How Yorkshire-based Culco aims to help Britain’s corporate leaders bounce back from the pandemic

TWO entrepreneurs have established a business which aims to help Britain’s corporate leaders bounce back from the pandemic.

Founded by Lisa Lister and Jane Slimming, Culco was set up to tackle the recruitment and culture crisis which is affecting many businesses across the UK.

Culco has received support from Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to help create jobs and achieve its goal of becoming a national brand.

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Culco Culture programme has secured £15,000 from the LEP for a pilot scheme.

Jane Slimming, left, and Lisa Lister set up Culco to tackle the recruitment and culture crisis.Jane Slimming, left, and Lisa Lister set up Culco to tackle the recruitment and culture crisis.
Jane Slimming, left, and Lisa Lister set up Culco to tackle the recruitment and culture crisis.

Culco was set up in response to research which indicated many business leaders were suffering from exhaustion, lack of drive and motivation and an inability to make decisions due to strains created by the pandemic.

Ms Slimming, who is also the CEO of digital and creative agency Zeal, said: “When we were told to work from home, I closed the office and did my best to keep the culture. At the time, we were in the same storm but in different boats.

“I did my own research into the effects of the pandemic on morale. A lot of people said they were struggling and had low energy levels.

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“I decided that I wanted to put some kind of framework in place to ensure that people who work for me are the best versions of themselves.

“I co-founded Culco to produce a culture programme that can be implemented in any company of any size.”

Culco has been established to provide cross-sector business owners with the knowledge and support, they need to develop a positive workplace culture, attract and retain staff to reduce recruitment costs and bridge skills gaps, and increase productivity and creativity.

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Ms Slimming said: “It’s about creating vision and values and communicating that internally. We explain to leaders why culture is important and provide advice about how to keep momentum going.

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“I want Culco to be a national brand. A lot of our success will be down to finding the right people. We’re curating groups of people who are good at delivering what we do.

“It has taken off really quickly because of the economic and social change over the last two years. Kindness and consideration has always been really important to me.”

“In five years’ time we’d like to be a national brand covering all of the UK. We want to advise companies of all sizes on how they can become culture-first organisations to benefit themselves and their staff.”

Sir Roger Marsh OBE, DL chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and NPII, said: “I’m delighted that through the LEP, we’re able to work with Culco not only to provide businesses with the knowledge and tools they need to improve culture in the workplace but also raise awareness of how vital it is to support business resilience and growth.

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“The last couple of years have been difficult for SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) across our region, and while the focus has been on staying afloat and adapting operations in response to immediate challenges, culture hasn’t been a priority.

“Now more than ever, I’d urge all businesses to invest in their company culture and the wellbeing of their employees to help retain talent, reduce recruitment costs and increase productivity.

“This will support the region’s wider economic recovery and help build an inclusive and sustainable economy for the future.”

Culco is expecting to launch in Manchester in the spring, with the team working remotely and travel there when required.

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Ms Slimming added: “We already have a network of contractors but we are looking to recruit full-time staff in the next six months. We are also considering the potential requirement for physical offices in different territories and what this might mean for recruitment.”

Culco will offer support to businesses through its programme which includes seminars, peer-to-peer support, specialist consultancy, and insight into employee engagement.

Within this programme, business leaders will be able to access support through initiatives such as peer-to-peer roundtable events, a designated consultant, and a programme of speakers and workshops.

Jane Slimming, co-founder of Culco, said: “Never before has culture been so important for companies to take seriously and invest in. Not only does it make commercial sense to keep staff happy and fulfilled, but from a personal perspective I’ve always cared about seeing people flourish and grow.”