HomeServe Membership Ltd provides home emergency insurance cover and domestic repairs to over 2 million UK customers. It employs 2,900 people based in 4 UK locations. HomeServe’s 2020 strategy is to be the UK’s number 1 home assistance company, providing effortless customer service to 3 million customers by 2020.
It’s an ambition forged in the wake of challenging times at HomeServe. In 2012-14, an investigation by the industry regulator resulted in the financial and reputational damage of a large fine. A protracted period of retrenchment with 200 redundancies followed and, not surprisingly, employee engagement hit a low 56%.
Back from the brink
In 2014, newly appointed CEO Martin Bennett embarked on building a better business that would focus much less on sales and profit and much more on customer satisfaction. He set in motion a complete overhaul of HomeServe’s learning and development strategy, with a major cultural shift to growing its own, high-performing workforce.
HomeServe selected Lane4 as its partner to run a large-scale leadership development programme: Leading 4 Success. Over 18 months, 140 senior leaders in mixed cohorts from across the business learnt how to inspire and empower their teams to deliver the 2020 strategy for growth.
A transformational programme
From the inspirational launch event at Loughborough University, with speakers such as a nutritionist, a coach for football penalties and Olympic athletes, through 4 residential workshops, the programme has equipped delegates to drive change.
Sporting activities and gamification of learning, reinforced by periods of reflection, communicated tough lessons in an engaging way. In just one instance, moving people around on a chess board through an intermediary demonstrated the frustrations of letting go when delegating.
Many delegates initially questioned the value of taking significant time away from their ‘day job’. Aaron Ali, who joined the programme as the newly appointed Head of Customer Deployment Centre, observes: “Most management courses tend to teach you how to suck eggs in different ways. I was sceptical; the programme would take a whole year and I had a new job to do. But what made Leading 4 Success special was that I could apply so much of what I learnt right away.”
The action learning groups formed on the programme have gone on to make collaboration, networking and peer mentoring the norm. Another delegate, Paula Homan, Director of Claims, comments, “I now have a peer group of 50 key leaders, any one of whom I can pick up the phone to. You can’t buy that level of trust.”
As a powerful example of the programme’s real-world impact in breaking down organisational siloes, sales teams in Walsall now support Paula’s claims-handling staff in Preston during the peak winter claims season.
Happier employees: happier customers
Today, HomeServe is almost unrecognisable from the ailing business of yesteryear. Its customer base touches 2.3 million and is on track to reach 3 million by 2020.
The workforce is happier, too. HomeServe was named Best Employer, Business Services & Supplies, in the 2016 Bloomberg employee survey and came third in Glassdoor’s UK 2017 Best Places to Work list.
Key benefits of the programme
- Huge improvements in succession planning – the number of senior positions filled internally has risen from 3% in FY16 to 43% FY17 YTD
- Dramatically improved employee engagement – scores have leapt from 56% in 2014 to 82% in 2016.
- Delegates agree that their career development aspirations are being met – up from 66% in April 2016 to 83% in November 2016