Client: A major High Street Retailer
Industry sector: Retail
What was the issue? Filling in templates, following processes and procedures can feel like a distraction from the day job - selling merchandise to customers. The difficulty is the whole model of resource allocation in stores is based on understanding how long it takes to do certain tasks, how many of those tasks there are to do and then allocating time in the form of man-hours to each store. If tasks are not completed in the way intended or inadequate resource is allocated to the tasks then it leads to underperformance and or an unnecessary increase in costs and can drive conflict, frustration and disengagement. Given people are one of the largest costs to a business it’s critical it is done properly. Done well, a store runs smoothly and efficiently with happier staff and customers. The evidence was there were too many errors leading to under performance.
How did we know? The evidence was that the process of resource allocation was poorly understood. How each of the systems used to estimate the work to be done and then the way in which it was allocated and as a consequence what people should be paid were poorly understood. Many did not realise the impact failing to complete certain steps in the process could have on the system as a whole nor how it could mean people did not get paid correctly. Some of the pain experienced by staff in stores overwhelmed by the volume of work could be avoided through better understanding and application of the resourcing tools.
What we did:
It was clear to us that we needed to translate resource allocation from an abstract concept into a practical insight. Accordingly we gathered evidence on how long commonly occurring tasks should take, like making a coffee and then explored the impact across the business when someone varies from the standard process to do something in addition to the standard process like latte art (the time taken to create a pattern in the top of the drink through the skilful pouring of milk into the cap).
We explored the personal consequences of when the right processes and procedures are not followed such as a failure to be paid for the work done as an additional way of helping people realise how important compliance was. We created tasks that brought home to people the unintended impact of non-compliance. Finally, we created a modular approach in which each part of the programme could be delivered as a stand alone mini-programme to address a specific part of the processes and procedures that underpin effective resource allocation.
We designed the programme so it could be delivered as a series of discrete modules or in one day, in-house with minimal overheads. It’s early days, but the evidence is this programme is set to be seen as useful and as interesting as “Duty Manager” and “On the Money”.
What we achieved: We were able to simplify what up until this point had been seen as complex and difficult to understand. The clarity of understanding shifted people’s thinking from it being seen as a bureaucratic distraction from the day job to something that could make work easier. This fundamental shift in attitude is perhaps the most powerful legacy, that and people getting paid on time for having done the right work, at the right time, in the right way.
Even the driest of topics can be brought to life with innovative experiential learning, the key is making it as simple as possible - but no simpler. It’s about helping people see what’s in it for them in following seemingly unnecessary processes and procedures. Fundamentally, the biggest factor is in setting the knowledge in context that allows people to appreciate the significance of what they are being asked to do.
If you want to understand more about the way Epiphanies think about changing behaviours read our article on The Power of Context.
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