Case Study 4:
New ways of working to support business growth
The company employed about 350 staff and had a strategy for rapid growth
in order to meet the expectations of shareholders. The Executive recognised
that the company faced powerful competitors with far greater resources
at their disposal, and as such they needed to maximise their ability
to be responsive to customer needs by having a committed and flexible
workforce. One major block to this new way of working was that the management
style had traditionally been autocratic and controlling: managers and
staff were used to being told what to do, rather than taking responsibility
for decision making within their own role.
Our role was to help the management to develop a coaching style that
encouraged job ownership, ensured accountability, and provided support
as well as opportunities for training and development. However, this
also had to be balanced with senior management concerns about loss of
control, as the organisation was very results driven.
We facilitated and coached the Executive as they debated and then gradually
introduced a range of new management policies and practises. These included
performance management, identifying training needs, recruitment, induction,
team briefings, personnel board meetings, and regular consultative meetings
with employee representatives. A management development programme was
established to coach the Executive, managers and supervisors on the
process of performance management: they learned to conduct regular performance
review discussions; they developed interpersonal skills such as asking
questions, listening, giving and receiving feedback.
In a pre-assessment for Investors In People, there was considerable
feedback from interviewees that the company was a very different place
to work compared to two years ago. Staff are better informed, more focused,
have greater responsibility and autonomy within their own role, and
are more able to influence the way strategic initiatives are implemented.
The organisation and has achieved growth targets with financial results
outperforming the sector.
Employees learned how to express their views and concerns and how to
contribute ideas to constructively influence decision-making.