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Making change a constant for Yorkshire businesses

By Craig Naylor-Smith, Managing Director, Parseq.

Now, more than ever, businesses across Yorkshire are being challenged to become increasingly agile, or risk losing out to their competitors.

Ongoing technological development and rising consumer expectations are putting pressure on firms to upgrade their processes and deliver ever higher standards of customer experience.

While there’s a temptation for businesses to adapt by making ad-hoc investments, this strategy can only take firms so far. Without a grounding in a broader business strategy, these measures risk being poorly implemented or becoming outdated as the business environment continues to shift.

A more sustainable solution can be found by fostering a culture that delivers processes of continuous improvement.

Culture shift

Culture touches every aspect of how a firm does business. It both determines, and is determined by, the actions of employees, and extends from the c-suite to the factory floor.

A culture that embraces positive change is essential if a business is to remain abreast of new developments and challenges. It’s also a key part of ensuring that existing processes function to the best of their ability.

Now, enabling such a culture is no mean feat. As a people-led process, it requires the buy-in of every member of an organisation, and for some can be a significant departure from the status quo.

However, there are a few key steps businesses can use to cultivate a workplace geared for positive change, each anchored by a dedication to ensuring employees are equipped to thrive in a dynamic working environment.

Taking action

First off, businesses should establish clear and achievable goals. In all cases, these goals should align with a firm’s long-term strategy, and should consider the strengths and limitations of a business’ existing capabilities and resources.

The second key element lies in ensuring that a company’s agents of change – its people – are equipped with the knowledge they need to improve on existing processes or put new ones into action.

This calls for accessible, holistic training that facilitates future innovations and improvements. Crucially, training should engage all levels of a firm to ensure that the right skills are provided to each department.

Evaluating progress

Next, businesses must regularly and realistically evaluate their progress, offering insight into where additional improvements should be made. A clear picture of performance throughout an organisation will give the most accurate, and the most powerful, perspective from which to set new targets and implement change.

Finally, and perhaps most critically, companies must operate with transparency.

This not only aids clear communication, but also works to foster trust. In any process of change there lies an element of uncertainty, and being open about the challenges and the solutions sets a foundation for navigating what lies ahead.

Continuous improvement

At Parseq, we strive to implement these tenets in developing our own culture of continuous improvement. We continue to operate cutting-edge solutions while boasting an average length of service of 10 years across our workforce, a testament to our culture’s effectiveness and ongoing success.

Our employees are not only given regular training in job-specific skills, but are also encouraged to gain wider knowledge through everything from an MSc in Human Resource Management to externally accredited professional qualifications.

Each of our operational managers are trained in Lean Six-Sigma techniques, and our employees hold frequent one-to-ones with their team leaders to discuss performance and identify points for further development.

Furthermore, we carry out regular briefings between small groups of employees and our senior management team to encourage transparency and facilitate better communication. Here, employees are briefed on company results, news and strategy, while sharing their feedback in frank, open discussions.

Driving positive change

Each of these elements play a central role in our business and help ensure we are continually improving what we offer, both to our employees and our partners.

The results of our recent employee survey indicate that our methods are working – 81% of our staff believe that they receive sufficient training in their jobs to be effective in them, while 80% believe Parseq is moving in the right direction as a business.

We operate in dynamic times. As we continue to grow and face the challenges ahead, we’ll do so with a culture that puts positive change at its heart.

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