There’s nearly always a trigger for companies to talk to KPC. For Furlong Flooring, that trigger was a customer requirement for certain standards for employer-to-employee communications.
We were looking to develop our brand values and give our employees and customers a sense of ‘What it’s like to work with Furlong’. The desire was there but the early planning was very limited. After speaking to KPC, we realised it’s about far more than just saying something – you have to get your people to believe in it and pass that clear message onto your customers.
Furlong is one of the UK’s most respected flooring suppliers. It supplies carpet, wood, LVT and laminate flooring to independent and national retailers, as well as commercial flooring contractors and national developers. It counts John Lewis and Persimmon Homes amongst its customers.
It was the operation in Dartford, Kent, that needed to meet a new customer’s demand for good employee relations. Managing Director, Mike Symonds, was just six months into the role, and had inherited a disparate and often unengaged workforce.
HR Manager, Jonathan Richardson got the ball rolling by putting together a consultative committee with representatives drawn from across the operation. This committee had identified the things the company did well and the ways it could potentially improve.
It was at this point that Jonathan and the team realised they didn’t know where to take things. They thought they could write up a mission statement and a set of values from the work they had done, but were advised that they needed to do more than put a statement on the wall – they needed to make these things real to everyone that works with Furlong so that the whole of the Dartford businesses could buy into the values and in turn, help to improve the reputation, service and value offering given to customers.
Jonathan was introduced to KPC, who travelled across to Dartford for an initial meeting. “It was clear that KPC understood our predicament almost straight away, and Deborah demonstrated in that initial meeting that they understood the mechanisms and actions needed to get us from where we were to where we wanted to be. KPC were really excited about the potential we had and could see how to tell our story in a way that would engage the staff and improve our customer relationships” Jonathan said.
Furlong already had a great story,” said Deborah Kingsley, MD at KPC. “They were already a long way down the right path – they knew they had to do things differently; they were ready to engage with a more challenging process and they really wanted to bring the whole team along with them. They didn’t know quite where to start – but that’s absolutely where we can help.”
To begin with, we worked with Mike and Jonathan on an initial strategy for internal communications, which we shared with their leadership team – explaining its value not only to the people working at Furlong, but for the wider business. We looked at:
From this, we created an Employee Value Proposition, which set out the internal communications vision and strategy for the business.
After that initial period, we began to set out the deliverables – things that we could measure to show improvement and success. This included:
The transformation led by the EVP was remarkable. It was incredibly challenging in the first six months, because we had to work very hard to bring everyone on board with exploring a new direction for the business. But KPC steered us very clearly through the process, listening and explaining and backing everything up with examples and demonstration of the potential results.
All this work happened over the course of 18 months, and KPC has also been running other projects alongside the internal programme, including streamlining the sales and marketing process, and delivering new branding, website and marketing collateral to allow the company to take its new messaging out to the right customers at the right time.
“There has been a really positive impact on the business since we started working with KPC,” summarises Jonathan.
“The atmosphere on site has definitely improved – people are more engaged with their work and understand how their role impacts on the business as a whole. We see ourselves differently, and there’s much more pride in working for Furlong – which in turn helps with our recruitment story. Our people now genuinely believe that Furlong is a great place to work, and because we’re sharing our successes and recognising effort and achievement, we’re a much more cohesive workplace. What’s more, the other sites have noticed the improvement and are showing a real interest in taking what we have done and applying it to their own operation.”
increase in employees strongly agreeing to the statement ‘I have opportunities to improve my knowledge and skills’
increase in employees strongly agreeing to the statement ‘I have regular reviews, and targets to work towards’
of employees agreed or strongly agreed to knowing Furlong Flooring’s vision for the future, compared to just 56% in 2017
of employees agreed or strongly agreed to feeling proud to work for Furlong Flooring, compared to 64% in 2017
of employees felt Furlong Flooring had already listened and taken some positive steps towards improvements in communication and recognition
Like all our work with Furlong Flooring, aligning the sales strategy is an ongoing process. Working as a key part of the team, we’re using our experience and insights to inform and influence a long-term business strategy that will put the company in the strongest possible position in its target markets.