‘The project has delivered a mindset change in our staff’. - ITL Director
Integration Technology Limited (ITL) was founded in 2000 to develop novel UV curing solutions for emerging markets. The company’s early pioneering UV Arc solutions for InkJet printing quickly dominated the wide format graphics industry. Being at the forefront of the digital revolution, Integration Technology’s R&D centre quickly embraced the concept of using semi-conductors as a light source and have been developing UV LED technology since 2002, resulting in Integration Technology holding some of the earliest patents well predating the commercialisation of this process.
Integration Technology has recently seen significant growth in demand for its series of class leading UV LED solutions in many print and industrial sectors including coatings, adhesives, and electronics.
The company operates a flexible business model offering everything from fully configured solutions through to core technology components and product licencing.
The senior team at ITL recognised that there were challenges around employee engagement and were also aware that many of the issues were a result of the internal culture of the business. As the organisation was starting to realise its vision to achieve significant growth, it was going to be essential that every employee was fully engaged in the operational activities which would enable the business to achieve the revenue growth.
Delivering a New Way of Working
We were asked to support and facilitate a project which would address cultural challenges and staff engagement, delivering training and aligning employees with the firm’s strategic objectives. Our initial meeting with the senior team leading this project for ITL helped us shape a set of project objectives:
· To support employee engagement in individual roles, team roles, and the business.
· To foster understanding and empathy towards customers and colleagues.
· To support employees to take individual responsibility and accountability
· To develop an innovative team culture which celebrates diversity and where debate and difference would be resolved through patience and inclusion
· To address the current culture where colleagues work in silos
· To encourage and support staff to encourage motivation, focus and a results-driven culture
· To facilitate internal learning circles to support continuous development
Understanding the Challenges
When we work with clients, we take an analytical approach and we constantly gather hard data and qualitative feedback from the business to inform our approach and to monitor progress against objectives. This included observations, introductions, and interviews with staff, together with a number of internal workshops to help us understand the root causes of some of the problems. These included:
· One-to-one interviews with staff across the business
· Two half-day workshops focusing on the end user to consider motivation, engagement, roles, responsibilities, and task setting (this was repeated so all staff were able to take part)
· Team interviews with the production and design team, the engineering team, and the management team. These focused on individual and team roles to help explore the firm’s readiness for change and produce a baseline to work from
· Three company-wide workshops to develop organisational and culture competency frameworks
After the first few weeks working with ITL several additional challenges emerged. It was also clear that the cultural challenges needed to be addressed by firstly working with the senior team to help them reflect on, and develop, their approach to leadership. This was critical to embedding a new way of working, empowering staff and providing opportunities for colleagues to take on greater responsibility.
We also identified that the external customer needed to be re-positioned so that all staff in the business, regardless of their role, understood how important their role was in delivering the firm’s services. This also provided an opportunity for everyone in the business to gain a better understanding of everybody’s roles and responsibilities. Bringing this together with our work to improve communication changed the internal dynamics of the business and started to break down the perceived barriers which had created the silo culture.
As we listened to the staff it became clear that there were some pinch points within existing processes which created additional pressure and stress, and limited opportunities for pragmatic and customer-focused decisions to be made.
We created an internal improvement team consisting of staff from different areas of the business. This would ensure that the impact of our work could be sustained within the business once we had completed this project. Effective cultural change takes time to embed so processes and support needed to be in place to ensure this would happen. We worked with the senior team to select colleagues and provided training around tools and techniques for organisational improvement, creative problem solving, co-creation activities and business case development.
We assessed and up-skilled the middle management team to take on activities that the leadership team were completing, and worked with middle management to provide training and to carry out a readiness assessment so we could benchmark the organisation’s capabilities and capacity for change management. Furthermore, we carried out an assessment and analysis of the leadership team.
Our work led to an organisational restructure across all levels of the business. This has enabled the firm to develop a stronger customer focus and has adjusted roles and responsibilities to improve employee engagement. Regular meetings, the work of the internal improvement team and greater accountability across staff teams has entirely changed the way colleagues work together and communicate with each other.
The results have been impactful with measurable improvements across the business, which is now well on its way to achieving its objectives!