Case Study – GE Healthcare, The Grove Centre, June 2014.
The Life Sciences division of GE Healthcare is a $4 billion business, providing expertise and tools for a wide range of biotechnology and life sciences applications, including basic research of cells and proteins, drug discovery research, as well as tools to support large-scale manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals. It also supplies leading contrast agents, PET & nuclear medicine pharmaceuticals for diagnostic imaging in disease such as cancer, heart disease and neurological disorders.
In 2010, the business announced significant restructuring at one of our key manufacturing sites and this significant piece of change continued longer than expected. Our challenge was to ensure that our primary focus was continuous employee engagement. Open and honest communication by both managers and HR was critical. In 2014, we’ve moved out of this period of change, and are now focused on the future of the site; continuing to manufacture in the UK and also facilitate opportunities for new business activities.
Regular scheduled and adhoc communication via a structured rhythm of meetings has been vital to our success so far. In March this year, we worked with the Employee Representative group that were formed during consultation to rebrand them as the Employee Forum, for continued collaboration. This maintained a mechanism to discuss business strategy, future of The Grove Centre site, and other positive changes/ideas/business successes directly with a group of individuals who were representing each area of the employee base. John Flanagan, one of the Representatives, said “The EE Forum creates a 2-way communication channel that helps improve the clarity of information exchange”
Positive people were instrumental to continuous successful engagement. With the appointment of a new Site Director we combined some regular monthly meetings into one consolidated Quarterly Performance Review, which engenders a real focus on the site’s strategy and performance. The output of this meeting helped to formulate the Quarterly Townhall Meetings for all employees.
In addition we have Weekly Friday Dashboard Meetings (see photo) – where leaders from the different departments come together to update the rest of the site team on our performance and any new news items. This is a quick stand up meeting around a wall mounted Dashboard, that employees see happening every week. It is situated by the site restaurant so employees can see what’s been achieved in the past week.
In conjunction with the regular communication methods there are also Monthly Team Briefs (standard monthly meetings which communicated ‘reward & recognition’ and important site messages) and Monthly Round Tables (where a random selection of employees are invited to share concerns, suggestions and successes with representatives from the Site Leadership Team).
We also introduced mechanisms to further engage employees:
6Word success stories Employees across the site shared what success means to them; these have been made into posters
Celebrating successes e.g. 75yr Site Anniversary next year; Celebrating project milestones, say thank you to employees for their support in achieving good business results
Volunteering & Charity work Employees regularly volunteer in the community
Diversity e.g. Women’s Network, Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual & Transgender Alliance (GLBTA) groups – help people to feel connected to the organisation and help overcome any barriers employees might experience in these areas
Using popular culture as a tool for unity and engagement – In June, we are used the World Cup as another opportunity to further engage employees, and connect them informally with our Senior Leaders, who also joined in on the fun over a Table Football tournament during the World Cup. We’ve tried to take opportunities to combine initiatives too, for example we’ve launched two competitions to promote Diversity whilst the tournament is on called “Why are you proud to represent your country” and best “Selfie”; highlighting our cultural differences and why Diversity is beneficial to our site.
We are constantly challenging ourselves and employees to come up with new ideas and ways they can continue to be engaged. We offer our employees a voice, and listen and take action where we can. We know we have more we can do and our aim is not to be complacent.
Please explain the benefit to your organisation by improving employee engagement. If you have any evidence for this please include
We have a low level of attrition and sickness related to stress related absence.
We also have a programme called “Realise”. This is a method by which employees are able to identify simplification ideas that will help them achieve their work more easily and save the company time and money. We set ourselves a company target of 120 ideas per year per site and we have already achieved this target half way through the year!
Recommendations for other organisations
Have lots of different methods of communicating with employees; no one method will work, but together they can be really effective.
Future ideas to continue engagement
Our focus now is to look at ways our employees can learn more about our business and the vast array of customers and patients we have. We have recently merged two parts of the Healthcare business, and have a Global initiative “Life Sciences & Me” that is looking at ways to connect employees with the business.
The above content is not owned by Engage for Success and was provided as a case study from GE healthcare.