Hammonds case study


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Hammonds case study

  1. 1. CASE STUDY Hammonds: Where Mentoring is Part of the Furniture!“The best way of describing it is they are awakened to anopportunity that they could never see before. It’s very difficultto describe but they become alive and alert; they’re differentpeople from a business perspective.”Richard Hammonds, MD & Chairman Hammonds Furniture Case-study by Hamish Fraser many more recognised names fromI f you’ve ever bought a new bed- room wardrobe, a home office, UK industry. or even a new kitchen, there’s a The outcome of the interviews strong chance you’ve visited was the development of a rich multi-Hammonds Furniture. media mentoring programme Hammonds is a stalwart of the (Enterprise MentorTM) which takeshigh-street, having been founded in managers and employees on their1926 by cabinet maker Thomas own journey of personal and busi-Stanley Hammond. Not far off a cen- ness development, and shows themtury later, Hammonds has over 80 a new way of thinking which is more Chairman and Joint Managing in tune with business owners likeconcessions and shops up and down Director, Richard Hammondsthe country, with over 1,000 em- Richard Hammonds.ployed and self-employed staff. owners. They came to work and did a Richard decided to purchase a Part of Hammonds’ success is its good job for me, but they did a job site-licence for the mentoring pro-Chairman and joint Managing Direc- based around what they considered to gramme, and at the start of last year,tor Richard Hammonds. Richard is be managing rather than to actually his first group of employees andconstantly on the lookout for new think, ‘this is my business and I own managers began their journey. Al-ways to create higher levels of en- this patch, and I’ve got to make the ready he is seeing a dramatic changegagement and motivation in his em- most out of it that I can.’” in the levels of motivation and en-ployees, as well as finding new ways gagement of those who have re- It was Richard’s belief that he ceived the mentoring. This has beento grow his company’s revenues and could achieve more in his business ifprofits. reflected in the business results with he could show his managers and em- a noticeable improvements in the A while back, when Richard was ployees a different way of approach- customer’s experience and an in-travelling through an airport he ing their jobs which led him to look crease in revenues – which are uppicked up a book called Millionaire deeper into the work of the author 20% in the regions where the men-Upgrade, which examines in depth of Millionaire Upgrade. toring programme has been intro-the mindset of successful business Richard Hammonds discovered duced.owners and business leaders. This that the author had met, interviewedwas a mindset Richard recognised in In response to the higher levels of and modelled many successful UK employee motivation and engage-himself, and he thought if only he business owners and business leaderscould get his people to think the ment he’s seeing, Richard said of his to discover precisely how they people, “The best way of describing itsame way, he’d be able to create a achieved the extraordinary resultsmore motivated and engaged work- is they are awakened to an opportunity they do. Those who were modelled that they could never see before. It’s isforce, and a more profitable com- included Duncan Bannatyne andpany. very difficult to describe but they be- Simon Woodroffe from Dragons’ come alive and alert; they’re different Speaking about the challenges he Den, Lord Bilimoria (founder of people from a business perspective.”faced, Richard said, “Many of my Cobra Beer), Lord Harris (foundermanagers thought just like managers of CarpetRight) and Nick Wheeler So, how has Hammonds Furnitureand they didn’t think like business (founder of Charles Tyrwhitt) plus been able to achieve these changes The People Effect: Issue 7 23
  2. 2. CASE STUDYin people and profits, and what didthey do? Enterprise Mentoring The catalyst for change atHammonds has been the mentoringprogramme Richard invested in.This is a portfolio of tools andstrategies to allow managers tomentor their employees. The programme includes 21 MP3audio mentoring sessions, a 218page workbook, 21 MP3 summarysessions, face-to-face mentoringsessions which take place betweenthe manager and employees, a finalpresentation by the employees backto the mentor, and various follow-on activities to keep the new energyand way of thinking alive in the Hammonds—who sell bedroom furniture, home offices and kitchens—are seeing revenueworkforce, and employees involved up by 20% in regions where they have implemented the mentoring programmeand connected to the business. At Hammonds, an initial group ofmentors and protégés were chosen to three mentoring sessions per to their own business and day-to-from the sales team. The pro- week, before having a face-to-face day work.gramme is subsequently being rolled meeting with their mentor (David or The workbook summarises eve-out to the rest of the company. Justin) to discuss exactly what they rything in ‘written form’ that the had learnt in the MP3 session, and protégé’s hear in the MP3 sessions. David and Justin (both senior ex- explore ways of bringing the learn-ecutives) acted as mentors to eight ing alive in Hammonds. One of the key exercises is whereprotégés, who included area manag- the protégés are asked, ‘Whaters Matthew, Kathryn, Vanessa and Kathryn, one of the early proté- would you do if you were CEO forSimon. Youll hear from these proté- gés, felt the MP3 learning was so the day?’ This question really makesgés and mentors in the rest of this addictive, she even went to bed lis- the protégés start to think like busi-case study. tening to it. “My husband said, ‘You ness owners and business leaders, have to be having a laugh!’ He’s gone and involves and engages them in MP3 Mentoring Sessions through the programme as well. It the business in a way they have To start the mentoring, each wasn’t optional because I talked about never done before.mentor and protégé was given a it constantly. Every time he sat downlow-cost MP3 player which had the to eat I would be talking it, or the As Kathryn explained, “You don’tentire 21-session MP3 mentoring workbook would be sitting under my ever put yourself in Richard’s situationsessions pre-loaded on it. Also on nose as I was doing something else.” and think, ‘Okay, if this was my com-the MP3 players were 21 MP3 sum- pany what would I want? Or what Kathryn wasn’t alone. Fellow pro- would I do?’ Those sections were actu-mary sessions and extra MP3 inter- tégé Matthew was glued to the MP3views with some of the 50+ busi- ally really, really powerful because you mentoring sessions as well. can imagine the sort of feedback thatness owners and leaders inter-viewed to create the programme. Matthew’s wife even considered he got in terms of potential ideas. I looking at the workbook and the found those sections really good to Being audio based allowed the MP3 herself! She said to Matthew, think about ideas and regenerate a bitprotégés to listen to the mentoring “If I’ve got to listen to that for a few of energy into things.”sessions at a time and place which weeks and walk about with that stucksuited them. As Vanessa explained, For Matthew, these exercises to my ear to get the confidence that were one of the hardest parts of the“We do quite a bit of travelling around you’ve got, then give it to me!”so it was good to listen to the course programme, but really got himwhile we were travelling. I put it in the Workbook Exercise: thinking. “I spent most of the timecar and listened to it. It is motiva- CEO for a Day flashing ideas onto pieces of paper andtional as well when you’re driving to Where the MP3 sessions gave everything else! There were bits ofwork in the morning and you’re listen- each protégé an underlying business scrap paper with ideas on everywhereing to it. That worked really well for education, and taught them the fun- — lying around my car, around theme.” damentals of business which are house, even on the back of receipts! consistent with all great business At one point after about five or six Even Richard Hammonds kept an days into the course I said to David, ‘IMP3 player in his Aston Martin and owners and business leaders, it was- n’t until the protégés completed the hope you don’t want this workbookwould regularly dip into the pro- back because it looks as if there hasgramme. exercises in the workbook that they could really apply the learning back been a graffiti artist all over it.’ There Each protégé would listen to two were scribbles and highlighters all over24 The People Effect: Issue 7
  3. 3. CASE STUDYthe place. You take so much from it.” a very mixed group of people. I don’t they actually began to realize it was Face-to-Face know if that was deliberate or just a their responsibility to look after cus- Mentoring Sessions coincidence, but you wouldn’t have had tomers in the way that I would. such a rounded learning experience if They began to realize that they Once the protégés had completed you hadn’t had that shared opportu-two or three MP3 mentoring ses- could have a positive effect on the nity.” business. It wasn’t just a case of man-sions and the relevant sections of theworkbook, they would get together Final Presentation aging the status quo, they could actu-with their respective mentors, David Built into the structure of the pro- ally have a physical positive effect onor Justin. Both David and Justin had gramme is the ‘final presentation’. the business, which would producepreviously been through the pro- This is where each protégé has an more sales, produce more profit, andgramme themselves, and had dis- opportunity to present all that they actually be much more satisfying forcussed it at length with Richard have learnt to the management the manager in their work.”Hammonds as part of the decision team. It’s also their opportunity to It isn’t just Richard who is sayingmaking process when deciding to share some of their ideas from the this - the protégés noticed a changeinvest in the course. ‘what would you do if you were CEO for in their own thinking and behaviour The face-to-face sessions took the a day’ exercise. too!protégés’ learning to a whole new In the final presentation, the pro- Vanessa said, “It happened to melevel, and was the magic which al- tégés presented back to Justin, when I started listening to the entre-lowed Hammonds Furniture to really David, Richard Hammonds and HR preneurs and their stories. That wasget the most from the programme, Director, Stuart Sinfield. the time when I thought, this is justand deliver the biggest results for the Although Richard Hammonds had brilliant! I can walk into a business nowcompany. noticed changes in his team as they and I see ways of improving it.” Initially, David and Justin mentored were progressing through the pro- Matthew said, “Just after the firsttheir protégés over the phone, and gramme, he said after the final pres- mentoring session, I had three very,although this worked, they found the entations, “It’s as if a light bulb has very strong weeks in January. I don’tresults were much greater when been switched on! The thinking of the think I’ve ever had three strong weeks!they got together in small groups of protégés who completed the course, Without the course I probably wouldn’tfour to exchange ideas, to discuss compared to how they were six months have done that.”what they had learnt from the MP3 ago, is day and night. They now think Going Viral!sessions and bring the whole pro- like business owners. I am now able togramme back in context to have a conversation with them at a If the sign of a good programme isHammonds Furniture. more commercial level. They under- if other people want to be part of it, stand that the growth of this company then the mentoring at Hammonds Simon, who was initially sceptical has caught on. Kathryn explains theof the programme, but quickly is not just about revenue, but about margins and cash. They understand the viral effect of the programme. “Doturned round because of the men- you know what’s interesting? The num-toring sessions, said, “What I found importance of the people in their teams, the importance of recruiting the ber of other departments who are ask-more beneficial than anything else ing questions about the course. Theywere the mentor sessions. They really right people, and the importance of managers being leaders and not just have been saying, ‘Is it only for sales?’dotted the Is and crossed the Ts for I’ve had to explain to them that theme. We got together as a group and managers. And they understand how to grow this business.” programme has been rolled out first input our ideas together about what we sales, but that it will go further laterhad learnt and that’s really when it Simon one of the protégés pre- on.”started to sink in. I (to quote the senting said, “It’s funny, because Rich-course) became a believer.” ard Hammonds said to me at the end Let’s leave the final word to Rich- of the final presentation. ‘Simon you’re ard Hammonds who said, “99.9 per- Vanessa benefited from the men- cent of the time, training courses don’ttoring sessions too and said, “I really a different person from the last time you presented to me.’ I can only take deliver, or they don’t seem to deliver,enjoyed going to the sessions. We lis- or maybe they don’t catch our imagi-tened again to the section we were his word for it, but I’m sure he’s abso- lutely right. I got a lot out of it and I nation. We have looked at other stuffdoing and then talked about it after- before, but this has caught the imagi-wards. We discussed what each of us think from Richard’s point of view, he got his money’s worth. He’s very, very nation of our people. Yes I’ve wanted ithad come up with, and sometimes we and the guys at the top bought into it,had the same ideas and sometimes happy with the feedback from all the presentations that day.” but it’s the individuals that are enjoy-they were different. Justin was a great ing the course, and passing it ontorole model for this because he really Change in Behaviour! their peers.”bought into it and so it really helped Just a few months after introduc-with our enthusiasm. It was really good ing mentoring into his company, For more details about the Enterpriseand worked really well.” Richard Hammonds is already seeing Mentor Programme, or to download a Kathryn felt the mentoring pulled a 10% increase in conversion of full copy of the Hammonds case-studythe whole thing together and made it prospects into paying customers, and which is included in the book Peoplerelevant. “It also helped share the revenues up by 20%. Richard said, “I Upgrade, visitlearning and shared different people’s think what happened was that the pro- www.enterpriseleaders.comexperiences and backgrounds. We had gramme began to open their minds and The People Effect: Issue 7 25