How workplace innovation is helping Booth Welsh build a culture of innovation
For Booth Welsh, a medium-sized engineering services company located in Scotland, the Workplace Innovation Diagnostic® was the start of a journey towards real culture change. In just two years Booth Welsh has made remarkable strides, engaging its workforce in developing and delivering strategic goals, and stimulating employee-driven innovation and improvement across the organisation.
Unlike traditional engagement surveys, the Workplace Innovation Diagnostic® identifies opportunities to introduce or improve specific workplace practices associated with high performance, capacity for innovation, and great working lives. Booth Welsh was able to translate its Diagnostic results into a clear plan of action, leading to targeted changes from the senior team to the frontline.
The results are tangible, enabling the company to step ahead of the competition and become a leader in the field of specialist engineering services.
MD, Booth Welsh
THE BOOTH WELSH JOURNEY
Booth Welsh recognised that engaging its workforce more effectively was central to future competitiveness. After joining a programme led by Workplace Innovation Europe, Booth Welsh surveyed its entire workforce using the Workplace Innovation Diagnostic®.
The Diagnostic is based on The Essential Fifth Element, an evidence-based approach that focuses on the specific workplace practices found in high performing, innovative companies with fully engaged workforces. The approach has grown from decades of international research as well as from the practical experiences of companies across Europe and beyond.
Addressing the Diagnostic Findings
Booth Welsh’s Diagnostic results showed that employees experienced few opportunities to take part in improvement and innovation, often worked in functional silos with little interaction with the rest of the business, and felt little connection with company strategy. The results came as something of a shock, but Martin Welsh (the Company’s MD) decided to address them head on.
With help from the Workplace Innovation Europe (WIE) team, a three-year plan was created to address the root causes of these challenges. It began with a two-day time out facilitated by Rosemary and Peter from WIE, and involving some 20 people from across the company including the senior team. The sessions identified four ‘Strategic Pillars’ which subsequently provided a focus for employee voice and participation, and which came to shape planning and action throughout Booth Welsh.
The plan has resulted in co-ordinated actions at every level of the company:
|Jobs and Teams||Decision-making is being devolved to self-managed teams, increasing frontline empowerment and responsibility for achieving strategic targets.|
|Structures, Management & Procedures||A flattened management structure is anticipated, enabling the organisational structure to be redesigned around workflow rather than specialist functions. Line managers will be refocused on activities relating to their individual strengths.|
|Employee-Driven Innovation & Improvement||Co-Labs bring people together across different functions to identify potential product, service and process innovations. Dedicated innovation spaces have been created, accessible by all employees.|
|Co-Created Leadership & Employee Voice||All employees are encouraged to contribute to the development and implementation of the four business-critical Strategic Pillars, each comprising a series of working groups and actions.|
Results So Far . . .
For Booth Welsh, the result has been a tangible unleashing of employee creativity and initiative, ranging from minor incremental improvements to strategically significant innovations.
- Two change leaders have been accredited by WIE as Workplace Innovation Practitioners, including an ILM Level 5 qualification in Leadership & Management, providing them with the knowledge, skills and practical resources to drive the transformation forward. A further ten people from across the company are undertaking the same action-focused learning and development programme.
- More than half the workforce have volunteered to help develop and deliver the company’s strategic objectives through their involvement in the Pillars – as well as undertaking their day-to-day tasks.
- The emerging culture has already generated more than 60 creative employee ideas for innovation and improvement.
- The senior team and its workforce are embracing digital technologies to help build a truly high performing and innovative organisation at Booth Welsh – and to do the same for its clients.
- Booth Welsh’s change team is starting to rethink the current organisational structure – creating a flatter, more versatile company fit for the innovation challenges of the 21st century.
MD, Booth Welsh
When you receive the results from our unique, evidence-based Workplace Innovation Diagnostic® employee survey, you gain an in-depth understanding of where change is needed and how to deliver it. Unlike traditional engagement surveys, the Diagnostic focuses on specific workplace practices associated with high performance, engagement and workforce health. Its outcomes are strongly focused on targeted action at team, department, site or organisational levels.
I’ve spent too many hours in my career struggling with engagement surveys. We should stop pretending that they deliver any change, let alone sustainable transformation. They really are dead on their feet.
This is the most focused Diagnostic I’ve seen. It identifies where workplace practices can be improved, and drives an action plan that is going to deliver lasting change.
I can understand from the Diagnostic what the genuine pulse of the business is and how it feels. Previously, I would have just kept on blindly continuing thinking everything’s good.