Buzz Bingo is Britain’s biggest chain of bingo clubs, headquartered in Nottingham, UK. It attracts almost one million visitors to its clubs and a quarter of a million customers are active online. It employs almost 3500 people throughout its organisation.
The challenge for Buzz Bingo was that the organisation had become hierarchical, leading to two limiting consequences. Firstly, senior management were increasingly swamped with firefighting and problem solving day-to-day problems in the clubs. This meant they had less time to effectively manage the business. The second issue was that the front-line staff who had genuine relationships with their customers felt stifled in their roles and had limited opportunity to voice new innovative ideas.
“As a business, we were searching for a way to drive our performance that would also help us to improve our overall Gross Profit. We knew we needed to focus on our remarkable people first, getting them in the right place by encouraging collaboration, empowering teams and changing our culture to fear less and innovate more.”
Buzz Bingo gets Boosted
Buzz Bingo’s Exec team recognised that it needed to empower its front-line staff to take responsibility for the day-to-day running of the clubs. It also wanted to encourage the individual clubs to take responsibility for their own growth. The management recognised that it is the front-line staff who, in talking to customers on a daily basis, were best placed to suggest improvements to the operations and develop new lucrative ideas.
To shift the culture within the organisation Buzz Bingo acquired Lane4’s Boost programme. It’s a practical “off the shelf” leadership and development programme designed for retail, leisure and hospitality sectors. The programme is delivered as a downloadable PDF toolkit and rapidly develops key capabilities in employees empowering them to share ideas and enabling them to take responsibility for enacting the ideas. Buzz launched the programme in June 2018 and has already rolled it out to 92 of 119 stores.
Buzz Bingo’s objectives for Boost:
• Change the culture within the organisation and empower employees to develop solutions and take risks in a safe environment
• Upskill employees, teach them new ways of working and encourage collaboration within the company
• Empower employees to take responsibility for the success of their individual clubs and develop sustainable revenue growth opportunities.
“Our key objective was to get our remarkable people feeling good about working at Buzz Bingo again, recognising that this would lead to a more sustainable performance.” – Karen McKeever, Chief People Officer
How the Boost programme worked for Buzz:
To initiate Boost, Lane4 spent time with the Exec team to fully understand the business and understand the problems and the expectations for the programme.
Lane4 subsequently trained eight employees to become high performance coaches to roll out the Boost training cost effectively throughout the clubs.
Club specific goals were set by local teams using Boost’s “balanced scorecard”. This was a generic formula that could be adapted to the context of each individual venue, and it empowered employees to design growth strategies that ensure local goals are achieved.
“The scorecard enables us to celebrate successes, keep an eye on our targets and make sure we’re achieving them by overcoming obstacles.” – Delegate feedback
Group-facilitated workshop sessions were delivered by the high performance coaches and focused on problem solving, process and change management, giving and receiving feedback, customer experience and team building.
Initially the Boost programme was rolled out in each club within a three-week period. However, after consultation with delegates, the programme was adapted to enable a longer roll out period of nine weeks. This longer roll out period enabled staff to immediately put into practice new strategies while they were still on the programme.
The Boost programme delegated responsibility for problem solving, goal setting and idea generation to the clubs and the results were fantastic. As soon as Boost was launched ideas were created, tested and shared across the business:
• One enterprising staff member suggested launching a 50’s theme evening to introduce new audiences to the clubs. It was a swinging success!
• Previously two white napkins were used to present the cutlery to customers. Two napkins were always used as the white napkins were often transparent. One cost cutting employee suggested exchanging the white napkins for one black napkin instantly halving the cost throughout the clubs.
• Another enterprising employee suggested buying bigger trays for staff to transport food from the kitchen to customers. After a selection of trays were road tested, the perfect size was selected and then rolled out across the clubs, speeding up the delivery of food in peak hours.
To keep ideas flowing, a celebration wall was created in each club to encourage idea generation and to track progress against activity.
Part of the success of the programme was the enthusiasm about new ways of working which was demonstrated by the senior team as well as way they role modelled behaviours they wanted employees to adopt.
“Our people now see a challenge as an opportunity to generate a solution!” – Delegate feedback
The impact of Boost on Buzz Bingo:
The success of the Boost programme contributed to year-on-year admissions, income and gross profit improving. Based on comparisons with clubs yet to undergo Boost, the programme has delivered an estimated 302% ROI in its first year.
Boost has also significantly improved the culture of Buzz. There is more collaboration within the clubs and throughout the business as employees have a common language, which managers can use to get the best contribution from everyone.
• 78% of employees believe that Boost has led to a mindset change, giving Buzz Bingo employees the self-belief to suggest initiatives and take action.
• “Boost gives our employees confidence to broadcast new ideas and also gives them a greater understanding of the business and how they can help”
• “Our culture is changing to coaching and feedback rather than tell, and it’s extremely refreshing.” – Delegate feedback
The programme has given employees a voice and given them the opportunity to create solutions and define goals.
• 70% of the coaches believe having a balanced scorecard has allowed Buzz’s employees to stretch their targets and performance goals. It has also led to the highest retention of staff for 5 years.
• “Boost has encouraged our staff to achieve and hit targets and have a better understanding of the business.”
• “Our regional meetings have completely changed. Each General Manager brings ideas that they’ve implemented within their clubs and shares them with the group. By the end of the session you’ve got about 20 different ideas you can cherry pick from and take back to your club and team.”
Boost has empowered employees to take responsibility for their clubs and allowed them to set their own goals for the clubs. This meant that the management had to firefight less and had more time to focus on growing the business.
• 90% of the coaches believe that Boost is driving additional profit because employees are more engaged.
• “Boost has given my team the empowerment to drive incremental income through new initiatives. This is due to individual teams taking ownership of areas within the business.”
Want to learn more about Boost? Click here.