By Sarah Caldwell, Seasonal Co-ordinator, Customer Services Team, Supply Chain

Last year, our team went through a bit of a transformation – we had a new manager, over half of the team were new to the business and our day to day roles had evolved.

Talkback was a great tool for us to understand how we wanted to work together as a team, what challenges we were currently facing and where we could make room for improvement.

Once we got the results through, I set up some sessions with the team to go through them as a collective. We had really open, honest and transparent conversations about what the results meant for us, and then we started to work through how we wanted to feel and what would make us feel good.

From the results, we identified three key areas where we could make some immediate improvements:

  • Community, charity and volunteering
  • Challenge unnecessary work demands and introduce continuous improvement measures
  • Re-establishing and promoting the team

Turning planning into action

Everyone in the team has committed to doing one volunteering day and a charity day this year. As a team, we visited the Manchester and Cheshire Dogs Home where we walked and played with the dogs, we did a spot of gardening and helped clean up the shelter. We’ve also just completed the TransPennine walk which was 26 mile hike for Manchester Mind – unfortunately the weather didn’t hold up but we kept smiling.

To help support the team with increasing work demands, we explored all of our internal processes and challenged where we could make them more efficient. We cross-skilled key tasks to remove single person dependencies and we captured key milestones to create a clear critical path. Improving our ways of working has meant we’re able to work more effectively as a team and plan further in advance to help share the workload.

To help re-establish our team, we’ve started to share our work more actively with the wider Supply Chain teams through huddles and newsletters. We also hot-desk with other functions which allows us to forge new and better working relationships other teams.

What we’ve achieved in the past year has helped us become a more open, transparent and approachable team, and people are getting involved and collaborating with us in more effective ways.

Talkback doesn’t need to be a big, difficult mountain you need to overcome. It’s more than making improvements to scores and identifying where to make changes. It’s also important to reflect on what you’ve done well, celebrate the successes and take learnings from what you’re great at.