Engaging & Developing Front Line Teams
How to Connect and Develop 10,000 Field Based Engineers

[/one_third_last] Category: People & Performance
Subcategory: Employee Engagement
Award won: Employee Engagement subcategory

We created a full day’s programme of events to celebrate our 200 year anniversary and communicate our new vision and values. This has been our biggest development investment in over 5 years; our MDs personally hosted over 9,353 engineers at 104 events in 23 locations over a five month period. Extraordinary You allowed us to communicate our future to our people and focus on their critical role in delivering Service Excellence. We got to showcase our new SMART products and departing radically from our traditional focus on technical excellence our engineers experienced their first skills and behaviour development.

The Extraordinary You programme had a positive impact on a number of key operational, customer, people and financial metrics within our business. Last year our engineers attended 200,000 more boiler breakdowns compared to the previous year, the net promoter score – a key indicator of customer satisfaction – reached a record high of +59 and employee engagement amongst our Field population rose by 0.15, placing it within touching distance of Top Quartile levels. These improvements contributed to a 2% uplift in operating profit to £318m, in one of the most difficult economic environments in recent history.

Traditionally investment in our engineers has concentrated on technical skills. For the first time we developed an approach that explained the critical role they play in delivering Service Excellence. Engineers were presented with everyday scenarios and shown how easy it could be to develop bad habits. They were then encouraged to consider how focusing on their ‘spirit’ rather than just the task in hand could lead to positive outcomes. They also learnt how flexing their style would help them to better connect with our customers and in doing so turn each visit into an easy and memorable experience.[/one_half_last]

British Gas Services ethos is to “be as one team”. At future events we would take that a step further, inviting our people as a collective rather than splitting by business units. We were too mindful of ensuring our people received a business update from their own director. Next time we would experiment with a joined up approach that places a greater emphasis on learning from each other’s peers rather than business updates. We would also make giving feedback easier as our people didn’t embrace the video feedback booths, whilst the feedback cards meant collating became very labour intensive.

To kick start our 200th year celebrations we wanted to make a symbolic statement. We needed to communicate our new vision and values, introduce our customer service framework, issue engineers with their new uniform and start to get our leaders to think and lead differently. We wanted our people to feel proud of the past but leave a legacy that would energise by what was going to be our future. The day culminated in a Q&A session with our Managing Director and business leaders which received fantastic feedback. Our engineers also raised 10k for charity by recycling their old uniforms.[/one_half_last]