Summary

Challenge: An ambitious growth plan and 2020 vision had been set. Achieving this vision was a daunting task. Lindt realised that in order to provide the right conditions for this growth plan to flourish, they needed to transform their organisational culture and create a purpose-led culture that inspired, united and motivated its people.

Solution: BRIDGE worked with Lindt to develop these cultural shifts, establishing a clear purpose and then enabling the organisation to live and breathe this purpose in everything they did.

Results: Trust and engagement shifted from 65% to 84%. 91% felt confident in the strategy and direction of the organisation. Turnover of staff reduced to 17%. Revenue increased by 10.7%. Lindt ranked 20th in the Great Place to Work awards and the cultural programme received an OC Excellence award.

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The challenge

Lindt and Sprungli, the chocolatier and confectionary company founded in Switzerland, have been loved by customers for over 150 years. When BRIDGE began working with Lindt UK in 2013, the business had expanded its workforce from 50 to 200+ and was growing in a highly competitive market. Keen to expand even further the UK CEO, Joel Burrows, and his leadership team set out an ambitious growth plan and 2020 vision.

In order to deliver this growth plan the HR Director, Jen Lawrence, knew there was some catching up to do in terms of investing in people. “People were working very hard to make customers feel special, but they were not feeling special themselves” Jen comments, noting that engagement scores were lower than expected and that departments were working in silos. Retaining and attracting talent was also a costly concern.

It became clear that in order to deliver this ambitious 2020 vision, Lindt needed to focus on its organisational culture. It needed to foster a culture that was purpose-led and inclusive, one that inspired and invigorated, one that enabled and empowered its people. Employees needed to be motivated and united by a common purpose.

 

The solution

BRIDGE supported Lindt in exploring and developing these cultural shifts. We started by gathering leaders from across the organisation to collectively brainstorm and identify what Lindt wanted to stand for and what mattered most to the organisation.

Next we formed a series of focus groups to deep-dive into the challenge. People were brought together from across the organisation, from different functions and levels to collectively explore what ‘feeling special’ meant to them and in which areas Lindt needed to invest in its people.

Having identified the issues at hand and potential solutions through these focus group discussions, employees felt empowered to become internal champions and to lead this cultural change. Employee-initiated projects started to take root and grow rapidly. One example was a project called ‘Inspiring acts of kindness’ which saw groups of employees creating and leading local community-based initiatives that they cared about.

An important part of this cultural shift was to develop a learning culture, one that would enable Lindt’s employees to constantly evolve, and would help the organisation to retain and nurture its best talent. The Lindt Academy was born. The intention of this academy was to grow the mindsets, skill sets and behaviours required for Lindt to thrive and innovate well into the future.

This cultural ‘movement’ was led by its employees which enabled them to feel empowered to act. In the process, they developed valuable leadership skills. We saw a significant increase in engagement and motivation as a result. A notable milestone was when this cultural shift ceased to be HR-driven.

 

The impact

Lindt evaluated this cultural shift through a series of internal surveys. Trust and engagement shifted from 65% to 84%. 93% of employees believed the business was highly regarded by clients and customers. 91% felt confident of the strategy and direction. Turnover of staff reduced to 16% and the recruitment budget was ‘almost nothing’ in 2017. As well as celebrating the thousands of purpose-led moments of making people feel special, business performance saw double digit growth of 10.7% in 2017.

Joel Burrows (then UK CEO who is now President and CEO of Lindt’s US business), adds that “we have seen how we can take our purpose and apply it to make a difference in the world through our brands and our people. I see this as a commercial imperative as well as a great way of improving levels of loyalty in our customers and our people.”

In 2018, Lindt UK was ranked 20th in the Great Place to Work awards. The cultural programme was recognised with a OC Excellence award (Gold level). The approach the programme took was recognised as “demonstrating an innovative and brave approach to reimagining organisational purpose and culture.”

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