How a new induction programme at Argos' Central Distribution Centre in Staffordshire helped boost team-working and improve staff retention.
The opening of Argos' new Central Distribution Centre (CDC) at Barton-under-Needwood, Staffordshire meant a need for new procedures, new people and an opportunity to introduce a whole new way of working within the business.
The over-riding vision was for everyone to work together, creating a friendly and open culture where people wanted to be part of the team.
Ultimately, the opportunity was to demonstrate that, by nurturing this culture and living the values on a day-to-day basis, Argos could make a positive impact on staff retention.
In support of this goal, Argos selected Training For Advancement (TFA) to develop a learning and development framework to support both the strategic business plan and the culture change programme within Argos Distribution.
In practical terms this meant the design of learning tools to ensure all people joining the CDC team would:
* Be made aware of the vision and values of the CDC.
* Be engaged in the part they could play in the success of the CDC.
* Have access to practical and effective on-the-job learning activities and workshops that developed understanding and capability in each and every part of their new role.
Following a period of initial research in each of the key areas of the business, and some time spent with new and existing team members, TFA developed of learning tools designed to meet the needs of the business and those of the individual.
The secret to the success of these tools was that they were developed alongside the key people in Argos as they were recruited to the CDC, primarily the shift managers and team leaders.
The learning tools developed included:
* A welcome day
* Role-based learning activities
* Coaching cards
* Four-hour high energy workshops
* Two-day management workshops
The programme was launched to coincide with the arrival of first team members in May 2003 and has already been highly acclaimed within the business.
Early indications are that not only is the programme a refreshing approach to the induction to a new role, but also that it has been successful in reinforcing cultural messages for the business.
A survey conducted by the HR team among new team members revealed that:
88% felt that as a result of the induction programme they were fully satisfied and understood what was expected of them in their job
100% felt that the aims and culture of Barton CDC and where it fits within Argos were fully explained and;
97% feel part of the team and are clear on what they have to do for the team to be successful.
The visibility of effective team working has been apparent and to date there has been a very significant impact on the retention of employees.
Argos’s team members come from very diverse backgrounds and with different skill levels, and it is very important for the organisation to have them contributing to the operational aspects of the business as quickly as possible, but in a safe and competent way.
What Argos has achieved with the tools and approach designed by TFA is a means of welcoming people to the team in a way that makes them feel valued and respected.
Ultimately, it has demonstrated that by investing the time to create a means of inducting its new team members properly, yet not at the expense of operations, it has greatly been able to improve staff retention and create a real team culture.