Adopting Business Agility at Moonpig, Part 11: Getting Happier

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About the Series

Introduction

As I mentioned in the last post, this was very much a collaborative effort between Roopa Singh, then HR Director at Moonpig, and Lawrence Hay, Group Head of Talent for the Photobox Group (to which Moonpig belongs). Many of the initiatives I’ll discuss were lead by Roopa and Lawrence and thus this provided one of the biggest areas of learning for me personally.

I discovered a huge overlap between the agile, HR and L&D functions, because fundamentally we are all working to improve the culture, and culture is very broad. Provided you share the same values and vision, which we certainly did, this collaboration can be very powerful and very rewarding.

Squad principles and happiness

In an earlier post I described two of the key principles on which the squads were based. Firstly that each squad should have a clear mission, and secondly that each squad should have the autonomy to achieve that goal independently. Thus the squads were very much based aligned with Dan Pink’s theories around motivation.

In addition to these key principles, leveraging lean and agile working practices which were introduced to increase speed, were also intended to promote a sustainable pace of work and better work life balance. As well as improved quality of work experience, it was also hoped that sustainable pace would provide people with more time to learn.

So there was an expectation that by working within this model we would naturally start to see improvements in engagement. However, over and above this, there were also several broader programmes launched to improve engagement. These are all in the early stages so I can’t report on any outcomes, but it’s worth sharing the ideas.

Values

In addition to the listening sessions, Roopa and Lawrence asked for voluntary culture champions, thereby creating a working group that could help promote our values and culture across the business.

Having run the listening sessions and started developing the values, a company offsite was used to involve the wider organisation in identifying specific initiatives that we could run to embed the culture and values. The culture champions ran workshops with groups of people across the organisation to brainstorm ideas which they could then take back and develop.

Leadership

To focus on improving leadership Lawrence and his team developed Be THAT Manager — a training programme which anyone involved in line management or squad leadership would attend.

As I mentioned in the previous post, Lawrence firmly believed in Dan Pink’s theory of purpose, mastery and autonomy being key motivators, and he sought to embed these in the leadership training programme. The programme itself was built around the three key themes of Focus, Support, Challenge:

  • Focus — providing inspiring vision and clear goals
  • Support — adopting the coaching style of leadership which encourages managers to help others solve problems rather providing directive instruction
  • Challenge— this focused on helping to develop and build people by encouraging them to push themselves beyond their comfort zone without over stretching them

The leadership programme was designed to develop great leaders that would excel at developing high performers while creating an environment where people remained highly motivated and engaged.

Career progression

To address this we developed a competency matrix against which we could align roles and provide clear guidance for individuals to develop and progress. Whilst this was developed as an initial pilot within technology, it was written with a view to extending it across the organisation.

We focused on 12 competencies, 3 of which were specific to engineering. The others covered more general areas such as leadership skills, soft skills and ways of working.

The competencies very much reflected the values and behaviours we wanted to encourage. The leadership competencies aligned with the themes of our leadership training programme, and were based around the themes of focus, support and challenge. Likewise ways of working encouraged lean and agile working practices and softer skills emphasised areas such as communication and collaboration.

As well as providing a framework for career progression the competency matrix was also intended to support recruitment, helping us to acquire talent that would contribute to a healthy culture.

What’s next?

Could I help your business to become better, faster and happier? I am a coach and consultant that helps organisations adopt agility. Find out more about what I do at betterfasterhappier.com.

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Amanda Colpoys

Business Agility Coach & Consultant supporting organisations to grow, innovate and deliver value quickly at scale.