Greencore, a leading producer of convenience foods in the UK, was looking to address the challenges of a tight labor market and ongoing global pandemic in a manner consistent with the Greencore Way, which puts people at the core of delivering great food, excellence and sustainability. In keeping with this approach, senior leaders at Greencore sought to further enhance talent development and boost the engagement of its diverse workforce including its frontline colleagues. Achieving these goals would require a robust colleague listening approach to enable Greencore to understand in greater depth the needs and preferences of colleagues on their journey to enhanced inclusion.
A leading manufacturer of convenience food in the UK employing approximately 13,000 people, Greencore combines a passion for great food, an effective business system, efficient cost control and exceptional people in an approach it calls The Greencore Way. By embedding a safety culture, providing inspiring leadership and having engaging and effective teams, Greencore ensures that people are at the core of its business.
In the past, Greencore had relied on a basic colleague survey. Although the survey results were largely positive, Greencore leaders were concerned that they were not asking the right questions and reaching all colleagues. Consequently, they were now seeking a more robust listening tool. Greencore selected WTW as its survey partner because the WTW survey platform would allow Greencore to benchmark results and drill down to uncover insights at the local site level. In addition, it was essential for Greencore to have a survey that could be customized to include questions on manager skills and capabilities that the organization had used in the past to generate its manager effectiveness index, which served as a valuable gauge of its people leaders.
Greencore made it a priority to ensure that the project was efficiently managed by an empowered project team that had the full support of senior sponsors. This project was viewed not as an HR or internal communications effort but as a Greencore enterprise-wide initiative that senior leaders were responsible for supporting. This support started with Greencore’s chief people officer who served as a strong project sponsor. Overseeing the project were the director of communications and engagement, and the director of group talent, development and inclusion.
Also critical was the role of the project manager who owned the project, understood the project requirements and worked collaboratively with the WTW team. The project manager coordinated the work of a steering group consisting of members of the HR and operations teams that met weekly. This group was responsible for engaging colleagues in the survey and helping ensure a successful rollout. As necessary, people analytics specialists and various subject matter experts participated in the steering group meetings to provide input into survey design and ensure the right questions were being asked.
The WTW survey platform allowed for the integration of best practice survey questions with Greencore-specific questions.
Because Greencore wanted to build a culture of inclusion, it sought to measure people’s feelings of belonging. Greencore leaders recognized that colleagues who feel supported and have a sense of belonging are also more loyal to the organization and therefore, more likely to want to remain with the company. As a result, 12 questions related to inclusion and diversity were incorporated in the survey, assessing not only if colleagues felt included but if they thought the organization was working to be more inclusive.
The colleague survey is how we measure our impact in the area of inclusion and diversity. It will help direct our strategy in the future.”Natalie Rogers, Talent, Development & Inclusion Director
Greencore Group plc
Questions related to the manager effectiveness index were also added to the survey. These questions were designed to allow Greencore to understand how it was performing in the area of leadership development and the extent to which there existed a bond of mutual trust between leaders and colleagues. Strong leadership that inspires effective teamwork and treats people with respect is essential to the Greencore Way and to sustaining the company’s high performance.
This approach allowed Greencore not only to measure engagement, which continued to be positive overall, but to highlight opportunities for further development in inclusion, talent development and communications. Specifically, the findings revealed that colleagues without online access found this a barrier to fully engaging with the range of benefits, development and communications that Greencore provides. This insight helped shape plans and activities to help colleagues feel a greater sense of belonging, and have more access to communications.
The new survey enabled Greencore to progress from good to great in terms of its engagement scores and its goal of delivering an inclusive colleague experience.
WTW’s Engage platform allowed Greencore to better understand colleague perspectives and needs by demographics at the site level. Greencore was also now able to measure year-over-year improvements in different areas and benchmark results. The survey insights contributed to the following improvements:
Greencore is now able to establish a correlation between manager effectiveness and colleague engagement at the site level. In addition, acting on insights around effective manager behaviors, the company has continued to show impressive year-on-year improvements on its manager index score.
The survey helped to give a voice to Greencore’s diverse population. In response, Greencore built an inclusion calendar into their broader inclusion and diversity strategy to engage colleagues further in events that are important to them.
Greencore leaders regard their inclusion and diversity agenda as a long-term initiative requiring a sustained effort. Going forward, they are hoping to be able to use the WTW survey platform, advanced analytics and workforce insights to anticipate challenges and better understand the impact of leadership effectiveness on retention and attrition. The colleague survey will continue to play an important role, helping Greencore measure the impact of its actions in this area and guiding future strategy.