Continuing his series looking at case studies of how service companies adapt their culture to improve their productivity Nick Frank, service management consultant with Noventum Service Management looks at how happiness became a key tool for Dutch firm Hutten…
It sounds so obvious that people are the key to any business change, so why do we often overlook their importance. Is it because managers are so wrapped up in their strategies and actions plans, that they forget talking to customers and employees requires a different kind of language? That the ‘just get it ***** done!’ mentality does not achieve the results they want.
Whatever the reason, the lesson we learn time and time again is that it’s your ‘people that make you stand out from the crowd’. So how do you then make sure that people development and communication is a key part of your plan.
Some companies take a very novel approach. Take Hutten, a leading Dutch kitchen service provider. Pascal Verheugd their HR director told us about their unique approach;
“Most companies, particularly in Holland, are driven by productivity and profit margins. Here at Hutten, we thought differently. We wanted to position happiness as the central driver within our company.
Working from the ground up, we engaged with all team members to develop our mission to promote the values of happiness, collaboration, transparency and sustainability across our organisation. This was not just a top down initiative, and neither was it only internally generated. Our partners, suppliers and clients are key stakeholders, so these values were generated also considering their input from the outside in.
This ‘happiness vision’ could have been difficult to justify on board level but in our case, the CEO, Bob Hutten and I were singing from the same hymn sheet. We were both of the belief that social innovation should be the most important goal for every company and that managing targets, bonuses and profitability simply isn’t enough.
People have to want to work for you. If they share the same values internally and are happy working together then it stands to reason that their happiness will create better productivity and that this will filter through to customers in the end.”
Now this may be a very different approach, but I am sure there is a lesson here for us all in both our professional and work lives!
So if you are interested to know more more about the importance of people in achieving your goals, you can get more information from this link, or you can sign up for our next UK Service Executive Leadership Course in September, where you will get an opportunity with your peers to develop your thoughts on people and leadership…and perhaps have a a bit of fun yourself.