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'Hard to reach’ workforce become champions of change

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

Retail Sector

The Challenge

  • A leading retailer was embarking on a significant period of change – a new digital age for their stores and the way they work. ‘The new world’ included two important changes that employees needed to embrace: 1. A new process for collecting stock from the back warehouse, 2. A system for delivery of stock from larger to smaller stores. This needed to be delivered across multi-levels in a 3-month period

  • It was important for employees to understand and care about the new processes, and really get behind the change. But with large numbers of employees, over 20,000, working on the shop floor, without regular access to many communication channels, it was a challenge to connect with them in a meaningful and engaging way.


The Solution

  • We worked closely with the Central Operations Director to build a ‘bottom up’ approach. They wanted to generate enthusiasm and excitement about the ‘stores of the future’, and we knew that targeting shop floor colleagues would be a powerful way to spread key messages across the business.

  • We decided to choose one, nominated ‘Change Agent’ from each store to be an ambassador for change. For this approach to work, Change Agents needed to be real advocates, curious and respected by their colleagues so we created a selection criterion to ensure we got the right person for the role. Once selected, they each attended a five-day program, along with their Store Managers, developing skills to help them work with their own peers, guiding and keeping them motivated through the change journey.

  • Even though we built a ‘bottom up’ approach, it was important to align it with a strong ‘top down’ approach that 1. Supported store managers with the right skills and tools to support their change agent back in store and 2. Work with senior leaders to develop a clear vision for the transformation. We wanted to ensure that there were feedback loops created at all levels to keep everyone aligned, voices heard and maintain engagement at every level.

The Outcomes

The program rolled out to 1550 employees across 734 stores in 10 weeks, meaning changes in stores have landed on time and right the first time.
Over 90% of delegates were very or extremely satisfied with the training provided on the program. ​
Sales increased by 2-3% as a result of the new process changes for collecting stock from the warehouse and delivery between stores.
  • Following the program's success, the next evolution, the ‘Navigators’ program, started, helping to further embed the change.

  • The program was awarded Silver in The Brandon Hall Excellence awards in the ‘Best learning program to support change transformation business strategy’ category.


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