Good working relationships began to deteriorate when fast growth overtook a small distribution company with 115 employees. Instead of people supporting each other, relationships between and within departments weakened and the workplace was consumed by toxic communication. Although the company’s president, Rob, was pleased with the organization’s fast growth, he was concerned with the human cost. He realized the growth had happened on the backs of his people, who he felt were close to a breaking point due to sustained intensity and overtime hours. He was also aware that a significant number of employees and managers were looking for work elsewhere.
“I need two things,” Rob stated. “Number one—get our culture back to where it was before. Number two—give us the management training that will enable my staff to manage like true professionals.” Rob was keenly aware that his management team was technically strong, although they lacked some management skills and they required significant improvement in building better relationships.
Juice Inc. interviewed key stakeholders to understand the situation from several perspectives. This assessment uncovered critical problem areas including indirect communication, low respect and trust for leaders, unfairness, lack of accountability and a lack of employee recognition. Managers and supervisors received training on the Five Drivers of Highly Engaged Employees and began practising with each other, using these new skills to solve their key business issues. Juice Inc. also facilitated a full-day, company-wide training intervention in order to imprint employees with a common experience, language and learning. Juice Inc. guided employees through an experiential exercise which taught participants how to maximize their results by understanding what’s possible, how to understand the big picture and each others’ needs, and how to align individual, team and organizational goals.
Credits for returned items have been cut in half as stock pickers and receivers focus on understanding and meeting each others’ needs. As well, talented workers have been retained: satisfied with their work environment, these workers have stopped looking for new employment. Response and shipping times have decreased as streamlining and cross-department communications have improved. The company has seen a marked increase in innovation among employees and in management skills among its supervisors. Overall, there was a significant shift in attitudes, and as people became happier, they were willing to put more effort into their work. This effort translated into improved performance and better results for this organization.