A Case Study:
Goal: ASDA wanted help engaging all their staff and were looking for a high impact solution with minimal ongoing costs.
Outcome: Staff engagement rose significantly across the whole business, especially amongst their 20,000, business-critical, first line managers.
"When I met Nick Green it was obvious he had very clear ideas about empowering and engaging people. He didn’t want to be involved with anything that just ticked boxes. He didn’t want anything that took people away from the shop floor. He didn’t want anything that only senior leaders could use. He didn’t want anything that kept HR busy but had little impact on the bottom line.
What he did want, was something cost effective enough to include everyone and straightforward enough for everyone to understand. One people language, that everyone from the CEO to the latest recruit would use. Something capable of increasing colleague engagement and improving sales and productivity.
Given the scale of the challenge, and the numbers involved, we were able to do something very special for ASDA. We created a unique version of Packtypes, just for them, and helped them organise an amazing ‘WOW Event’, at Butlins Skegness, where we launched Packtypes to 3000 of their leaders.
Initiatives to engage staff must be fun, easily understood, highly practical and cost effective and this project achieved all that and far more. It was amazing seeing the characters I created, come alive, interacting with colleagues and customers, once Packtypes was launched to ASDA’s stores, offices, and warehouses."
Will Murray, Founder Packtypes
"We got 180,000 staff thinking deeply about themselves and their colleagues "
Nick Green, Senior Director for Talent, Diversity, Leadership ASDA
Why ASDA took Packtypes to the shopfloor
As Senior Director for Talent, Diversity, Leadership and Engagement, Nick Green was charged with driving cultural cohesion and collaboration across the company:
“ASDA’s customers are continually changing how they shop, shopping more frequently, with smaller baskets and online. Keeping up with all this change is a big challenge for a retailer with 180,000 employees, which is why we introduced Packtypes to transform awareness of every aspect of our business and people.
And it has worked. Introducing Packtypes has initiated a whole new volume of conversation from the boardroom to the bakery counter. Increased awareness is transforming engagement and performance. Packtypes is helping our staff break out of the daily grind and start thinking about their own relationships and development needs."
Something rather special for ASDA
"ASDA’s version of Packtypes was developed specifically for us by Will and the team at Packtypes and features 8 new characters ranging from Ticktastic, our super organised scheduler to Champ, our empathetic listener.
We didn’t want a tool that required translation by somebody else. We also wanted a common language from the top of the organisation to our hourly paid colleagues. Every staff member has now been trained on Packtypes, and they have been deployed in numerous L&D initiatives.
Packtypes has been introduced into our leadership training, and form part of our appraisal process. Leaders are encouraged to get staff thinking about the value they bring to teams. Packtypes allows people to say; this is how I relate to other people; customers as well as colleagues, and therefore flex the way they communicate to suit different situations and people.
The most profound effects have been seen among hourly paid section leaders in stores. This 20,000-strong cohort, with responsibility for overseeing individual shifts, has grown substantially in recent years. We wanted them to feel empowered, to have an awareness of how they came across and how they can change that.
But developing operational leaders is a challenge because it is very hard to take them away from their day-to-day work. The reason Packtypes worked, when nothing has before, is its unprecedented ease of use and flexible practicality. You can play so quickly and in any situation. Performance conversations take place in a nimble, reactive way, and feedback is given immediately.
Packtypes works brilliantly as a conversation-starter. I believe we all have a natural desire inside us, to understand ourselves and the world around us. If you want a strong organisation, you have to tap into this natural instinct, which is why Packtypes has done so much to bring people together.
Engagement levels have risen significantly since the introduction of Packtypes. Engagement amongst our section leader population has shifted the most, particularly when it comes to how they feel about the business and the opportunities open to them.
We are seeing positive impact across several HR metrics. In teams that have taken Packtypes to heart the most, engagement levels are especially high, attrition rates low and the levels of conflict low as well.”
How does ASDA sustain these remarkable improvements?
The answer is increased focus on ‘coaching style leadership’, including frequent ‘performance conversations’ and regular constructive feedback.
To assist with this we identified special Packtypes Champions, ‘Culture Catalysts’ charged with, inspiring and supporting their colleagues and ensure the views of rank-and-file staff and unions are heard in the C-suite. The result is increased engagement right across ASDA from the head office in Leeds to stores from Bexleyheath to Belfast.
Personally, I want all our leaders to view our engagement surveys as a school report on how they’re doing. Engagement makes people want to come to work. Engagement to me means that when you get up for work each day, you want to be there.
People talk about job satisfaction or self-actualisation, but I look at it more simplistically. I want people to forget they’re even at work.”
"People talk about job satisfaction or self-actualisation, but I look at it more simplistically. I want people to forget they’re even at work.”
The Packtypes WOW Programme was led by Owen Hickey, one of ASDA’s most experienced and inspirational managers
Packtypes is filtering deep into our language and culture
“We have been working with Will and the Packtypes team for two years, the culmination of which has been the successful launch of Packtypes to 25,000 Asda leaders and managers.
Packtypes has been so well received. I am continually being asked to provide additional Packtypes Packs to new teams across the business. The fact that it is simple and easy to use, made Packtypes user friendly from the outset. It’s different to other tools in that it focuses equally on relationships and how other people see you.
Personal growth and team development have gone from being a chore or a task to something people embrace and are passionate about. This is just one amazing aspect of Packtypes.
I couldn’t have imagined how successful Packtypes would be. Packtypes is filtering deep into our language and culture and has started to reshape the way we think and talk about developing people across Asda.”
Case Study Results:
Transformed employee engagement
The primary benefit of introducing Packtypes has been transformed employee engagement. Engagement has increased right across the board from their head office in Leeds to stores from Bexleyheath to Belfast.
Given that this was ASDA’s number one concern, this is fantastic.
Engagement amongst first line managers increased the most, especially with regard to how they feel about ASDA and opportunities open to them.
This is particularly pleasing as this hard to reach, 20,000-strong cohort, is collectively the most influential group in ASDA, constantly in contact with ASDA’s customers and have responsibility for overseeing all individual colleague shifts.
Getting ASDA talking openly
ASDA has long had a strong ‘family culture’ with multiple generations, of the same families, all working for the company. But financial pressures and constant change was eroding this.
ASDA wanted this family feeling back, and the only way to get ASDA working as one team again was to get the whole organisation talking openly about challenges and opportunities.
Packtypes worked miracles in this regard, initiating a whole new volume of conversation from the boardroom to the bakery counter.
One common ‘people and relationship language’ from the top of the organisation to hourly paid colleagues, helped enormously. As did the Packtypes Culture Catalysts who helped ensure the views of rank-and-file staff and unions were heard in the C-suite.
Help on the shop floor
If you want to help a retailer like ASDA, whatever you propose, has to work for everyone. Especially those on the shop floor dealing with customers on a daily basis. Before Packtypes, ASDA had never encountered anything practical, accessible and cost effective enough for this to happen.
The way that ASDA implemented Packtypes was totally inclusive. Every staff member has now been trained on Packtypes. Packtypes helped all their staff break out of the daily grind and start thinking about their own relationships and development needs.
Because of the unprecedented flexibility and ease of use of Packtypes, every relationship between colleagues, with customers, with managers and direct reports could be improved.
One model; numerous benefits
ASDA deployed Packtypes in many different L&D initiatives including their leadership training, team building, store opening and appraisal process. The power of having one model feeding all their people processes was significant, cutting out waste and cost, allowing processes to interact with each other and dramatically reducing learning time and time away from work.
‘Sustainable’ performance improvement
In addition to staff engagement ASDA also wanted to achieve improvements in innovation, teamwork, communication and customer service. They felt that the only way to make these improvements sustainable, was to minimise ongoing costs. As such they wanted to develop in-house expertise and keep any dependency on external suppliers low. By investing in their Packtypes Culture Catalyst Programme and due to the low cost of Packtypes materials, they fully achieved this.
What can we learn from ASDA's Experience?
Size needn’t be a barrier: Whatever size your organisation, Packtypes can be used to cost effectively empower every member of your organisation. Training senior staff and expecting them to cascade performance improvement downwards is impossible. For significant improvement, equip and motivate everyone to drive their own performance improvement. It’s the only way!
The importance of simplicity: One of the reasons Packtypes made such a difference at ASDA was that you could play it anywhere, anytime. This meant it could be used on the shop floor and in warehouses. The fact that Packtypes doesn’t required translation by a coach, also helped massively.
Developing your first line managers makes the biggest difference: For some bizarre reason, many organisations focus their training on their most senior mangers and ignore everyone else. When you do this you’re training your managers nearest to retirement and most likely to go to a competitor. It’s much better to use a model like Packtypes that allows you to train your bright, up and coming leaders and staff. They are your future!
It is possible to make people want to come to work: Nick Green was spot on when he said he wants people to “get up for work each day, you want to be there” and “I want people to forget they’re even at work.” Make people feel listened to, included and valued, using a tool like Packtypes. Treat them with respect, and they will want to come to work.
You can’t afford not to think about culture: Your organisations culture impacts everything. Performance, service, productivity, innovation; if it is important, culture effects it. So, whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of leaving your culture to chance. Not managing culture is playing Russian Roulette with your business.
The power of play: Business is serious but seriousness, isn’t the best way to inspire and engage people. Just look at those ASDA pictures. Look at those people having fun. They took Packtypes to their hearts and made it their own. As a result they took ownership of ASDA’s challenges and wanted to contribute.
The right type of conversations change futures: Whether it’s a friendship, family, team or whole organisation, the only way to get it performing as a whole is to get it talking. But talking openly, positively, and purposefully doesn’t come naturally to many people. If you want to get people talking you need to help them find the right words, feel secure enough to open up.