If you’ve been keeping up with this month’s articles, you’ll know that we’ve been looking at how ‘soft skills’ are, in fact, the backbone of any successful organisation. This week, I’m going to put things in perspective by providing a case study.
In 2009, we were called in by Massbuild, which at the time was floundering: sales had increased by less than 1% on the previous year and, not surprisingly, employees’ enthusiasm had taken a bashing. Our task, therefore, was to help unify the business and create a sense of cohesion, at the same time doing what we could to increase sales.
Our work was cut out for us: research showed that, on top of poor customer service and out-of-stock products, customers were deterred by confusion around the several brands under the Massbuild umbrella: Builders Warehouse and Builders Express. So, while addressing this scattered approach, we also had to establish Massbuild as an employer of choice, a brand that employees were excited to be part of.
Our starting point was to address the company culture by implementing our trademark process. We used input from respondents – comprising 95% of the company’s staff – to find out just what Massbuild needed to do more of, and less of, if it were to live up to its promise of ‘get it done!’.
It wasn’t a quick process, but by 2013, Massbuild had evolved to the extent that it had the highest staff engagement ratings within the Massmart group. Moreover, elements of the process helped to establish a brand DNA which have been used throughout the organisation, providing a foundation for strategies ranging from HR to marketing, store location and even pricing.
The final analysis? Says Llewellyn Walters, CEO of Massbuild, “The formula is a valuable business-orientated tool that measures intangibles and we have seen what it can do for the bottom line. The excitement around the success of the formula has created a groundswell and excitement beyond our expectations. Builders’ people often receive requests from other chains under the Massmart umbrella asking for some of the Builders’ joie de vivre; they are also very keen to come and work for Builders”.