first_img Comments are closed. Compass maps its futureOn 1 Oct 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Food service provider Compass Group points out the direction it took with acustomer service and induction programme to improve company culture aftermerging with GranadaStepping Out Designed and delivered by: Jigsaw Training, 21 Church Walk, Fulwood Row,Preston PR2 6SZ Phone: 01722 703146 Fax: 01722 701528 E-mail: [email protected]: Group was founded in the Midlands in 1941 to provide food servicesto factory workers during the war. From relatively small beginnings, thecompany saw sustained growth making it one of the world’s largest food serviceproviders. In the UK, the workforce currently numbers 100,000 and operates outof 9,000 locations. Following the merger of Compass Group UK& Ireland and Granada’s UK foodservice business in July 2000, it was decided that the financial servicesdepartments, which operated in Birmingham and Stockport, should be amalgamatedinto one location. Compass was already located at ‘Parklands’ in Birmingham, but when twoadjacent buildings were built on the same site, Compass acquired them on a15-year lease. The anticipated benefits of this move included the creation and developmentof a common and improved culture between the two companies and maintenance ofinternal and external customer care standards during and after amalgamation.Additional benefits were based around the accounting systems. The Compass system was chosen over Granada’s as it was decided that its SAPModel most closely met the longer-term requirements of the amalgamated companyand would increase profitability in terms of technical complexity and cost. Head count The final head count for the amalgamated Financial Services Department wasto exceed 500, with departments ranging from payroll (one of the largestcentres in Europe) to accounts payable, credit control, treasury, financialaccounts, unit accounts and HR. Two hundred and fifty new staff had to be recruited over a six-month period.This was also seen as the perfect time to address customer care standards. The challenges facing Compass included short-term tasks such as recruiting,training and integrating 250 new starters into an existing team of 250 andmaintaining internal/external customer service standards of all 500-plus staffduring the amalgamation. The medium- to long-term tasks included developing acohesive team with a common culture, improving inter-departmental communicationand improving customer service. The objectives translated into a training programme which had to consider: – Integrating all staff to become a cohesive and effective team as quicklyas possible – Facilitating the seamless transfer of work from Stockport – Ensuring that the essential knowledge and understanding of Compass wasachieved swiftly, retained and applied – Maintaining customer service levels and instilling customer-focusedbehaviours among the team throughout the amalgamation – Improving morale – Reducing absenteeism and labour turnover Training design As the future success of the department lay in the successful integration ofall staff, it was vital that all new starters started their employment withenthusiasm and motivation. The Compass/Jigsaw partnership designed two programmes, an induction for 261new recruits or transferees and a customer service programme for both new andexisting staff, which were factually accurate, challenging and inspiring. Training delivery Management teams played an active part in endorsing training benefits byattending all sessions ahead of their teams to ensure their own behavioursreflected the new culture. One induction and one customer service course were delivered each weekbetween May and December 2001. To gain maximum benefits, no more than 12delegates attended each course. The Compass team, and three Jigsaw team members who would ultimately bedesigning and delivering the training, piloted both programmes. Immediatelyafter the pilot, each activity and debrief was reviewed in detail, and it wasfound that only minor modifications were necessary. Since Compass was constantly evolving, operational companies were reviewedand the induction course updated accordingly. Following the success of the one-day induction programme, existing teammembers became aware that their own level of group knowledge was significantlylower than that of new colleagues. This positive feedback promptedJigsaw/Compass to devise a half-day Induction Programme for the 250 exitingteam members. An initial concern, as with many company-wide training programmes, was theinevitable resistance to training and the difficulty of ‘filling places on eachday’. The programme proved so successful that two months into the launch,delegates were so enthusiastic and committed to Compass that a ‘buzz’ soonfiltered throughout Parklands. The training became a ‘must have’ rather than‘must avoid’. AchievementsThe phenomenal achievements of this training could not have been envisagedat the outset. The scale of the relocation and recruitment project waschallenging, and joined with the amalgamation of systems and site, it is fairto say all parties commenced their roles with initial concern. The ‘reduced’ turnover and absenteeism, lack of disruption to service andsmooth integration of all new starters during continuous change were a resultof hard work, clear objectives and teamwork. The exceptional feedback fromdelegates, line managers and customers are evidence that all aims andobjectives were exceeded. Induction programmeThis one-day programme drew on some lively and interactive ideas in order todevelop and instil a positive culture with a ‘can-do attitude’, which enableddelegates to be operational almost immediately. Areas covered included companysize and history, group operating companies, departmental function and rolesand company mission and vision.The company employed a visual and easy-to-understand method todeliver what is potentially a difficult subject to grasp. Success lay in theinformative yet interactive training design, which captured and maintained theenthusiasm of each delegate. These included:A world map– A world map was used to locate where Compass was currentlyoperating in the world. Delegates searched through company information sheetsand used ‘post it’ stickers to locate each country on the map– The global stature of the company soon became clearly visibleJackanory– A selection of laminated ‘dates and events’ cards were madeto deliver the company history– Once all cards were correctly matched, delegates gave asketch in the style of their choice– This method was an ideal way to convey what is often seen as‘dull’ information in a fun wayFamily Tree– Using a selection of name cards, delegates worked together tobuild a giant family tree of ‘who’s who’ and learned the different departmentalfunctions within Parklands and how the group was structured in the UKSee Saw– The balanced scorecard is a fundamental part of Compass– By using a purpose-made See-Saw, it demonstrated theimportance of equally balancing the four areas of excellence with financialperformanceCustomer serviceThis one-day course improved attitude and behaviour towards customers. Thetraining was fun and engaging yet delivered the very serious messages ofservice and care. It covered areas such as creating a customer-focusedenvironment and anticipating, identifying and understanding customer needs.Course activities included:– An obstacle course– A non customer-focused environment was staged. With no brief,blindfolded individuals were led into a room, only to be either ignored or‘instructed’ to complete simple tasks– As in the workplace, this became a ‘task focused’ exerciserather than a ‘people focused’ one, as at no time were any individual needssupported– The blindfolds acted as ‘lack of information’ and the debriefhighlighted the need to welcome and nurture relations when someone has accessto more information than the customer– This exercise was later revisited to generate an action planwith agreed attitudes and behaviours which would be implemented back in theworkplaceComplaints– A ‘jigsaw puzzle’ was created to outline a step-by-stepprocedure on how to handle difficult people or situations– The puzzle could be put together in many different ways, soit was essential to discuss the answers rather than just fit the pieces together– This method was used as it promoted interaction between groupmembersVerdictSoft skills work pays offCompass hasgained a smooth integration with clearly measurable results. In addition,accuracy and timeliness of accounting processes didn’t suffer.Morale is at an all-time high and the entire financial servicesteam has shown a noticeably more positive attitude towards soft-skills training.Feedback from employees includes this comment from accountspayable manager Louise Roberts: “Members of my team returned with optimismand all the relevant and necessary knowledge of the company structure andfunction. This increased productivity in my department as new starters wereconfident to be up and running almost immediately.”Examples of further benefits– Individuals made a tremendous contribution to their job rolesince they gained a thorough grounding in group activities– The training proved to be cost effective when comparedagainst the potential recruitment/training/productivity costs involved withhigh levels of labour turnover and absenteeism– It was deemed to offer value for money since employeesachieved competency sooner than planned– Employees are focused, motivated and fully understand theirrole in the organisation, resulting in improved retention via greater employeesatisfaction– The messages of the balanced scorecard are believed and livedby employees as they understand the purpose and importance of a consistentapproach to customer care and satisfaction– Local employment and investment in the human capital of thecommunity have increased– Improved service resulted in improved productivityChris Page – programme director,Compass, points out the programme benefits:– No noticeable disruption to business operation– No noticeable disruption to Stockport service levels– The ability to bill clients accurately and on time throughoutthe transition– The facility to pay staff accurately and on time wasmaintained throughout the transitionlast_img