Earlier in the week, I spent the morning running a Heart Programme with a colleague for ten new employees at Thornton’s Budgens. This reminded me why we created Heart in Business in the first place.
The group was made up of people, all with less than six months experience in the store. They all work in different departments and mostly have English as a second (or even third) language. The aim of these meetings is to help our new staff to get to know each other, to feel valued at work, to feel safe, to contribute and to realise that their view and their voice matters.
It started a little shyly, with people unsure. However, as we started to share our gratitude about our lives and voice what pained us, people started to become more animated. They seemed to feel safer when it came to seeing with new eyes and action planning. The team really bubbled with promise and excitement.
Ideas came up about how we could get much more involved with our community and ways in which we work with them on particular areas. One of the team shared that his life was saved as a child by Great Ormond Street Hospital. He continued that, together with the Thornton’s Budgens team and with members of the local community, he would like to give something back and organise a sponsored run or walk for this great institution. As it happens, Great Ormond Street happens to be in our borough, Camden.
We had ideas to get more joy and fun into our working lives, even an idea for live music in the store. We will meet again in a few weeks to refine the ideas and then the team will choose the ones they want to go with. Ideas of their own, not ones forced upon them by ‘the boss’.
It is really clear to me that as humans, we are so much more engaged in implementing our own ideas than those of other people.
Following our meeting, I experienced these ten freshly energised faces return to their departments, bringing that energy and new sense of possibility to the store, even influencing their manner of relating to our customers. Having joined around fifty or so other teams members who had the same experience last year, the energy level in our community supermarket rose a further notch. This energy will translate into better sales. When we ran the initial programme in 2014, sales rose by 5%!
Take five minutes out to watch the Heart Programme in action:
I am away for a couple of week. For the next two weeks you will enjoy the words of our guest bloggers, Chris the “FlowCoacher” and Giles Hitchins, both of whom have sat in on the Heart Programme workshop. I look forward to hearing from them (and you!)
Andrew Isaac Thornton