A Physical Environment to Change, Motivate, Educate and Inspire
Back of House…Front of Mind

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

Many retailers forget about their stores’ Back of House. ‘Why invest, it won’t make me money?’ Primark have ‘bucked the trend’ because we recognise the importance of a motivating work environment. We know it’s instrumental in affecting positive change….in staff, their behaviour and performance.
This design transformation project covers all aspects of the work environment, our people and their performance. Not just the infrastructure of the lighting, flooring, furniture etc, but we’ve created a new colourful visual language, that’s very well-considered, that stimulates the senses, that reminds us of the exciting fashion world we work in…and it’s loved!.

The first pilot store was ‘Leeds Trinity’ in December 2013. While being new, c.30% of staff came from existing stores.
The feedback is overwhelmingly positive, being dubbed a ‘Google office for stores’. Feedback surveys scored up to 24% higher on areas like ‘Communication’ and ‘Teamwork’ versus the Primark average. This impact also encompasses productivity levels eg;
• Wi-fi has made it easier for key tasks ‘on-the-go’.
• Open-plan environment means more efficient staff briefings with on average 11% more time spent on the shop floor.
• Absenteeism has decreased by over two-thirds since the introduction of the new BOH, compared to like-stores.

This Primark initiative is dramatic, radical and industry leading. Key to our success is staff feeling energised, motivated and informed and therefore the Back of House is of equal importance to the Front.
This area has been under-invested in…..until now. The newly transformed space involves smart thinking, it resonates with its audience and is needs focused. Through visual language, colour, fun imagery and more, this exciting space builds team spirit, truly inspires and motivates. Staff are also now better informed because of considered communications throughout. This is a Back of House that’s the envy of the retail industry.[/one_half_last]

The effect of environmental change has been dramatic. Many staff members are seconded to our newly transformed stores having come from those that have yet to receive the new treatment. The potential for disengagement needs managing carefully because the extent of change is considerable between old and new. The newly transformed Back of House has been designed with a completely open plan, fresh and modern look and feel, that encourages team interaction and information sharing at all levels. Also elements such as Wi-fi, vanity units including hairdryers and more. Roll out across all stores therefore cannot come soon enough.

This programme has far exceeded expectation. All staff feel invigorated and it has had a hugely positive effect on attitude, satisfaction and performance at work. As a value retailer we have to maximise effectiveness in a cost conscious way. This has been achieved through clever design, materials used, attention to detail and ensuring close cooperation between the many suppliers involved.
Longevity is also important. We change our stores’ visual merchandising, fittings and fixtures regularly, providing newness. The consumer expects it. However, economically, the Back of House must last the test of time…but not date. This is what has been achieved!.[/one_half_last]