a relationships charity, delivering a range of integrated support, therapies and programmes in pursuit of happy and healthy relationships. Michelle has created a happy and engaged workplace based on a culture of coaching, Pre-Approval, and building relationships.

As an organisation grows, it can be difficult to ensure that everyone is aligned with the same values and goals. This can lead to a lack of cohesion and a sense of disconnection amongst team members. Michelle has been working with teams across TLC to ensure that everyone feels involved, following rapid growth over the last few years.

"At the end of last year and beginning of this year, I spent a period of time meeting everybody in the organisation individually," says Michelle. "It was the highlight of my day, every day – just the opportunity to connect with people, find out what drives them, why they work for TLC, what matters to them. It was definitely the most inspiring thing I've done in the last 12 months."

A group of staff across the organisation have a working group that makes suggestions and leads change on things they should be doing differently.

So far, this has included defining what TLC's soft survey looks like, what soft communication looks like, and letting the senior leadership team know what TLC does well – and what it could do better.

TLC has several staff networks for people with protected characteristics, and they have also made recommendations and changes.

"They are both a safe space for people in the organisation, but also somewhere that that group of people in that network can lead the organisation," says Michelle. "They can challenge us on what we need to do better, can hold us right down and suggest things that we need to do. But they are pre-approved with a remit that anything within their perspective characteristic they can challenge and lead on."

For example, the disability group has led massive changes to TLC's staff sickness policy. The people of colour group has adopted the Halo code, around people being encouraged to wear their hair in their own cultural style.

"One of our sayings is around people bringing their whole self to work. And as one of our values is being authentic, and as a relationship charity, we want to invest as much time in our team and their own relationships at work as we do in our clients. We want our staff to have a workplace where they want to be valued and they want to do their best, and I think the more we invest in wellbeing and the team being happier, the better the results are."

Michelle is certain that implementing self-managing teams, fostering a culture of coaching people and Pre-Approval has resulted in huge growth at TLC.

"The growth in the last few years in terms of the number of people we work with, the people we support, and the areas we serve has just been phenomenal. But so much is led by the team and we've got people who have been with us all the way through the journey in lots of different roles and lots of different stages.

"We've made mistakes, but hopefully we're open about that and learn from them, and don't shy away from them – because you can't take some risks without getting some things wrong.

"There's definitely a direct correlation between people feeling like they are shaping what the organisation does and what it stands for and the results that we have. It's not a casual link."

Michelle Hill will be speaking on how to maintain your organisation's culture whilst growing at the 2024 Happy Workplaces Conference on Wednesday 15th May. This year's conference is a hybrid event, held both Live Online via Zoom and in the classroom at Happy. However you choose to join us, there will be plenty of interaction, discussion, space for reflection and opportunities to network with others.

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Claire Lickman

Claire is Head of Marketing at Happy. She has worked at Happy since 2016, and is responsible for Happy's marketing strategy, website, social media and more. Claire first heard about Happy in 2012 when she attended a mix of IT and personal development courses. These courses were life-changing and she has been a fan of Happy ever since. She has a personal blog at lecari.co.uk.

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Next Conference: 2024 Happy Workplaces Conference

Our Happy Workplaces Conference is our biggest event of the year, and we'd love for you to join us on Wednesday 15th May.

This will be a hybrid event — we will host up to 50 people in the venue at Happy's HQ in Aldgate, London, and up to 200 people online via Zoom. The speakers will be a mix of online and in person. However you choose to join, there will be interaction, discussion, space for reflection and opportunities to network with others.

This year's event is CPD accredited, and speakers include Isaac Getz, Michele Zanini, Caron Bradshaw OBE and Michelle Hill.

Find out more