Driving excellence – performance insights from the 4th Global DIY Summit

Following our initial report from the 4th Global DIY Summit in the July/August edition of The Hardware Journal, this second report, by HAI Chief Executive Annemarie Harte, focuses on those speakers who closed off the first morning and presented after lunch. Topics included advice on engagement to deliver maximum performance and an outline of the opportunities presented by the development of the ‘connected home’.

The summit which was held on the 8th and 9th June in Stockholm is the largest conference of retailers and suppliers in the sector with attendees from over 45 countries and a speaker line-up that included top industry leaders, innovators, researchers and professors. It was jointly hosted by leading European DIY professional organisations, the European DIY-Retail Association (EDRA) and European Federation of DIY Manufacturers (fediyma), as well as the Global Home Improvement Network (GHIN).

The theme for the summit was ‘A Disruptive World – New Trends in Home Improvement’. In this report, specialists in their fields offer the best tips and advice based on their learnings and experience.

Employee engagement and performance excellence

Kesko Corporation is a Finnish retailing conglomerate with its head office in Helsinki. It is engaged in the building and home improvement trade, among other areas, and employs 40,000 people with net sales in 2015 of €8,769 million, 34% of which is accounted for by the building and home improvement sectors. Jenni Stenbom, who leads the HR and Communication functions in Kesko Corporation’s home improvement and speciality goods trade division, told attendees about the factors involved in developing a high performance culture and made a direct correlation between employee engagement and performance excellence. They ask their employees to ‘dream’ about the future Kesko and found that change happened through discussion. Kesko cemented these ‘dreams’ through employees making a specific commitment about how they would contribute to achieving them.

These were some of the actions that were promised:
• adopting common management structures and operating models;
• making sure there was fast and agile development;
• investing in leadership and sales skills development; and,
• keeping Personnel Survey actions alive. They measured the results after three years of implementation and found significant improvement in employee engagement and performance excellence (see Figure 1).

Transformational leadership

Professor of Transformational Leadership from Cass Business School in London, Chris Roebuck, spoke about how such transformation can be achieved. Professor Roebuck highlighted what customers want:
• their needs met;
• self-expression;
• variety;
• added value;
• a positive experience; and,
• long-term, trust-based relationship.

To deliver what customers want leaders need to inspire and enable optimum employees performance according to Professor Roebuck and he outlined a ‘two-step’ approach to accomplishing this:

Step 1 – inspire and enable best performance.

This step boils down to being both rational and emotional with your employees. Professor Roebuck suggests that you ask yourself these questions:
• Have you set realistic but challenging targets?
• Have you kept staff informed about what’s going on?
• Have you developed their skills and career?
• Have you let your staff get on with it and empowered them?
• Praised and encouraged?
• Made staff part of a successful team and organisation with a good culture?
• Respected them as a professional and a person?
• Backed them up and acted with integrity?
• Lead by example and listened to their ideas?
• Genuinely cared about them and didn’t blame them for genuine mistakes?
• Treated them fairly and decently?
• Have you built trust and transparency?

If you can answer these questions positively you could be looking at getting an extra 30% effort from 60% of your people as well as being crowned best boss ever!

According to Professor Roebuck, companies with high engagement levels:
• are 71% more likely to outperform their peers in sector;
• can produce an earnings per share 2.6 times higher than competitors with low engagement (Gallup); and,
• could increase revenue by up to 43% (Hay).

In addition, companies with greater than 10% profit growth had 39% more engaged staff and 45% fewer disengaged staff than those with less than 10% growth (Hewitt). Bank branches with high employee engagement achieved 16% higher profit margin growth than those with lower scores (Standard Chartered).

Accenture managed to increase net revenue by 21.6% in six months by implementing an engagement initiative. Companies with high engagement scores improved operating income by 19.2% compared to a decline of 32.7% in those with low scores in a 12-month period (Towers Perrin). Also, engagement can halve days lost though sickness (CBI).

Step 2 – engagement is not enough.

You must go further than inspiring employee engagement, Professor Roebuck said. It is vital to focus the energy and commitment, developed through Step 1, on the objectives that really matter. This means focusing on purpose, context and collaboration and, ultimately, engaging customers Key leadership initiatives include ensuring taking simple day-today actions that inspire belief and lead by example, and building an environment that focuses on the key priorities, on “what matters”. The ultimate objective, Professor Roebuck noted, was “building an aligned community of effort and collaboration focused on delivering excellence to customers”.

Internet of Things

The final presentation on Day One focused on how brands and retailers are using technology, data and seamless service to learn from and ‘lock-in’ customers. The range of expert speakers included Sanjay Sauldie, EIMIA; Benjamin Thym, Barcoo; Paul Gill, WD-40 Company and international trend watcher, Richard Van Hooijdonk. The speakers emphasised the impact of the Internet of Things and the need to understand the qualities that websites and applications need to have to make a real difference in customers’ lives. They need to be genuinely useful, save money and save time.

Some fascinating examples were given such as the Expecting Baby App, produced by Enfamil, a milk formula maker in the USA, who released an app that organises and tracks each baby stage from planning to delivery, complete with reminders, facts and announcement pushers.

Amazon has developed a product called Echo, a smart home speaker which uses voice search technology to answer questions and seamlessly adds items to an Amazon cart. It even has the ability to order Domino’s pizza and enables bank customers to pay their bills. A final example of this kind of smart innovation came from Australia, where detergent brand Omo has introduced Peggy, a smart peg that aims to revolutionise the way people do their laundry. The wifi-enabled peg sends instant alerts to an app about the weather and the drying time cycle on that day.

Catch up on our other reports from the 4th Annual Global DIY Summit here here.