Berendsen is a leading textile and materials maintenance company in the FTSE250. Berendsen serves customers in the UK, Denmark, across Scandinavia, Europe and the Baltic states, with more than 15,000 employees. It covers a uniquely broad range of distinct business lines: from healthcare, to hospitality, to workwear, as well as highly specialised cleanroom and surgical services.
Excellent service levels and high-efficiency are essential to Berendsen’s business, but the business operates across many local centres, in several business lines. So belonging is very important, to pull everybody together and uphold shared standards.
The belonging challenge
With a new strategy, business lines and CEO, Berendsen needed to strengthen shared vision, mission and values – and put them into action in daily business.
Our clients were Birgitte Jespersen Skade, Marketing Director, and James Drummond CEO. Birgitte sums up the challenge as:
“Strong vision mission and values is a foundation for business success. Our challenge was about getting everybody behind the strategy – and that requires a strong sense of belonging.
Knowing where you’re going will get you there faster because you won’t be running around wasting time, or in conflict with each other.”
How Belonging Space solved it
Belonging Space worked closely with Berendsen’s leadership, and set up a Sounding Board of senior leaders across the companies territories and business lines. We worked with them to develop the new statements of vision, mission and values with a reality-check. This way we ensured that it all supports strategy, has meaning, and is motivating to employees.
We tested the activities in development workshops with the Sounding Board to ensure practical relevance.
We devised a range of activities tackling different aspects of vision, mission and values – always with the emphasis on practical daily business, and the decisions that employees have to make. Some activities to prompt awareness, others to look deeper at scenarios around the values and consequences of different decisions.
The toolkit includes guidance on facilitation techniques, and how to plan the best activities for different audiences, depending on time and depth: some quick activities taking just five or ten minutes, others for deeper exploration in up to an hour.
We partnered with Berendsen’s creative agency for design, while we created strategy, content and approach.
We developed a feedback mechanism and quick ways to monitor progress.
We devised the ‘job spec’ for leaders to nominate Ambassadors (leaders and managers) locally. We trained this team in running the toolkit and in facilitation technique.
We trained 150 Ambassadors across Scandinavia and Europe to to facilitate the programme.
The toolkit is now in use and our activities are being shared with all 15,000 employees, with regular progress reviews.
Our client’s reaction
“Belonging Space brings a very solid knowledge base and experience in this field, having seen what works and doesn’t work in real life and with other clients.
You have a robust methodology around the process, and very much about involving people to get to the solution – getting to people’s behaviour and connection to the company.
Vision gives a sense of direction – but you have to believe in it. So that we know: ‘Why is it that I go to work every day?’
Successful implementation is as much around strong leadership of vision mission and values as individual sense of belief.
The input from the sounding board was remarkable, having broad representation across national cultures and across the business.
Another key ingredient for success absolutely was our Exec commitment and especially our new CEO’s involvement – sharing the process and leading direction.”
“You’ve given us a clear reference for what we believe in. We can hold it up each time and sense-check: ‘Are we doing the right thing? Will it get us closer to achieving our vision and values?’
If not… Then strategically it’s probably not the right thing for the company to do.”
“We’re delighted that, as a result, our vision, mission and values are inspiring, in plain language, and relevant at a practical level within the business.”
Birgitte Skade, Marketing Director at Berendsen