Can you describe the programme?
The organisation, which has more than 300 depots and 3,500 employees, supplies equipment and associated services to sectors including construction and UK infrastructure.
One of the programme’s main aims is to evolve Speedy’s current assets and culture, making it fit for purpose in terms of service excellence and operational effectiveness. It’s also an investment in our future and will boost our growth towards becoming an integrated services provider. We named the project ‘Darwin’ after Charles Darwin’s famous theory that it’s not the strongest of the species that survives, but the one that is most adaptable to change. It also emphasises evolution, not revolution.
The initial stage focused on empowering our leaders and managers to understand the roles they would play and use the Speedy message in their everyday work. The message will be filtered down further with the backing of our business leaders, who will be able to provide the inspiration and drive needed to boost staff buy-in, ensuring everyone is aware of their role in the organisation’s future. It will elevate from ‘just another head office initiative’ to a dynamic and relevant programme.
What was the catalyst?
Coming out of the recession, our main aim was to establish Speedy as an integrated services company that uses its excellent client and market knowledge to improve client productivity and profitability while reducing risk.
We needed a clear leadership message that could be fed down to create a culture and way of working that would drive winning performance. The emphasis was the message that these goals could not be achieved without a behavioural change, from a reactive, transactional business to a proactive, transformational one.
Who does the change affect most?
The 24 sub-projects impact everyone, from apprentices to the chief executive.
Our vision requires effort from every member of our depots, sales and support teams. As everyone must maintain their momentum and dedication to achieve our goals, our leadership message has to remain at the forefront of minds.
How have people reacted to the change?
We thought reactions would be along the lines of ‘we’ve heard it all before’ or ‘if we keep quiet it’ll go away’. We also expected a level of apathy or disinterest rooted in a fear of change.
As we’ve launched our leadership training programme, responses have been mixed – including persistent training avoiders and people who enjoyed it so much they want to do it again. The majority of our top 500 managers – the first group to really be impacted by the programme – have been very positive in their feedback. We’ve been surprised by the mixed response from our middle and senior managers, who have seemed less ‘on board’ with the changes.
What are the timescales for the project?
The first phase was rolled out across the entirety of 2013.
Progress has been measured through project plans overseen by our strategic programme director. The development team and external partners meet each week and we have regular conference calls to create action plans. These meetings are followed by updates to key stakeholders such as the executive team, senior team and through company-wide communications.
The roll-out of the leadership message programme started the development and coaching of our Top 60 Leader and Top 500 Managers programme. These had to be completed before we could launch the next stage – our ‘One Way’ workshops – introducing a unified approach to best practice.
There was some slippage in this three-month timeline, since business leaders struggled to balance the day-to-day demands of the business against future requirements.
What are the positive outcomes?
Individual depots now share equipment. This had not been common practice previously, as they had been focused on protecting their own revenue. We have worked to cement this positive behaviour within day-to-day business, highlighting where people choose not to share.
The organisation has shown itself to be adaptable to change and successful at delivering it. We have also generated a 150% increase in our share price by enabling the business to target new initiatives with confidence.
Employee engagement has increased and this is something we hope will continue. As the company evolves, pay and prospects will improve – this creates a consistently motivated workforce that is driving and benefiting from the change programme. In the longer term, we hope to see a ‘snowball effect’, which will make it easier to attract the best candidates. As we continue to adapt and change, new recruits will have the opportunity to be part of the change journey, which is a powerful message when looking to secure talent.
Although we have always had great customer intent, this often translated to chaos in the delivery process. Now we have the systems, processes and equipment in place to enable our people to change great intent into exceptional delivery.