Why basic kindness is still a leaderâ€™s greatest asset
Shaping better technological progression through employee involvement
How structured career progression boosts morale and reduces turnover
Be At One explain why sometimes a simplistic approach to engagement is the most effective.
Waitrose explains how and why including employees in their technological advancements is beneficial.
Pablo Camba explains how accessible career progression and a dedication to internal promotions has transformed employee engagement at Inditex.
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TECHNOLOGY: THE GREAT ENGAGEMENT ENABLER
VIEW FROM THE SUMMIT CHAIRS
Shares his highlights from the Summit
Chair of Hall 2 shares her insights from the day
The Senior Vice President of Global Talent and Inclusion at Bayer explains Building a Digital Culture
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Welcome A very warm welcome to this year’s Employee Engagement Summit Industry Report. We hope you enjoy what’s inside!
his edition has been a delight to put together as we have had the fantastic opportunity to speak with experts from industry-leading brands within the employee engagement space. From the fashion retail industry, Pablo Camba from Inditex explains the importance of implementing defined career progression structures for employees to increase engagement and retainment, creating a stronger, more dedicated workforce, which ultimately results in higher customer satisfaction. James Hampton and Georgie Mills also contribute Seasalt Cornwall’s brand strategy in this area, utilising surveys and training to ensure positive communication with staff and to deal with issues before they arise. With insight into the world of hospitality, Chris Lincoln from Be At One explains how open and friendly dialogue with staff is essential, and how investing in employees’ careers can return significant financial benefits for the business. Joanne Carlin also shares the fascinating story of how Daniel Thwaites completely transformed the relationship it had with its employees and reduced staff turnover by 10% in one year. Stuart Eames delves into the recent technological advancements Waitrose has made, and explains how involving employees in the process and continuously inviting their feedback for improvements has resulted in a far more effective product.
From the pharmaceutical and medical industries, Melissa Harper talks us through how vital it has been for Bayer to build an effective digital culture to navigate the rapid technological advancements happening around them, and Chris Newstead also explains the process undertook in exploring different forms of flexible working that could be appropriate at Wellcome. In the realm of football, Paul Barber gives us an inside look in explaining how Brighton and Hove Albion FC’s dedicated values-driven approach has significantly benefitted the club in terms of satisfied staff, loyal fans, and financial gain. Furthermore, our brilliant Hall Chairs, Jo Moffatt and Gerry Brown, share their insights from the conference day in their Hall Chair Reports, and you can discover our attendees’ thoughts and feedback inside as well. With a greater focus on employee wellbeing, engagement, and company culture than ever before, it is essential for organisations to evolve alongside progressing attitudes in the business world, and success stories from brands making strides in this area can be invaluable. With that in mind, we hope that you find this Industry Report informative, interesting, and helpful.
Happy reading! Elizabeth Akass, Editor
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ENGAGE EMPLOYEE NEWS
Sainsbury’s Argos named best place to work
Retailer Sainsbury’s Argos has been named the best place to work at the annual Talent in Logistics Awards, in recognition of its high employee engagement. The awards, organised by Talent in Logistics, a support business for the transport, logistics and warehouse sector in the UK, aims to recognise and reward employers and individuals working within the logistics industry and related supply chains that make a real difference to the sector. The awards ceremony was held on 27 June 2019 at the Hilton DoubleTree, Milton Keynes, following Talent in Logistics’s annual conference. Sainsbury’s Argos received the Best place to work
accolade, a new award for 2019, in recognition of its high employee engagement as well as its safety and departmental productivity at its Basildon distribution centre. Meanwhile, Tesco, Scania Training and South Essex College were awarded for collaboration in people development. Ruth Edwards, business manager at Talent in Logistics, said: “Our awards are testimony to the unsung heroes we have in this sector. Standards were exceptionally high, showcasing the very best in innovation, as well as work ethic. “The impressive innovation happening across the logistics sector is incredibly encouraging, especially considering the important role the sector has to play as we look towards a future of changing the perception of logistics to recruit new talent, particularly from groups that are currently underrepresented.”
Standard life Aberdeen commits to supporting staff experiencing endometriosis Investment management organisation Standard Life Aberdeen has been accredited as the UK’s first endometriosis friendly employer, committing to provide support for employees experiencing the condition. The new accreditation scheme, launched by national charity Endometriosis UK in June 2019, offers guidance to employers on how to support staff diagnosed with endometriosis. As part of the endometriosis friendly employer accreditation process, organisations must commit to provide relevant support for employees experiencing endometriosis, ensuring that these individuals can thrive at work. The employer pledge requires organisations to focus on areas such as leadership and management support, tackling stigma and culture change, and building communications to raise awareness of endometriosis and the available aid. Endometriosis is a long-term chronic pain condition where cells similar to the ones found in the lining of the womb are found elsewhere in the body. Associated symptoms include significant pain or needing more frequent access to the toilet because of bowel or bladder-related factors. Standard Life Aberdeen, which employs more than 6,000 staff across 52 global operating sites, was formally accredited by Endometriosis UK on 28 June 2019.
Committing to be an endometriosis friendly employer aligns with the organisation’s goal of contributing to an inclusive future and creating a workplace for everyone as workforces become more diverse. Susie Logan (pictured), brand and marketing director at Standard Life, said: “Endometriosis impacts every single aspect of sufferers lives, including work. This is why it is so important that employers commit to better support for their staff, not only for those with endometriosis, but all invisible illnesses. It simply cannot be the case that these illnesses, which impact more people than many of us know, are ignored. “Signing up to the endometriosis friendly employer scheme is something we are incredibly proud to do. We have already taken a number of steps to satisfy the criteria outlined by Endometriosis UK to support our [staff] with endometriosis and are committed to doing more. Ultimately, it’s about getting comfortable with the uncomfortable and we can work together to achieve that.” Emma Cox, chief executive officer at Endometriosis UK, added: “Endometriosis should not be a taboo subject, and we want organisations to adopt an open culture when it comes to talking about female health. Every employer should be comfortable in talking about endometriosis with their staff and, in turn, help employees feel supported in talking about their experience.”
Biggest scandals caused by fear of speaking up says new book The VW emissions scandal, financial misreporting in Japan, sexual misconduct in Hollywood, slavery in global supply chains, doping in sport – each of these scandals was enabled in part by corporate cultures of silence and complicity. New book Speak Up – say what needs to be said and hear what needs to be heard examines the business imperatives for breaking down silence. Authors, Professor Megan Reitz of Ashridge Hult Business School and John Higgins, Research Director at The Right Conversation, argue that only by creating workplaces where openness and transparency are valued, and where individuals can openly share their ideas and concerns, can businesses hope to avoid scandal in the future and benefit fully from innovative ideas. This ground-breaking book reveals that a staggering one in four junior employees believe they would be punished if they spoke up about a risk in
their workplace. Drawing on research involving more than four thousand employees at every level of business, Speak Up explores the reasons why many of us choose to stay silent about even the most harmless of things. We lack confidence, are fearful and overestimate and catastrophise the risks of speaking up. People are poor at listening too – many of us have a blind spot in relation to our own approachability and ability to hear what’s really being said. We subconsciously apply labels to people which mean we discount or undervalue what they say to us. If we think people are young, inexperienced, long in the tooth or new to the company its highly likely we will discount their views. Worryingly, we do it without even realising. Readers of Speak Up will learn what stops us speaking up and being heard, how we might be silencing others and how we can manage the risks of speaking up.
Boots insists 200 store closures right thing to do Boots has confirmed it will close 200 stores with the chain’s boss saying it’s “the right thing to do” in the current tough trading conditions. Local pharmacy stores – where there is another store near by – will be most affected by the closures, Boots said. The retailer said there would be little impact on staff, with “the overwhelming majority” redeployed to nearby shops. It is now deciding which shops will close, but said most people would still be within a 10-minute drive of a Boots. The chain currently has 2,485 stores across the UK, employing about 56,000 staff. The retailer said last month it was considering store closures in an attempt to cut costs. Most of the stores that are due to be closed are understood to be lossmaking, with around two-thirds within walking distance of other Boots stores. “There’s no doubt that trading conditions are tough on the High Street and healthcare and retail are facing a challenging reality. Boots is not immune to these pressures,” said Boots managing director Sebastian James. He said the chain – which has its headquarters in Nottingham – had to take “some tough decisions” to transform the business and ensure future growth. The news comes the day after the chain opened the first of a new-style store aimed at drawing in more shoppers. The shop in Covent Garden, central London, features a YouTube studio offering video makeovers and an Instagram-zone where people can take pictures of their purchases. Parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance said on Thursday that quarterly sales at its UK stores had fallen slightly compared with the previous year. Analysts argue the chain has been slow to modernise, with a lack of investment in stores and high prices putting off shoppers. But Mr James – who was parachuted in last year to turn the company’s fortunes around – said the retailer’s focus was now on making stores “more differentiated and personalised, with the best brands at the best value”. He said the Covent Garden store would set the new standards for its transformation plan.
ENGAGE EMPLOYEE NEWS
What employees want versus what employers think they want Perkbox has partnered with TalentPool to analyse the key differences between the perks employees desire the most in today’s workplace versus those that employers advertise the most in job descriptions. Based on a sample of 2,315 demographically diverse working Brit and 8,716 job descriptions, the research points towards some promising news. Mainly, that when it comes to perks, employers and employees are to a great extent on the same wavelength. The top four perks according to employees were all linked to social events – with extracurricular clubs ranking first (eg. arts and crafts, book clubs) followed by pool table, ping pong table and office sports teams (e.g. football and netball). For employers, on the other hand, social events like the above were the fourth most listed perk in the job descriptions studied. Similarly, flexible working ranked in a comparable position in both employer job specs and employee preferences. It ranked 11th in the list of perks that employees want, while for employers, it appeared 8th as the most listed benefit in job descriptions. However, this consistency in employeremployee preferences wasn’t visible throughout the entire findings. When it came to private healthcare, it was a completely different story. Private healthcare was highly promoted by employers whose jobs specs were analysed, but it only ranked 15th in the list of top employee preferences. Similarly, Friday drinks only came in 38th place for employees but were advertised in
958 (41%) of the job descriptions studied. Finally, free tea and coffee; a simple perk for employers to provide – which would help explain why it was mentioned in such a huge portion of the job descriptions analysed (47%) – was a perk appreciated by 84% of the employees surveyed. Surprisingly, the more ‘millennial driven perks’ such as yoga and nap pods ranked nearer to the bottom of the list for both employees and employers in this research. Chieu Cao, Co-founder of Perkbox says: “It’s promising to see employees and employers on the same wavelength for a significant number of perks. However, it is also clear that there is more work to be done. With the key to a successful perks and benefits programme being communicating and asking your employees what they would really value in the workplace, these results are very interesting and relevant to employers everywhere. After all, it’s a waste of both time and resources to provide perks that won’t be utilised or appreciated by your staff.” Tom Davenport, Managing Director at TalentPool says: “Companies today are working harder than ever before to stand out from the crowd by offering their employees the incentives that they think they want. However, what this research reveals is that they’re not quite hitting the mark yet. Employers need to be listening to what their prospective and current employees actually want. For millennials, in particular, the perks a company offers can determine whether or not they apply for their job, so it’s key for employers to be getting this right.”
Workers join gig economy to make ends meet The number of people doing gig economy work has doubled in the last three years, with young people most likely to be doing this type of flexible, insecure work, the TUC says. The trades union body says the majority of people using apps such as Uber or Handy to find work have other roles. This shows that “working people are battling to making ends meet”, said TUC chief Frances O’Grady. One in 10 working age adults find work via apps or websites, the TUC said. That compares with about one in 20 in 2016. The data comes from a survey carried out by the University of Hertfordshire and Ipsos Mori. Ms O’Grady said: “Huge numbers are being forced to take on casual and insecure platform work – often on top of other jobs. “But as we’ve seen with Uber, too often these workers are denied their rights and are treated like disposable labour.” The survey of 2,235 UK residents found that young people were most likely to be using apps to find work and accessed via laptops and smartphones – known as ‘platform workers’, The survey found that nearly two-thirds of workers using apps to find work at least once a week were aged between 16 and 34. One in seven (15%) of workers had been involved in platform work in some way, which the TUC said equated to 7.5 million people. Ursula Huws, professor of labour and globalisation at the University of Hertfordshire, said the work being sought was not just taxi driving and food delivery. “They’re only a small proportion of gig workers. JULY 2019
They’re outnumbered by an invisible army of people working remotely on their computers or smartphones or providing services in other people’s homes,” she said. Six in 10 of the respondents to the survey admitted buying services in this way at some point. The TUC said the survey showed that it was time for all workers to get basic rights such as the minimum wage and holiday. “The world of work is changing fast and working people don’t have the protection they need,” Ms O’Grady said. At the end of last year, the government said it was introducing measures to give better protection to workers on zero-hour contracts, agency employees or gig economy workers. Staff would have to be told details of their rights from their first day in a job, including eligibility for paid and sick leave, and given the right to require more predictable hours. In February 2018, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published research showing that 4.4% of the population in Great Britain had worked in the gig economy in the last 12 months.
One in two admit working extra hours affects relationships Figures by the TUC revealed that, since 2001, the number of employees working 48-hour weeks has risen by a quarter of a million to three million, while half a million British workers suffered from workrelated stress in 2018, and 44% said it was due to workload. With the World Health Organisation defining ‘burnout’ as ‘a syndrome’ resulting from prolonged workplace stress which has been poorly managed, and in light of World Wellbeing Week, Forest Holidays have looked at why burnout has become a regular occurrence, and the impact this workrelated syndrome has on the families. Most people don’t realise they are really burnt out until it’s too late, then needing to deal with eliminating the symptoms while also having to combat the stresses that triggered it in the first place. Key Factors Leading to Burnout • High workload • Unclear job expectations • Conflicts at work • Lack of managerial support • Work/life imbalance • Stressful working environmental The Impact of Work on Modern Families Over three-quarters of parents (78%) admit to putting in extra hours to try and get ahead of their work, with almost 50% stating the most significant impact of this overspill is the ability to increase family quality time, followed closely by a negative effect on their relationship with their partner. Create a Better Work-life Balance and Prioritise Quality Time with Loved Ones Improved mental health, physical wellbeing, creativity and job satisfaction are just a few of the benefits that come from a healthy work-life balance. Further research shows that nearly two-thirds of British families spent fewer days out together in recent years compared to 20 years ago, even though having close relationships being proven to help reduce stress. Initiate a Digital Detox Data shows that around seven in 10 people recognise the benefits of lowering their screen time, and eight in 10 find having a digital detox liberating, despite having FOMO (the fear of missing out). Setting technology-free days, or phones/emails during certain times, can help to quickly achieve a relaxed period allowing you to focus on loved ones. Work Flexibly There has been a huge shift in the modern workplace as employers become more accepting of flexible and remote working options. Research from Instant Offices found that 71% of the flexible user becoming more engaged at work. Spend More Time Outdoors Spending time outdoors can have a positive effect in a variety of ways including: • • • •
Boost moods and fight anxiety Better mental health Eliminate fatigue Getting vitamin D.
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ENGAGE EMPLOYEE VIEW FROM THE CHAIR
2019 Employee Engagement Summit Chair Report We frequently hear the phrase that happy employees make happy customers. While we may think that is overly simplistic, this year’s Employee Engagement Summit, where I chaired Hall 3, clearly demonstrated that simplicity is an underappreciated value. The rich variety of presenters from both the public sector and private business, enthusiastically showed that employee engagement, employee experience and customer experience are inextricably linked, and any company seeking to improve their fortunes would do well to ensure that each gets their full attention.
he theme of the conference was Technology: The Great Engagement Enabler. And while this may lead you to think that it was all about “shiny new toys”, each presenter creatively blended the benefits of enabling technology with the role that humans play, to show why people, customers and colleagues, are still the most important elements.
After some great plenary session presentations that definitely whetted the audience’s appetite, our first sessions took as their theme, Employee Engagement Strategy and Leadership. Chris Burton and Helena Wheatman from Microsoft took us on a tour of their world-wide support operations and showed visually and by their words, that they had clearly “rediscovered their soul” and by using storytelling were able to create clarity, generate energy and deliver success to customers and colleagues. Jessica Brook from Culture Amp then blended some science into her presentation, but we weren’t blinded by it. Her key message was clear. We’re suffering from a “lack of actions in feedback”, and that while feedback was important that there was a subtle, yet important difference between continuous and deliberate feedback. Simply stated – Don’t ask if you don’t act. Paul Bennun from DAZN introduced our next major theme, which was the Evolution of the Workforce, and showed how authentic, frequent company-wide communication and “leading through the line”, was critical to developing an employer brand for colleagues to be proud of.
leadership, respect, integrity and excellence and led to this value becoming the lifeblood of the business. Samantha Rope from Wilson James introduced us to the concept of the employee profile and how it was just as important as a customer profile. In particular, that with a diverse workforce who are in many different off-site locations, that by understanding their individual needs and creating a technology infrastructure to support that, was needs-led and not technology-led.
Gerry Brown, Chief Customer Rescue Officer, Customer Lifeguard
Vikki Matthews from south Devon NHS Foundation Trust, and Richard Saundry from Univ of Plymouth brought the morning to a close with a compelling request for us to stop thinking of engagement as a “thing.” They persuasively argued that while leadership creates a context but management shapes engagement and performance and that we should position engagement as an outcome (de-thing it).
Martha McKenzie-Milifie from ING Bank also chose storytelling as her medium and demonstrated her flexibility and the importance of open and frequent conversation. In this case to develop a sustainable and mutually beneficial flexible working strategy that has produced significant increases in work at home.
Dace Kalnina and Olga Muravjova from the European Commission brought a welcome continental flavour to the afternoon session, and showed that the power of conversation and its value in engaging staff from different backgrounds and cultures, was a clear differentiator in creating a climate where people work together for the common good.
Paul Devoy from Investors in People gave us an animated and fast paced presentation that focused on “why work matters” and that irrespective of generational tags, when we get that mix right, it results in engaged individuals, successful businesses and a prosperous society.
Natasha Harris from Ofwat got our pulses racing by showing that their employee engagement strategy really had a “Heartbeat” that created values that flowed through the business. It meant that they were able to demonstrate personal
Grainne Kelly from Securitas demonstrated how the innovative use of technology and a socially responsible approach to employee benefits could come together to achieve their goal of an industry leading employee experience. The value of open and frequent communication starting with a unique onboarding process through to regular twoway conversations has been an important and measurable driver in their success. Katherine Fitzgerald from Spektrix also chose flexible working as a theme but from the perspective of a smaller, start-up tech operation whose team is geographically dispersed and due to the world-wide nature of their business really on call 24-7. She described how this approach was in evidence from the early days of the business and that it had been a truly beneficial catalyst for both attracting and retaining employees. The afternoon, and the conference, were brought to a positive and powerful conclusion by Adrienne Glad and Gabrielle De Wardener from the CDC group, who showed that great ideas and strong cultural values don’t only reside in the private sector. By embedding participatory and actionoriented change techniques across a wide group of people from different geographies they showed how the power of a global community has no limits.
ENGAGE EMPLOYEE VIEW FROM THE CHAIR
2019 Employee Engagement Summit Chair Report Great to be invited to chair a stream – a real opportunity to combine my two passions – 1. brands and their power to move people, and 2. employee engagement and its vital role in delivering a high, performing organisation.
show of hands suggested half the hall were familiar with Engage for Success, so we began with a quick overview of the movement and the four enablers of engagement. I was expecting the Enablers to be regularly evidenced in the day’s sessions in one form or another and I wasn’t disappointed. The morning began with the Future of the Workplace. Ramkumar Chandrasekaran kicked the morning off with a session introducing various ‘bots’ they use to support employee engagement at Tata Consultancy Services. With a ‘machine-first’ mindset, bots are used to support a range of HR services. Mentoring, for example, which used to take up significant HR admin resource, is now supported by a bot called MILO. HR resource can now focus on taking action – freeing humans up to do the things humans do best!
Joe Lees and Chelsea Jane Moore from GSK next How We Built, then Tamed our Email Monster. Delivering Targeted Personalised Content that Puts Our 130,000 Employees First. Each newsletter contains about 240 different stories, individual employees only see the nine or so relevant to them. Key takeaways? The importance of audience segmenting, getting a senior sponsor, winning over local comms teams, delivering with a consistent tone of voice – and having a dedicated team who can work on a rolling cycle akin to repainting the Forth Road Bridge!
A show of hands suggested half the hall were familiar with Engage for Success, so we began with a quick overview of the movement and the Four Enablers of engagement
who worried they’d not be able to make it work. Not all bad news as Chris shared his views about where it might stick – small companies (less than 200 employees) and where most people are doing fairly similar things for example.
Is Storytelling a Silver Bullet or Silver Buzzword? With a background in journalism and engagement, Victoria Silverman at Refinitiv stressed the importance of authenticity and that for stories to really engage we need to focus on what it is our audience wants to know. She stressed too, the power of user generated content, i.e. getting your audience to share their own stories, the most authentic kind of storytelling of all.
The final morning sessions took a less human turn. Michael Dean, Director at Peakon, talked about Employee Engagement in the Age of Automation. After a quick history lesson he left us with the evidence that employees will leave unchallenging work and not a challenging workload and that, yes, employees really do leave bad managers. Then Megan Butler, from Leeds University Business School asked Are the Robots Coming? and gave us the phrase of the day “computational epistemiology” (Google it!) as well as a great analogy about the extent of AI use in HR. Like High School sex she says with most either thinking it’s a good idea or testing it out, but only 10% are actually doing it to any degree! That said, there are now twice as many AI applications in employee engagement than there were just a year ago.
Chris Newstead’s story In Pursuit of the Four-day Week at Wellcome had us all rooting for a great ending (who wouldn’t want to be paid for five days but only work four?) but sadly it wasn’t to be. After an employee voice exercise there were just too many
Learning and Development – Part One after lunch had an appropriate opener from the hospitality sector – Daniel Thwaites: Growing Your Own Leaders (When You Have No Budget to Spend). Joanne Carlin, Director of People and Development, talked about the management, development and engagement. Lots of employee voice to scope and shape behaviours. Lots of employee involvement to grow their own accredited internal coaches
for people development. Lots of great KPIs with significant reductions in employee turnover, 500% more people actively in training and a business continuing to grow. Life After Appraisals from Stuart Hearn at Clear Review covered the rules to move from annual appraisals to a new model – richer conversations enabled by tech. 1. 2. 3. 4.
Have near term goals Give feedback ASAP after the event Have regular, future focussed conversations Meaningful dialogue rather than form filling
Practical examples from The Valuation Office Agency and Clydesdale & Yorkshire Banking Group included the latter citing double digital improvement in engagement scores. Martin Kersey at St Andrew’s Healthcare delivered a powerful session Engagement on the Edge, on the importance of purpose and engaging patients in service delivery, what St Andrew’s call co-production. St Andrew’s deals with some of the country’s most vulnerable individuals. Martin shared story after story – including his own version of the oft told JFK NASA tale, this time a cleaner at St Andrew’s whose purpose was to make someone feel better. Employee and Customer Engagement, Links to Performance and Profitability – Part Two Stuart Eames leads Retail innovation for Waitrose. He used the introduction of a major tech change (multi-functional instore devices) to illustrate Does Employee Engagement Really Deliver Better Change? Key learning to engage employees with change was to start with the business problem you are trying to solve and then tell that story tailored to what you know matters to your audience. Translating What Employees Say into
Usable Data was Peter Clarke, Qlearsite’s contribution to the afternoon. Data must be usable to help us build a story and take our people on a journey – the recurring theme of tech as the enabler, this time of stories. Peter cautioned against an ‘always listening’ pulse strategy becoming an ‘always asking’ strategy, employees become jaded and disengaged. Peter’s solution is to ask few, better questions which he demonstrated correlate with organisation growth and profitability. Further correlation between people-based HR adding value and positive commercial impact came from Seasalt Cornwall: Why Leaders Really are the Key to Employee Engagement Success. James Hampton and Georgie Mills talked about their focus on leadership capability and performance – emotional intelligence and authentic leadership being key areas. With a nod to Wellcome’s four-day week, Seasalt are starting to look at the introduction of core hours and a results only work environment (ROWE) too – an organisation recognising that they employ and need to nurture the ‘whole person’ too. A short break before the final sessions Learning and Development – Part Two. Teresa Chandler, and Nichola Stallwood at Zoological Society of London (ZSL) talked about Where to Start in the Confusion of Organisational Change. How they involved their people in the shaping and implementation of a new strategy – listening to employee voice about what they wanted to see change in terms of culture. A powerful reminder too, about the importance of internal comms – people will make up their own versions of the story if you don’t keep sharing, telling and repeating, again and again. If we needed evidence of the value to the bottom line of investing in L&D then Chris Lincoln from Be at One gave it. Attract, Engage, Train and Retain talked of the
Jo Moffatt, Strategy Director and Radio Show Co-host, Engage for Success
importance of leaders and managers walking the walk – senior leadership are visible in the bars at least twice a week, making time to talk to staff and be authentic. Chris shared powerful revenue figures as a result, most tellingly a halving of employee turnover in just six months. The day closed with Michelle Carvill of Carvill Creative arguing how inside organisations new social media tools can allow senior leaders to ‘walk the floor’ at scale (being more visible) and create brand ambassadors, boost employee confidence and create and sustain better connections. My summing up? We saw all four Enablers – overtly rather than covertly. A constant reinforcement of the importance of visible, empowering leaders and a clear strategic narrative or purpose. Engaging managers who give their people autonomy. Actively listening and responding to employee voice not just at survey time but as real contributors to the business, identifying improvements, finding answers, shaping direction and driving innovation. Making sure the values on the well are demonstrated by behaviours at all levels from the newest recruit to the most senior leader. A recurring plea to stick to the basics, be authentic, especially as leaders and managers. We don’t need the shiny new toys of AI, automation and tech – but they can help us apply the Enablers better in our workplaces, by giving us time, insight and access to our people to be more human, more authentic. Bots and AI won’t replace us as humans, but let’s be optimistic that they’ll free us up to show more humanity.
ENGAGE EMPLOYEE COMMERCIAL FEATURE
Future-proofing your workforce Seasalt Cornwall explains how it utilises surveys and training to prevent issues before they arise, and ensuring a community-feel within the company where employees feel valued.
easalt Cornwall is a fashion retailer with over 1,000 employees across 64 stores. The brand has seen rapid growth in the past five years, and during a time of drastic change and adaption it is essential for companies, particularly ones with such a focus on maintaining a community-feel in its culture, to remain connected with employees, and for staff in leadership positions to feel comfortable and confident in their responsibilities. James Hampton, Head of Development and Engagement, and Georgie Mills, Head of HR for Retail, explain the approach Seasalt Cornwall take when employing new staff members. Hampton says: “When someone joins the business, we take a well-rounded view of them as a person, not just an employee.” This notion of “employing the whole person” is something Seasalt Cornwall stands by throughout the time its people spend working for the company by supporting staff to develop and progress towards their career goals. Mills says: “We’re trying to make sure we give everyone the tools and the access to what they need in a flexible way”. Hampton continues: “We take quite a lot of time to ensure that everyone has equal opportunities to progress around the business and work towards what they are interested in. This has a huge impact on their performance and whether they feel connected to the purpose of the business.”
developments and shifts in focus happen,” says Hampton. “We found a lot of our managers were doing more regular appraisals anyway, and formalising it just made it easier for them to help their staff progress in their careers.” He continues: “It’s created far more conversations around progress and ideas for positive change to enhance that community-feel and making our staff understand that they can influence things themselves.” Furthermore, another focus for Seasalt Cornwall is providing its staff with “enlightened, meaningful careers” to increase employee satisfaction and engagement. Mills says: “Something we want to focus on is how people can transition through the business and move through different disciplines in a really great way. We want to give people meaningful careers in knowing how where they want to be, how they’re going to get there, and how they’re going to develop.”
Furthermore, the company culture is based on a “family-feel”, which Hampton explains is one of the key elements in Seasalt Cornwall’s growth and success, and one that he is keen to retain moving forward. He says: “We do our best to communicate effectively, to socialise, and to celebrate some of the things we do well together. That then connects to people’s careers because if we are able to help people understand what the purpose of the business is and where it’s going, and also get their thoughts on where it’s going, we can be connected to every individual employee.” Mills also states that Seasalt Cornwall doesn’t “have a natural hierarchical trajectory that you might find in other businesses”. Hampton notes that another benefit of this continual communication is the ability to provide staff with more “directed opportunities”. Mills explains this further: “We always try to make sure that there are meaningful connections between managers and their staff. Especially in-store when they become such a close-knit team.” This is also reflected in the company’s move away from twice-yearly employee reviews where managers look back on employees’ performances over the past six months, and instead changing to “future-focused, objective-setting monthly catch ups or check-ins. These enable people to have coaching conversations and look at those objectives regularly to allow for more changes as
Seasalt Cornwall is a fashion retailer with over 1,000 employees across 64 stores
” James Hampton, Head of Development and Engagement, Seasalt Cornwall
In addition, Mills and Hampton explain the “emerging leadership programme” that was introduced this year. Hampton says: “We make sure we look at the bigger picture of how people learn, when they learn the most, and what’s going to have the most impact.” He explains that they tried to modernise this approach, and partner with all parts of the business to collectively take a more “performance-led approach to people development”. “We started doing a lot of development on our leadership. There are people in many businesses who are promoted to management or leadership roles and never receive any leadership development. We
Georgie Mills, Head of HR for Retail, Seasalt Cornwall
really wanted to future-proof our progression and succession around the business, and look to promote and develop people who really want to be leaders. We want to teach, coach, and support them through what we feel leadership looks like at Seasalt, and what we feel leadership looks like as a whole,” he says. “We want to support our leaders before they get promoted.” Moreover, connecting and communicating with employees at all levels across the business became a top priority for the company in 2018. Hampton says that this was to encourage an open dialogue between the employees and the leaders in the
business, to enable employees to highlight any concerns they might have for the purpose of dealing with emerging issues before they became problems, and to give individual managers targeted support based on feedback. Digital surveys began to be conducted, and gave every member of staff the opportunity to take part. Mills says that, “particularly in our stores, we took some practical steps and kept things very simple to ensure providing feedback was easy and accessible for everyone”. She says that this proved successful in encouraging employee involvement: “We were all quite happily surprised at the high participation and engagement percentages.” This ties into Seasalt Cornwall’s belief that all staff should have an influential voice in the business. Hampton says: “The managers and leaders are key to employee engagement so we focus the surveys on their performance and ensure that everyone knows that they can influence where things are going. But also to widen that conversation across the business so communication is open and transparent, and all employees felt like they have a voice that matters and is heard. Equally, we make sure those managers are able to receive that feedback effectively, and to remove the barriers of hierarchy for better communication and act on the feedback they receive.” Mills explains that feedback is redistributed back to teams efficiently. “We take a structured approach after each survey in ensuring that results get back to teams very quickly. Team members are quickly able to see results and managers can conduct meetings to discuss results. Every manager is responsible for driving an action which engages their team as a result of that feedback.” She adds that moving forward her focus will be to ensure that new and different change happens each year as a result of employee feedback to keep enthusiasm and engagement high, and for Seasalt Cornwall to remain “a different kind of retailer”. Hampton finishes by summarising why the surveys have been so effective in encouraging employee engagement. “Our staff feel happy to share feedback because they can see changes taking place as a result of the surveys. If we don’t take the business down a route that has been suggested, we ensure to always give some rationale behind the decision so people understand that their perspective was still considered. The surveys have created far more conversations around progress and ideas for positive change to enhance that community-feel at Seasalt Cornwall.”
ENGAGE EMPLOYEE COMMERCIAL FEATURE
Why basic kindness is still a leader’s greatest asset Be At One describes why appreciating and getting to know its staff, celebrating their successes, and making the workplace fun, have been the most successful, yet simple, factors in its employee engagement and retainment.
e At One, the cocktail bar chain, was founded with the purpose of giving people a place to enjoy themselves and to feel comfortable letting their hair down, exactly as they are – treating its visitors as guests, not just customers. This amiable approach also extends to behind the scenes, where staff are encouraged to both work and play hard in the workplace, and any position of seniority comes with an expectation to prioritise building friendly relationships with subordinates. Chris Lincoln, Head of Learning and Development at Be At One, explains this further. “I think that society overall has become really complex in all aspects, and I think that’s gotten in the way of the basic human contact that we all require. It just means building that connection with your teams, and looking for leaders to interact with people who do the job day in, day out, and perform the role that they require.” He states that transparency and communication are vital in keeping employees feeling positive towards their managers and the business in general. “They really just want to know who they’re working for, and it’s nothing complicated; you’ve got to take the time to talk to people and learn about them. Once they know that we actually care, and we talk to them about the role and what’s expected of them, and what we want them to achieve, that’s really appreciated and they feel like they can buy into that, and into you, and the business – and that directly impacts their motivation.” Staying true to these values, Be At One implemented a career pathway for its bartenders, maintaining simplicity as a key element. “The career pathway was a really simple way of showing people what was available to them, and what they needed to do to
I think that society overall has become really complex in all aspects, and I think that’s gotten in the way of the basic human contact that we all require
progress within the business. We wanted to make sure there were lots of achievable goals along the way that gave the teams nationally industry-recognised qualifications, so that they felt like we were giving them something back.” Lincoln continues: “With that in mind, we became the first business in the industry to be accredited by the World Flair Association; we then set ourselves up with the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, and then finally we actually built our own accredited programme with Highfield Qualifications, which was another industry first. This programme was built around the knowledge of our bartenders, which means that the certificate is theirs, and they own it. It demonstrates to the industry
ENGAGE EMPLOYEE COMMERCIAL FEATURE
We make a public display of our recognition because we are so genuinely impressed and proud of their achievements. This also encourages people to aim for their next goal, which in turn drives the engagement of the career pathway.
their level of skill, and recognises the hard work that they do day in and day out.” He explains that all staff are automatically enrolled as trainees, and the initial training that allows them to qualify as bartenders takes around 6-9 weeks. This is when they “learn how to free pour, learn various types of cocktails, mental resilience to the hospitality industry, guest interaction, and all of the cocktails that we serve to our guests.” “Once you become certified, we encourage everyone to continuously develop, but they can do it at their own speed. Nobody is forced to do anything they don’t want to, but Be At One’s bartenders are all very proud of the skills that they have, as are we, so naturally they look to improve themselves continuously. We have an extremely skilled group of learning and development managers as well who support the bartenders through their journey on the pathway, advising the teams on what is available to them and how they get there, along with what the return would be once achieved.” This encouragement for development has resulted in 90% of staff working towards career progression goals at any one stage. Lincoln states: “This is really driven from our People Director, Gillian Lambden, who really sees the value in team involvement, and drives engagement and ensures that there are continuous avenues for communication between the leaders and staff on the ground.” Lincoln highlights the fact that Be At One ensures to celebrate every single milestone of the pathway that is achieved with a party. “The Learning and development manager will meet with the team member to celebrate their success and then advise on the next stage, which again builds that engagement further throughout people’s careers.” He says that implementing a “culture of recognition” is easy at Be At One, as they believe that the dedication required to achieve a certification of any level deserves to be rewarded. “We make a public display of our recognition
Chris Lincoln, Head of Learning and Development, Be At One
because we are so genuinely impressed and proud of their achievements. This also encourages people to aim for their next goal, which in turn drives the engagement of the career pathway.” Lincoln says this is also done in line with the friendly and encouraging nature of the business in general. All senior and management personnel are highly encouraged to be chatty and inquisitive with employees – getting to know staff beyond their place in the business. Moving forward, Be At One is looking to implement further development programmes for their more junior staff, as well as placing more focus on their management training and development, in conjunction with Stonegate which bought Be At One last year. “We also want to increase the certifications of our
bartenders to more advanced levels, which obviously leads to more offerings for them.” This investment in employees’ development also benefits the company’s profits directly. “Ultimately, the more highly skilled the bartender becomes the faster they can serve the guests, leading to a higher income generated from them naturally. More importantly, they feel valued and pride in what they’ve achieved, which in turn then leads to improved retention.” “If you show an actual appreciation for the people working for you, and for the business itself, the returns are simple: people want to work with you, and they want to stay.”
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ENGAGE EMPLOYEE FOCUS ON
Building a digital culture Have you ever thought that if only you had more information, you could solve all your problems? With an estimated 90% of the world’s data being generated in the last two years, it seems like we should have all the answers. But there’s a big difference between simply accumulating information and using it in a targeted way to get the answers you need. The need to synthesize and apply data is at the heart of today’s obsession with using digital technologies to streamline everything we do.
A Melissa Harper, Senior Vice President of Global Talent and Inclusion Bayer
t Bayer, the term ‘digital transformation’ describes how to leverage data and technology in a way that improves decisionmaking, increases innovation and enhances business performance. While this may seem relatively straightforward, the process is entirely dependent on establishing a digital culture. For a company that started 150 years ago as a small collaboration between friends that has grown to a global life science company that employs more than 100,000 people in 90 countries, building a high-performing digital culture that fosters innovation and growth has become a business necessity. Innovation: we need it now more than ever Our world is facing extraordinary challenges. Increasing population growth and life expectancy will test the limits of our ability to provide adequate food and healthcare, especially in a world of limited natural resources. Emerging digital technologies will play an increasingly vital role in addressing the challenge of sustainably feeding and healing a growing and aging population. But even as we apply new digital solutions to today’s challenges, we must recognize that the search for innovation never stops. Each leap forward eventually is met with a challenge that
requires human ingenuity to overcome. Digital Culture: the foundation of true transformation With human ingenuity at the center of any real transformation, we believe that our culture needs to keep pace – or even outpace – the digital revolution taking over our industry. When we say ‘digital culture,’ we are talking about a workplace environment that facilitates the transformation of vast amounts of data into meaningful insights to inform our decision-making. This means translating large, complex sets of data into understandable and consumable information that enables employees and customers to find solutions faster and more efficiently. But the key to finding these innovative tools begins with instilling a ‘digital first mindset’ throughout our organisation. At Bayer, we are refocusing our efforts to address our digital employment needs through a dynamic ‘re-skilling’ process. This involves not only critical thinking and re-training but also a recalibration of our recruitment philosophy. Much like the path Bayer is taking with our ‘open innovation’ research strategy, we are looking beyond our internal organisation by expanding the role of a contingent workforce, including a more flexible, less one-size-fits-all approach, so that we can stay ahead of the digital curve. In
a world of rapid change, a ‘not invented here’ mentality is no recipe for success. Achieving success in a digital environment also requires a reimagination of how we connect with each other. In an era of instantaneous communication and overlapping generations with divergent perspectives, there is no uniform process that applies to an entire workforce. Hyperpersonalisation builds on this reality by taking a deeper dive into understanding what drives individual performance to optimise learning and development and to enhance the overall work experience. Through constant connectiveness, companies can strive to satisfy the specific needs of each of their employees, while also fostering a healthy work/life balance. At the center of the future workplace is understanding how best to pair the role of AI with human ingenuity to make sure employees are achieving – and customers are getting – the efficient solutions they desire in a thoughtful, customised way. Digital leadership: measured and directed by data and insights Building a new digital culture requires leadership and commitment to a vision. In fact, Bayer actually generates data that provides insights into our leadership to help us drive better business decisions across the
board. We’ve learned that the qualities of a high-performing digital leader are not much different than that of any other great leader – they should be able to inspire and motivate employees to follow a strategic path. At a fundamental level, digital leaders must possess a basic technical competency that enables them to clearly understand the market implications of a potential new digital technology. But technical acumen is not enough – digital leaders also must be able to develop people and build empowered teams that are diverse, inclusive and highly customerfocused. Training corporate leaders to adopt these strategies and assume this mindset is imperative to shoring up your talent pipeline and responding to the needs of this workforce of the future. Leveraging different forms of measurement and pulse surveys across your organisation is also crucial to generating data, measuring employee engagement, and quantifying leadership effectiveness. At Bayer we have quarterly pulse surveys that generate employee feedback on leadership. This consistent ‘pulsing’ of data gives us the opportunity to acquire more information in real time and catalyse impactful change in a timely way. The data we gather also helps predict outcomes such as attrition and engagement – giving us visibility into the future and allowing us to plan accordingly.
Adaptability and openness: the key to bringing forward this transformation Companies must become more flexible and agile in structuring their teams to prepare for a future that is undergoing rapid and continuous change. Creating the innovations that provide customer solutions and drive business success can only come from a workforce that is willing to adapt to change by creating a culture that is personalized, visionary and relentless in its pursuit of excellence. A company that embraces a transformative digital culture is a company that wins.
With human ingenuity at the center of any real transformation, we believe that our culture needs to keep pace – or even outpace – the digital revolution taking over our industry
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Shaping better technological progression through employee involvement Waitrose explains why technological advancements have been implemented in handsets for staff on the shop floor, the method of effectively including employees in the process, and why their involvement has led to a better device.
he John Lewis Partnership is known for putting its employees at the centre of all aspects of the business, and is one of the largest employee-owned businesses in Europe. There are around 85,000 employees across over 400 stores between Waitrose and John Lewis, who are all shareholders and benefit directly from the business’ successes in the form of an annual bonus. Stuart Eames, Retail Innovation Lead at Waitrose, explains that giving employees a financial stake in the business means staff care more about playing an active role and contributing to the business’ success. The fact that staff are shareholders is also why they are called ‘partners’ as opposed to ‘employees’. Eames says: “Employee engagement should come pretty naturally to people in our business. We have an active stake, we want the business to do well, and we desperately want and should be submitting ideas.” Nevertheless, he says that effectively engaging employees in change at a business follows five clear steps: the first being ‘start with the problem’. Eames expands on this: “A lot of businesses will start with the solution rather than the problem. Identify what the problems are that you’re trying to solve, corroborate that those problems
exist, and collaborate on deciding the most suitable next step.” The second is ‘tell the story’. “Becoming storytellers is the new thing that everyone’s focused on.” Eames says that it is important to know your audience and to tailor the message appropriately. “If you are able to take an existing problem and then put it into a story and language that really engages the people working in those particular areas, it makes it a much easier sell.” The third is ‘work the engagement angle’. “This is easily the most important part of your story. When you have a great project that you’re launching, the more you can communicate, the more you can get above, the more you can engage with employees, then the more they can be involved in, and excited by, things that are happening, too. Tell stories, tell people the great success, the bad success, and the things you should watch out for. Those are all really important.” The fourth is ‘listen as you roll’. “Many projects get landed, and land at speed, and then the problems are mopped up as they’re finished. The more feedback and the more ideas you can get to be able to make it better for the next person to receive is
easily one of the most important elements of any successful project.” Eames also says that problems being listened to and acted upon throughout the process of change is also a significant contributor to improved employee engagement. The fifth and final step is ‘life doesn’t stop’. “Whenever you finish a project and breathe a sigh of relief that you’ve finished and can move on, remember that in a few years’ time you’ll be revisiting that project to progress it to the next stage or develop it further.” He highlights the importance of putting in the extra work now to set yourself up for success in the future so projects don’t stagnate and important details aren’t lost over time. “It’s really important to set yourself up with someone managing that project with an ongoing development fund and a stream of ideas to be able to keep doing something better and better in that space for continual improvement”. So how was this method implemented in the recent technological advancements made at Waitrose? Eames explains that Waitrose was using several dated devices in-store that only performed one function each, and there weren’t enough to meet demand. “Those devices were getting old and becoming less
reliable, and because there wasn’t enough of them to go around there were examples when people couldn’t do their job because they were waiting for the availability of a device.” “So, we took all of the applications in all of those single-use devices – with the functions of quick check, re-scan capability, telephone, stock management, and our click and collect functionality – and we re-platformed them onto an existing android platform, Google+, and it allowed them to go onto a single device that was multi-functional.” Eames explains that Waitrose then distributed enough devices, named the ‘MFD handsets’, for the average number of employees in each Waitrose store – ranging between eight in the smallest stores and 56 in the largest stores. The result was a “fully connected workforce” where every employee had access to all of the functions of the old devices at once, which becomes particularly essential during the busiest periods such as Black Friday or Christmas. Eames says: “We also benefit from stock management where people are allowed to do stock management routines there and then, as opposed to always needing to wait.”
All of the issues with the previous singleuse devices were solved with the new multi-functional device. “We saw partner efficiency go up and maintenance and support costs come down, so all in all it’s been a really successful roll-out. What we see more and more is just how game changing for partner efficiency and functionality it has been, too.” He adds that there has been more excitement from staff around this roll-out than around any other project across Waitrose. This excitement from staff is, at least in part, because partners on the shop floor were very much included in the development of the device. Eames states that one of the benefits of a technologyrun roll-out is the ability to place a feedback mechanism on the device. “We put a google-initiated feedback form on the MFD handsets that allowed partners to give their input as they were experiencing the device for the first time, and as they were using it throughout the day. This gave us this fantastic rich content of ideas for improvement, and insight on what changes to prioritise. The more advice we got the better as we continued to roll out that project.” He says partner feedback will continue to be taken on board as the device is developed further.
Stuart Eames, Retail Innovation Lead, Waitrose
He also mentions the fact that inviting partner feedback is not new to Waitrose. “Employee engagement is continuous, so we always ask our partners pulse surveys to see how they feel, and how engaged they are. We have a partner ideas website which allows us to receive an idea from anybody in our business at any point, which allows us to see where the problem areas are, and we can invite feedback and ideas for solutions on specific topics as well. If you are a business that is considering the power and the benefits associated with employee ideas, don’t just look in one place. You’ll be in surprised how many great ideas you get from all over your business.” This partner feedback will continue to be a valuable asset to further technological advancements made by Waitrose in the future. “There will be more changes to the MFD handset moving forward – we’re going to make it more functional; we’ve only just scratched the surface so far.”
ENGAGE EMPLOYEE FEATURE
How inclusive values can boost business Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club explains how its strong valuesdriven approach has resulted in engaged employees, loyal fans, an involved local community, and has increased profits.
he focus on employee wellbeing and ethical business is at an alltime high, and Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club are a clear example of how to approach this in a well-rounded, effective way that both directly and indirectly benefits revenue.
Paul Barber, Chief Executive and Deputy Chairman, Brighton and Hove Albion FC
This is achieved through a set of values through which all decisions are made, and all achievements are measured by. Paul Barber, Chief Executive and Deputy Chairman at Brighton and Hove Albion FC, explains: “Our brand values really revolve around four key things: treating people well, exceeding expectations, aiming high, and making whatever we do special. These behaviours drive our business, they define the behaviour we expect from our employees, our suppliers, and partners; they inform our decision-making, and they set expectations for the whole organisation.” Barber says that the values are implemented effectively because they come from the employees themselves. “They were devised through a consultative process involving many of our staff, different suppliers, and different stakeholders in the organisation. When people have a very clear set of values by which they can work and live their lives within an organisation, then the standards that are expected of them and the way they should conduct themselves is very clear.”
He explains that staff also understand that when these values aren’t upheld there are consequences. “It certainly doesn’t make us perfect, we still make mistakes, but it means that we don’t shy away from making tough decisions either. We’re prepared to live and die by our values, and when our partners don’t live up to the way that we wish to operate then we make changes.” One of the key focuses of the brand values is to increase employee engagement and wellbeing. Every single staff member is included in the bonus structure, which sets Brighton and Hove Albion apart from most football clubs. “A lot of professional clubs will have bonus structures for the athletes designed to drive high performance. What we found was that our employees were not motivated or incentivised in the same way, and there was a disconnect between the athletic side of the club and the administrative side of the club.” The club addressed this divide, and worked to narrow the gap. “Three years ago, we implemented a programme where all staff benefit from the success of the team on the pitch. Employees were entitled to 20% of their annual salary when we got promoted to the premier league, and since we’ve been in the premier league employees are entitled to 10% of their base salary plus 2% more for every place we finish above the relegation zone. This both motivates our non-athletic staff to support the
athletes the best they possibly can, in every way that they can, and when those athletes are successful then all of our employees share in the financial success that we have.” However, this bonus does still need to be earned. “At the end of the year that bonus structure is reviewed against the values, and if employees haven’t lived the values throughout the year then they lose percentage points from their bonus.” He says that this is “designed to unify the spirit in the club as much as the performance,” and has proven a success. The club also introduced a healthy eating programme, and provides free breakfasts and lunches to all staff. Barber says this has the dual benefit of “driving better performance for everyone” by increasing staff health, and increasing the “sociability” of the club between different departments, growing the team culture and morale. “We spend a lot of time thinking about how we can make our working environment better, and how we can improve the performance of our employees through that environment.” Barber adds that due to the “unique geographical position” of the club, they are “very committed to equality, inclusion, and diversity” for both fans and employees. He says: “We feel that in a city as diverse as Brighton we need to reflect our community and our population, and we do that as best we can.” Furthermore, the values of ‘treating people well’ and ‘making it special’ entwine in the way Brighton and Hove
Albion approach the fan experience. When visitors arrive on ‘special’ days, such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, special birthdays or anniversaries, or a child’s first game, they can expect a little gift “waiting for them on their seat when they arrive to commemorate the occasion”. Barber continues: “It tends to be football’s way that visiting fans are made to feel unwelcome, but our policy is a little different. We will import their local beer, if there’s a special food type that they enjoy we’ll prepare it. We sell their merchandise, we show their goals on our screens inside the concourse area where the away fans gather, we might light the concourses in their colours if they are different to ours, and we just try to make them feel as welcome as possible.” He explains that this has multiple positives affects. “We find that our staff are treated with more respect, the visiting fans spend more money, we have less damage to our stadium, and everyone goes away win, lose, or draw, having had a great day,” he says. “This is better for our business, it’s better for our employees, and we think it goes towards making for a better game, and this is something that we’ve now been doing for eight years.” In addition, the club works to maintain a positive relationship with the local community. “We are very committed to the local economy and we are a major employer on the south coast. We already employ nearly 1,000 people around each of our match days; we try and engage as many local firms as we can as we can for supplies for the stadium, local workforces
to maintain the stadium, and any additional building work that we do.” This also extends to more personable investments. “We engage with over 50,000 members of the local community each year through our club’s charity, Albion In The Community, in different programmes to improve their health and wellbeing, to educate them, to support schools’ programmes, and increase the number of people, both able-bodied and disabled, participating in football.” Nevertheless, he explains that these decisions are not purely altruistic. “This is a very big part of the way we build our brand and reputation, and it has a great way of paying back. We tend to get an increased level of loyalty from our supporters, many of whom have family and friends who have engaged in our programmes in the community, and by boosting the local economy we help to keep people in jobs, which in turn means they are able to afford to come to football matches.” “There is a business reason for us wanting to run the football club this way, but we feel it’s important. We’ve got a high profile, which helps us to promote what we do very easily, and we feel it’s a good way to set an example that others might follow.”
ENGAGE EMPLOYEE FEATURE
Transforming employee engagement through leaders and company culture Daniel Thwaites explains how it significantly improved its employee engagement and retainment on a budget through investing in culture and leaders.
ounded in 1977, the family-owned, multi-faceted hospitality business, Daniel Thwaites, is best known for its brewery, but also has over 20 hotels and inns, and over 240 tenantleased pubs across the UK. It employs a small number of brewers within its staff of 1,600, and the own-brand ale they make is exclusively sold in Daniel Thwaites properties. The company is also known for its shire horses, which historically were used to deliver ales to local pubs in the Blackburn area, and now are famous for making appearances at Daniel Thwaites properties nationally. Joanne Carlin, Director of People and Development at Daniel Thwaites, says although the company was in a good financial position when she joined in 2016, due to recently selling the Beer Co., it did have a high employee turnover rate of 62%, and in the previous year the business had “effectively stood still”, which both required immediate change. “I think it’s fair to say that we’d been so focused on the financial side and selling the Beer Co. that we hadn’t really paid as much attention to the health of the people turnover. That needed some serious thought.” She also notes that, at the time, the three different strands of the business – the head office and brewery, the hotels, and the inns – all operated completely separately and there was no communication or cross-over of staff between them. Carlin explains what she was brought in to achieve. “My remit was quite a simple one, and it was that we wanted to grow our business to acquisition, and we wanted to invest in our current properties to make the most of what we had.” “We needed to grow our business by six properties in a 12-month period. One of the
first things that I did in the first 30 days was just to really ensure I understood how many people we would need, and when we would need them by. We needed to grow; we had committed the funds to buy the new properties, and the people strategy needed to be realistic and reflect that.” She also describes the arduous nature of the hiring process at the time, taking “in excess of 60 days to fill a post”, which wasn’t sustainable in the fast-paced hospitality industry, and also needed rethinking. A strategy for change was created. “I looked at five things: ‘brilliant basics’, ‘having a future for organisation’, meaning did we have the right people at that time in the right roles with the right skills, ‘leadership and capability’, we needed our leaders to be people-focused and to lead with both heart and mind to capture our team members, and ‘talent attraction and retention’.” Realistically, however, although implementing all five pillars equally was ideal, Carlin and her team knew prioritising was vital to achieve their objectives within the set 12 month period. “We knew we had to pick the 20% of things that were going to have an 80% impact. We decided to focus on culture and leaders.” Which proved a success. Carlin believes that “innovation happens bottom up”, so she ran 58 workshops to discuss ideas and gain feedback from over 900 Daniel Thwaites employees. “They are going to hold the answers to most of the questions you’re asking yourself as a business. However, you’ve got to make sure you’re asking the right
questions, and you’ve got to be brave enough to listen to the answers.” This resulted in 2,500 notes of feedback from employees. “We asked them what they thought the values of the business should be, and what they would like them to be. What they thought we were great at, and what they thought we were not great at. What they loved; what they didn’t love.” This led to the company’s new guiding principles. Carlin says these have been embraced successfully by employees because they were involved in building and designing them. “Our team members own them,
Joanne Carlin, Director of People and Development, Daniel Thwaites
evolving your thinking as you develop a deeper understanding of the business, and being open to changing your strategy or language if something isn’t working as it should. Over time, the leadership academy was developed into three stages, and programmes were re-named where appropriate to enhance their success-rate or become more inclusive to invite employees from a wider range of levels in the business to take part. When apprenticeships aren’t used, Daniel Thwaites will utilise “modules or a series of workshops, or employees can get involved in cross-functional project work.” Through developing language over time, the ‘general manager of the future’ programme became the ‘emerging leaders’ talent programme to appeal to all employees who wanted to advance their careers or develop in their current roles; most apprenticeships became ‘career pathways’ to appeal to a wider range of ages. The ‘leading millennials’ module became ‘leading through the generations’ to reflect the change in teaching leaders that they needed to “adapt their own style in order to lead the generations, as opposed to those people adapting to them. That was quite a seismic shift in thinking for them.” Carlin says this proved a huge success. “The other thing that had a significant impact is coaching and mentoring, and giving our line managers at all levels the ability to flex their style, and flex the way they ask people for things.” Carlin says that this has created a positive ripple effect, which is one of the most significant achievements of the company over the past three years. “You can see it. You get feedback from people and it just grows and grows because people pay it forward. If you have a line manager that’s able to have better conversations with you, then when you become a supervisor or team leader by default you’re going to have better conversations with your staff.” Since these changes have been implemented, the employee turnover rate has reduced by 10%, which is particularly significant in the hospitality industry.
and they love them for that.” She says it was also clear at Daniel Thwaites that the right leader was a “catalyst for potential success”. To gain an inside perspective on the best attributes, skills, experience, and behaviours needed in these leaders, further feedback workshops were run for the general and senior managers from all divisions of the business across the UK. “We tried to get them to think about what they would want in a manager in a way in which was both self-reflective of their own management style, but also allowed them to reflect on how they are currently being managed.” The information gained in these sessions
became the foundation of Daniel Thwaites’ new pillars and leadership programme. Carlin describes the four main pillars of the leadership programme: “Leading people, leading change, leading business, and coaching and mentoring.” She continues: “part of these pillars was to look at buckets of skills, as they call them, so we looked at three buckets of skills which fit into these: technical skills, commercial acumen, and behavioural skills, and then frame what we actually need from a leader and a general manager.” She also highlights the importance of
Additionally, the ability to be flexible and adaptable whilst thinking ahead and progressing is also now firmly imbedded in the company culture. “We are constantly evolving, and we’re definitely going to start using our career pathways and our academies externally. We have proved it works, and now we need to feel secure in that and tell people coming into the business about our academies and apprenticeships, and all of the ways we can develop and grow them as individuals in Daniel Thwaites.” “We don’t leave any stone unturned; we’re quite happy getting into the difficult situations that hospitality, and potentially other sectors, find themselves in at certain times. We think, let’s just be honest about what our problems are, and always find a way forward.”
ENGAGE EMPLOYEE FEATURE
How structured career progression boosts morale and reduces turnover Inditex, one of the world’s largest fashion retailers and parent company of Zara, explains how accessible career progression and a dedication to internal promotions has transformed its employee engagement and motivation.
he fashion retail industry is a fastpaced environment with a traditionally high employee turnover rate. For the major fashion retailer Inditex, with over 150,000 employees across over 7,000 stores globally between its eight brands, investing in growing and developing employees is proving successful in boosting staff satisfaction, motivation, and retainment. Inditex believes that it is crucial for companies to actively motivate their employees and improve engagement, both
for the staff’s wellbeing, and because satisfied, driven, and productive staff results in satisfied customers. At Inditex, managers conduct monthly one-to-one meetings with their employees to evaluate their performance, provide feedback, set goals, provide training support, and assess their potential to develop. Pablo Camba, Head of HR at Inditex, explains: “We work very hard to provide our employees tools and support for them to progress as much
as they wish.” He says this has proven successful, and the positive effect of this is most evident in Inditex’s headquarters, where “83% of the current employees started their career at the company in the stores,” and climbed the ladder through internal promotions. For this to be achieved, defined career progression structures must be in place. Camba states: “It is very important that all the steps are very clear for employees to understand
what they have to do in order to progress. The process is well explained and very easy to follow.” There are two assessment stages within the training. “We have designed a number of activities that help us to identify if the employees have specific skills developed enough to join the management programme. The first stage measures hard skills and is based on an exercise that is instore with their own manager; if they are successful at this stage then they move forward to the second stage, a ‘development day’, which is out of store and assesses the employee’s soft skills. We try to take them out of their comfort zone.” Camba expands on this: “In 2018 we managed to have over 40 development days within the UK. We don’t tend to assess
more than 20 employees at the same time. This is just to make sure that all of our observers are going to be able to fully assess and speak openly about how the candidates are behaving.” For the “10 to 15%” of attendees who are unsuccessful at this stage, they are invited to try again at a later date. “We take the opportunity to set new goals to develop those skills that we didn’t manage to observe in the development day, and then we invite them to come again once they have managed to improve those areas.” “Once they are successful in the first and second assessments, they can officially join the managerial programme to guide them through their training programme, and to help them understand the goals and objectives that they need to achieve in order to be able to be promoted in the future.” To prepare for these assessments, staff are given training booklets to complete specific to the promotion or position they would like to work towards. “We have several booklets with different programmes depending on the career path that the individual wants to follow. Each booklet also has different levels of training depending on the level of seniority that the employee has, and the level of seniority that they would like to reach.” Camba continues: “Every single employee on the programme has a trainer in the store who is in charge of following-up the training itself.” These trainers set appropriate action plans for the employees, and progress is reviewed bi-weekly for regular feedback and support. “When eventually the trainer feels that all of the areas have been successfully covered, they inform their location manager, who further checks and reviews the completion of the training.” Once the training has been signed off, a ‘floor walk’ takes place. The regional manager and regional HR personnel “review all the evidence from the training in order to ensure that all of the areas have been ticked successfully. It will take between two to three hours, depending of the seniority of the position, or if more
Pablo Camba, Head of HR, Inditex
training will be required in the future.” After the ‘floor walk’, there are two likely outcomes. If the training has been successful, then the HR manager will approve the candidate as applicable to apply for any future vacancies they are now qualified for. However, if the HR manager can see some areas that haven’t yet been covered in enough depth, the employee will be required to complete further training before they can progress. Employees are able to apply for promotions once they have completed 80% of the required training for the position, however it is essential that they complete the final 20% before actually being promoted. This accessible and clearly structured career progression has significantly improved employee engagement and motivation within Inditex’s brands, strengthening the company’s workforce and resultingly benefitting customer satisfaction. Moving forward, employee engagement will continue to be a key focus for Inditex. Camba says: ‘the following years are going to be challenging for the all retailers in the fashion industry. The environment is changing, so we need to do our best to guarantee that our employees are as happy as possible in the work environment. Internal promotions will be, and have been so far, our main tool to achieve that, even though there are also many other areas that we are trying to boost to guarantee that we retain employees as much as possible in our stores. We are working very hard with wellbeing initiatives in order to improve the work environment for our employees.”
ENGAGE EMPLOYEE FEATURE
Finding the right flexibility for your company Wellcome explains why it initially wanted to pursue a four-day week for its employees’ productivity, diversity, and wellbeing, before deciding that other forms of flexible working were more appropriate for suiting its employees’ needs across the board.
ellcome, a London-based charitable foundation with a global remit, exists to improve health by helping great ideas to thrive. About £1 billion is spent per year supporting researchers, taking on health challenges, campaigning for better science, and generally helping the public get involved with science and health research. Chris Newstead, Head of Internal Communications at Wellcome, describes why he initially wanted to explore the possibility of a four-day week. “We need to disrupt the notion that our working time is an infinite resource. I think we all know that when we step back time is ticking, yet when we’re at work we treat our time in a very haphazard manner. We need to be far more selective on the time that we do present as available to work, and to use that time as wisely as possible.” He explains that the main driver at Wellcome for the four-day week being implemented was the prospect of improved productivity, diversity, and wellbeing. “It would help productivity based on the maxim that restricted time increases productivity, and at some stage there’s a tipping point where the more you work the less you achieve. This can be due to sloppiness because you’re tired; you could be less focused because you have less energy, or you’re less able to prioritise.” “For diversity, it would help to create a workforce that has different needs, certainly with flexibility around when they can work and what works for them. Further to this, the type of people that you might attract with the proposition of a four-day week might be different to the people you would traditionally
get with the proposition of a standard five-day working environment.”
Chris Newstead, Head of Internal Communications, Wellcome
Newstead says it could also be beneficial to employee’s mental, physical, and even spiritual wellbeing. In regards to mental wellbeing, “giving less time to your employer allows more time to be given to other areas of your life. Hopefully that would lessen stress, lessen worry, and lessen concern.” For physical wellbeing, “there would be more time to devote to physical activity in your life given the fact that you’d have three days not working each week. This can give people the option of using that time for going to the gym, exercising outside, or spending active time with their family.” Finally, he says spiritual wellbeing could be benefitted “because you would be working less you could look at your life in a broader context and use your time differently.” “Putting some boundaries around work helps you really focus on what’s important and what you need to do with your life. Having less time in the office can make you much more focused on the time you do have; it helps you use your time in a much more considered fashion, and helps you value the time away from work more.” Newstead states that if reducing working days were to be put in place at any company, legislating it would be essential to create healthy boundaries for people to navigate. He says this is similar to the situation several
companies found when removing limits on the number of days of annual leave employees could take, which resulted in staff taking fewer holiday days than when they were limited to a contracted amount. “The reality of removing established legislation around annual leave is that people feel an emotional responsibility to their company, and they end up taking far less holiday than they otherwise might be entitled to were it legislated. If you don’t place boundaries, people end up giving too much of themselves and unwittingly are abused by the system which was trying to allow them the maximum freedom.” He notes that this is why Wellcome focused on all employees taking the same day off each week to ensure that everyone did take the allocated time off that they were allowed. Newstead describes the process of the idea of a four-day week being discussed with employees, and how although the notion was initially received well, concerns quickly began to be raised. “It was decided that if it was an idea that would be right for Wellcome it had to be right for everyone. The best way to test that is to run a trial. Many discussions took place with the senior leaders across the organisation to hear their worries
and their hopes based on their strategic goals and what they needed to deliver.” “We involved staff in discussions wherever possible, supported by an ongoing working group with representatives from HR, legal, finance, and communication departments – people that really understood what was happening across the business.” He continues: “Wellcome also has a highly engaged workforce on our intranet, so staff can discuss and share ideas on that digital platform which really helped with collecting feedback.” Newstead explains the main concerns that were raised, which ultimately resulted in the four-day week trial not going ahead in Wellcome, and it being decided that now was not an appropriate time to pursue this specific form of flexible working further. The first was the challenge of wages. “One area of Wellcome is a museum that is open to the public, where staff work a seven-day rota, and trying to drop a day from that rota for each member of staff would have meant an increase in staff hire and an increase in costs.” The second was uneven workloads. “We all have peaks and lows with deadlines. Sometimes you just
need to work five days, or even more, so shutting the office for one day a week would actually be very unhelpful to different teams at different times trying to meet their deadlines.” The third was the concern that less work would be achieved. “A lot of people don’t want to condense their work into four days for worries of not getting it done, and some simply said that they enjoy their jobs and coming into work for the full five days per week suited their lifestyle.” The fourth was domestic conflict. “Wellcome already has lots of staff working part-time, or flexibly to work around other commitments, so shifting their flexible day off to one specific day that might be one of their scheduled working days might be difficult for them. This could add more stress to their lives, which goes against the initial intention of bringing in a four-day working week in the first place.” He finishes by saying that whilst a fourday week might work well for some companies, for Wellcome at this time there needs to be a focus on other forms of flexible working. “You really have to pursue fairness and what’s appropriate for the company as a whole. The four-day week is one part of flexible working, but I think it’s really important to consider individual needs, and I think there’ll be many other things that can be explored and tapped into instead.”
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