Epta is a multinational group specialising in commercial refrigeration, based in Milan and with a worldwide presence. Epta UK was created when the parent company acquired two separate UK companies, but a lack of integration between these two companies, combined with a problem with production, led to some very testing times. Resilient as ever, they resolved the immediate production situation but Epta UK’s senior management team (SMT) were keen to avoid this situation being repeated; particularly as their market place was becoming more competitive with margins heavily challenged. Looking to improve efficiency and motivate their employees in order to build a stronger, more united business the SMT realised they needed to effect a transformation of their organisational culture; starting with working on themselves (as they felt they were not personifying the change they wished to see).
The Desired Outcome
The Epta UK SMT wanted to design and embed a new culture to deliver improved performance and the effective execution of their strategic plan. In doing so they envisaged a new set of behaviours and better ways of working in order to strengthen the organisation.
Increasing the motivation and engagement of their staff were also key aims for the change initiative, along with the enhancement of their own leadership capabilities in order to successfully lead this transformation.
We were asked to lead an end to end cultural insight, design and implementation project, which included:
- Assessing the current culture, including identifying blockers and enablers to future performance;
- Design the future Epta UK culture, with supporting visual imagery;
- Development of expected behaviours and ways of based on the newly defined culture;
- Create and implement a communications and engagement plan to support embedding the new culture;
- Develop and implement the roadmap for embedding the new culture throughout the organisation;
- Improving the leadership capabilities of the SMT.
We used our core structured methodology, underpinned with a developmental approach for the SMT, upskilling them as an integral part of the project.
We completed a Culture Consultancy Organisation Culture Assessment™ using a combination of surveys, focus groups and structured interviews. We also conducted additional insight gathering around the cultural dynamics between Epta UK and the parent company, Epta Group.
Deep analysis of the insights and performance data enabled us to identify the performance inhibitors and enablers in the existing culture. This stage concluded with an SMT workshop where we validated the conclusions, agreed on the case for change and gained full buy-in to the potential cultural change journey which would follow.
Design & Engage
Working with the SMT, we designed a future-fit culture which we articulated in the form of an Epta UK Way; one that provided clarity on the desired ways of working for all staff in the UK, whilst also aligned with the spirit and intent of the Epta Group Values, Code of Practice and Guiding Principles. As well as crafting the description of the new culture we also created visual designs to further embed the new Epta UK Way within their communications.
A behavioural competency framework was developed creating a direct alignment between the Epta UK Way and expected behaviours; providing clarity to everyone. We adopted a facilitative approach to the development of the framework by forming a working group (made up of representatives from across the whole organisation) to shape the detail. This ensured engagement with, and ownership of, the resulting outputs which would play a key role in the success of their implementation
No matter how well-designed, culture change will only become embedded across the organisation once every individual has engaged with the change journey. Engaging in an organisation-wide conversation is therefore pivotal to success. Using our 4Es Human Change Principles we developed a twelve-month engaging communication plan and supported the SMT in the development and delivery of a launch roadshow to all staff around the UK.
A launch roadshow and supporting communications alone was not going to bring about the culture change; it required a well-considered implementation roadmap, one which would prioritise gaining early traction in achieving visible impact for the staff, as well as the business. Working with the SMT, we, therefore, developed an implementation roadmap for embedding the new culture into work practices across the UK organization; wherever possible leveraging other strategic initiatives to help bring about the cultural shift.
The launch roadshow events engaged people in such a way that many people have volunteered to lead or be part of key change initiatives to improve ways of working in line with the new Epta UK Way, honing effectiveness and efficiencies, as a consequence.
The process of embedding the Epta UK Way is ongoing so the full benefits are yet to be experienced. However, there are several benefits already being seen by the company including:
- A clear focus on how the SMT works together and what it needs to do. This has reduced firefighting and led to some early improvements in efficiency
- Motivation across the company has improved – “The SMT see how much passion there is on the shop floor that they have never seen before”.
- A staff-driven programme is underway focusing upon reducing waste, ultimately aiming to improve margin and competitiveness without needing to increase customer pricing.
- Expected behaviours have been hardwired into the business through a robust appraisals process, enabling better quality conversations.
- The SMT meetings have improved quite dramatically, being much more focused on strategic priorities for the business.
“Through our work with Culture Consultancy, we have created a clear, highly engaging company-wide culture, focused upon achieving effectiveness and efficiency. It’s been a real eye-opener as to the impact that the values-driven behaviours could have in embedding our desired culture and bringing about the much-needed improvement of working practices. We’ve felt supported every step of the way; initially to facilitate and guide us through a structured process for changing our culture; to more latterly, acting as an experienced soundboard or providing very targeted interventions as we grow in confidence and capability ourselves. The ability for you to build rapport quickly and appropriately ask the difficult questions have been key in unlocking some of our underlying challenges.”
David Wormald, HR Director