When you bring the entire team together and ask for their thoughts and opinions, magic can happen
Successful organisations tend to be authentic and values led. They have clearly defined cultures and attract and retain the best people because they engage and empower them around a shared vision.
For our long-term client, developing a strong culture built on their ethos has always been a priority. It was no surprise, then, to be asked to design, facilitate, and support an away-day to engage employees in planning for the future. The surprise was that it was to be for the entire organisation. So, how do you engage all employees in the setting of the following year’s goals and aspirations?
Talking at employees is not engagement. As such, we needed to design and deliver a day that was collaborative and offered opportunities for everyone to contribute; one that not only spawned ideas, but also offered thoughts on how they might be achieved.
The first sessions focused creatively on the possibilities. We then spent time getting people to consider their natural strengths and how much of a difference it could make if everyone chose to deliberately bring these to work every day.
The organisation’s leaders were encouraged to share insights from their own career journeys. Their honesty and openness helped to encourage a culture of taking calculated risks, rooted in the acceptance of failure as part of the learning process.
The impact was immediate. Every individual had the opportunity to receive feedback on the things their colleagues valued about them. This was extremely powerful. The energy, emotion and confidence that emerged as a result was amazing to witness.
We were overwhelmed with the positive feedback – employees felt engaged, listened to, and excited for the future. A key success indicator for us was that employees actively gave positive feedback to senior leaders, demonstrating that they themselves had successfully ‘owned’ the day and were able to talk with passion and enthusiasm around the future of the organisation.
“Our team left the session with a real excitement for the future, feeling like they had been listened to and with a better understanding of their colleagues and how to work better together to achieve our goals.”
We have subsequently kick-started a series of projects, including a focus on Succession Planning and Talent Management. We have also designed sessions for team leaders on managing performance – with a particular focus on supporting individuals in reaching their potential.
An Employee Forum has been created to continue the open dialogue. The CEO now holds regular one-to-one coaching sessions with us – with the idea that we work to hold him to account around some of the things that we agreed on the away-day.
“SJ really took the time to understand our business; the stage that we were at with our strategy and the level of understanding and engagement that we had with our team. You listened to our concerns and challenges, and pitched the content and tone of the day perfectly. The real value for us was that you were able to facilitate exercises that opened the minds of our team, encouraged them to think differently and allowed them to share ideas and concerns about the future in a safe environment. We felt that you really understood our culture, and supported us to create team activities that were in-line with our sense of fun and silliness, but still achieved what we needed.
SJ have also been very supportive with next steps, helping us to use the outputs from the day to move our strategy forward.”