Parcelforce: Building positive change and driving profits at an international carrier
After two years of momentous change, international carrier Parcelforce had been losing more than £190 million a year. And after yet another major re-structure, with 4,500 employees experiencing change fatigue and flagging morale, the carrier’s leaders were granted one final chance to drive positive change through the organisation. The growing disruption caused by the internet, the consolidation of rival carriers and the low cost to customers of switching between operators had resulted in fierce competition. And as competitors turned their attention to Parcelforce’s traditional business, pressure on market position and prices mounted. Parcelforce had to adapt to these market changes to survive. However, existing ways of communicating the business priorities hadn’t worked well. Employee feedback showed that briefing sessions were stale, mostly one-way, and not very productive.
The executive team realised that they needed to work much harder to keep people at all levels of the organisation involved and engaged in securing a viable future. Reinvigorating their approach, and providing a more creative and memorable way of making the strategy relevant to the entire workforce was key to taking the business into profit. The Storytellers’ objective was clear: revitalise and galvanise. In short, restore belief that would result in significant behavioural change and ultimately take the company into the black. To achieve this, we worked with the Executive team to create a Story that established a compelling case for change and performance improvement. This was cascaded to every employee as a call to action and accompanied by a year-long programme of team discussions, idea-sharing and action-planning linking back to the Story.
- Storytelling has now been embedded in the organisation, and dozens of stories that reinforce best practice are recognised and reinforced across the business.
- The business reported a £15 million profit, a remarkable achievement following losses two years previously and breakeven the previous year.
- Employee morale improved substantially, reflected in an 11% fall in staff turnover year-on-year and a decline in absenteeism from 6% to 4%.
- Employee Opinion Survey scores showed performance improvement in two key measures of 4% and 9% year-on-year.
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