Cultural Change Journey 
Streets Heaver began their collaboration with Newland Partners five years ago, at the start of a period of growth and expansion. A cultural disconnect was emerging between new joiners and those who had served the business for many years. The challenge was to bring people together and shape a unified culture as the business grew. 
“Choosing to partner with Newland Partners would work out to be one of the best decisions we made”. 
Benedict Heaver, Managing Director 

The Brief 

Streets Heaver began their collaboration with Newland Partners five years ago, at the start of a period of growth and expansion. There had recently been some significant staff changes in senior roles and several new managers joining the team, which, for a small business, was having a significant impact on culture. A cultural disconnect was emerging between new joiners and those who had served the business for many years. The challenge was to bring people together and shape a unified culture as the business grew. 
Additionally, as the existing management capability had largely revolved around technical expertise, investing in the mindset, behaviours, and skills of great people management would be a critical catalyst to leading change. 

The Solution 

After initial investigation of courses at local colleges, Streets Heaver were introduced to one of our Managing Partners, Wil Payne. The conversations that followed led to a completely different approach towards achieving the aims; based on an ethos of change delivered through consulting, coaching, and learning from experience as opposed to training. This collaboration began in 2018 and is continuing today. 
Initially, the management team engaged in a workshop to open conversations around future vision and team culture. By engaging the team in dialogue about what Streets Heaver were trying to accomplish, a plan emerged that the team could align with and work together on. 
“I remember one of the early sessions with our managers felt much like a venting exercise, uncomfortable but much needed. As a result, a plan of work was established from it.” 
In summary, the services and support provided by Newland Partners focused on the following outcomes: 
Leadership and Management Development 
Improving Employee Experience and Retention 
Enhancing Customer Service and Engagement 
Leadership and Management Development 
There was a widespread view that the existing appraisal process was ineffective; many managers and employees had stopped using the process all together feeling that it added no value to them or the goals of the business. 
“We have developed a deep sense of responsibility to stop doing things that don’t align with our business values, but this really went against our HR processes at first. As our business grew, HR became an exercise in ticking boxes to stay compliant. We invested in things that we thought would help us do that, but we did nothing meaningful with it. To give you an idea of that: we introduced an appraisal system that we actioned once a year. However, in seven years I had not received a single appraisal. However, if you examined our processes, it looked like we had the right things in place, but in practice it wasn't working. We wanted to move away from a system that was not tailored to our business and that did not deliver measurable benefits. The appraisal system had to go.” 
Through focused workshops, Wil took time to listen to what Streets Heaver stood for and helped the Management Team to identify critical mindsets and behaviours that were needed to drive growth and success. As a result, he co-created with the team what they now call their Personal Development Plans (PDP). The biggest difference between the old appraisal system and the PDP is that the employee is responsible for her/his plan, not the supervisor. This change in ownership has created more independence of idea generation and less need for managers to come up with or spoon-feed solutions. Furthermore, everyone now gets dedicated time for personal development and whilst this is not quite at Google's 20% level, the Streets Heaver team have 10% development time on any area of personal interest. 
Another key issue the Senior Leadership Team identified as holding them back, was team member’s reluctance to take personal responsibility and accountability. Employees would talk about problems as if they were not involved in it and attribute it to someone or something else. 
Crucial to the success of the PDP, and to encourage improved personal accountability, was the development of a coaching culture. Newland Partners designed a ‘Coaching4Performance’ course that has now been delivered to two cohorts of managers and team leaders. The first of these courses was delivered online, during the COVID pandemic, in 4 consecutive modules, about a month apart, which allowed time for the team to experiment and practice with the tools and techniques in easy to access bite-size chunks. 
“Establishing a coaching culture was the fundamental change in the way our organisation works. When our people are faced with a problem, we no longer come up with a solution for them. Instead, we coach them to find the answer for themselves. It has been extremely uncomfortable for some people who have been so used to having someone to turn to who can give them the answer. But this doesn’t help them grow as individuals and we recognise this now. One of our team struggled with this at first, saying, “oh you really aren’t going to fix this problem for me”. When she understood the benefits of why we are working this way, she adopted the approach with her own team who all approach their work in this manner. Some have even advanced their careers through the learning curve this has given them.” 
Improving Employee Experience and Retention 
We worked with Streets Heaver’s internal training manager to deploy an employee survey. Completing the survey was an important exercise that enabled the Senior Leadership Team to take focused actions on improving employee engagement and retention. Some of the feedback that came out of the survey allowed managers to make quick changes which led to rapid success. Other actions took between 6-9 months to implement. 
“These changes had a real impact on the business, positively affecting how our managers lead and how our team’s work.” 
By working in partnership with the Training Manager, the business now had the internal know how and expertise to facilitate future surveys independently. A year later, the survey was repeated, and it became clear that while all the simple steps from the previous survey had been completed, there were still some issues, which led to new conversations about how we could move things forward and a fresh improvement cycle commenced. Streets Heaver have now completed the survey and action planning cycle 5 times since it was introduced and drawn on Newland Partners to support them with the process and reporting from time to time as needed. 
Enhancing Customer Service and Engagement 
In parallel, the business also recognised that the daily interactions with clients needed improving so that the customer experience would become aligned with the cultural vision. Newland Partners developed an onboarding programme called ‘ABC of Customer Excellence’ which blended best practice into a bespoke programme to fit the Company’s goals. This was initially delivered to the Customer Support Team and three internal training champions who took over the delivery to all other employees and future new joiners. 
It was a very successful process and since it was introduced, the Customer ABC has evolved and been added to as needed. It has now become an important part of the team onboarding process. Furthermore, the interview process has had a major overhaul where 70% of the interview is now spent around the individual’s values, rather than finding out if they are technically capable of doing this job. 
“It’s, ‘do you fit in here? Because we can teach you the other bit’. We found if people are more in line with our values, they are a better fit for our culture.” 

The Impact 

Five years on from the start of their collaboration with Newland Partners, we sat down for a discussion with the Commercial Director and Operations Director at Streets Heaver and asked for their feedback on the value Newland Partners has contributed to their business. What they had to say has helped us to write this case study from their perspective and the experiences they encountered. 
Summarising their overall assessment, Streets Heaver had this to say about the collaboration so far: 
“We are on a journey and still have a long way to go. We know change takes time, but the most important thing is that we know what the change now looks like and how to achieve it. We’ve appointed a new training manager who is responsible for coaching our new team leaders and teaching them coaching behaviours so that we maintain our coaching culture as staff move throughout the organisation.  
Bringing about culture change hasn’t been easy, and over time it became clear that some people were more on board with our culture change than others. Some were actively participating, while others were resisting. They weren't uninvolved, but they weren't the driving force behind it either. They seemed to agree with the changes that were coming, but they brought more problems than solutions. We have had senior people tap out saying this just isn’t for me anymore and we’ve had to be ok with this. 
If I had to credit Wil with one thing, in everything, he has done with us, it would be his coaching approach. I honestly cannot recall a time when he brought a single solution to the table. Every interaction was met by him with curiosity and questioning to understand what we wanted for Streets Heaver, our people, and our culture. Wil has helped us identify who Streets Heaver are. We had so many ideas created from our meetings with Wil; we found the solutions organically. What’s more, we took pride in the fact that our culture is born from our own vision and not someone else’s. Wil has never taken responsibility of our business and said, “I can fix this for you”. He's always wanted to work with us to build something that is repeatable so that when he goes, the knowledge still exists in the business. Our vision for Streets Heaver is so clear and we feel confident in how to approach the future. We feel reluctant to invite outside organisations in; where before we felt an outside organisation held all the answers. 
I was interested in the book by Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, who wanted to transform Microsoft from a company that knows everything to a company that learns everything. We believe this is the journey we have been on.” Benedict Heaver, Managing Director 
The Newland Partners team prides ourselves on building trusting partnerships to facilitate lasting cultural change. For practical, pragmatic support with your culture change journey, contact us today.  
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