Twinings - getting the message across and gaining workforce commitment

"We’ve become more structured in building communications into the day job, focusing on what is important without getting bogged down in the detail." - Chris Preece, Operations Manager

Case studies

Thomas Twining bought Tom's Coffee House on London's Strand in 1706 and from that day forward the Twinings name has been famous for selling some of the best teas in the world. They now have over 500 varieties and their tea is drunk all over the world.

When Director of Operations Ian Kavanagh joined Twinings at its Andover-based manufacturing premises, his goal was to inspire a sense of pride and develop autonomous, more accountable teams, with all employees buying into the vision.

Comment8 was tasked with helping the senior leadership team to shape and articulate the vision clearly and compellingly.

Kevin Robinson, Finance Business Partner at Twinings, notes, “Through workshops, Comment8 helped us to practise communicating in language that the shopfloor could relate to. In addition, they worked with us one to one to clarify the key messages and shape our communications for the year.”

Comment8’s review of internal communications revealed that while the practicalities of how Andover was planning to enhance performance had been communicated, the emotional connection was missing: no one fully understood the vision or talked about it in the same way. 

Capturing commitment

An away-day event for all the plant’s workforce provided an exciting focus for the team’s training. Kevin notes, “It was great to be able to practise our presentations in a safe environment, with videoed trial runs and constructive, encouraging feedback from Comment8 and our colleagues. We learnt how to communicate an emotionally engaging message with impact in our own style but with consistency across the senior leadership team.”

Chris Preece, Operations Manager at Twinings, says, “In group sessions, we discussed the themes of manufacturing efficiency, customer service and quality, with the objective of gaining feedback and commitment from our shopfloor employees. They readily stepped up to the plate to make meaningful pledges on how they could contribute.”

With the advice of Comment8, wall art in the workplace now captures the key messaging from the day and employees’ commitment in their own words.

Engaged, empowered, informed

The changes have been clear to see across the organisation and are confirmed by Twinings’ ‘Insight’ survey, which regularly polls employees’ views.

Chris says, “Recently, a staggering 95% agreed with the statement ‘I understand how the work I do helps my company achieve its goals and objectives’, compared with only around 60% last year. We’ve moved from our strategy being a top-down directive to a vision that everyone can embrace. Employees are now confident that we’re taking the business in the right direction.”

Key benefits of the internal communications work:

  • Clear, confident, consistent communication from the senior leadership team
  • A more engaged, involved workforce
  • A structured framework for communications going forward

Employees are now confident that we’re taking the business in the right direction.

Chris Preece, Operations Manager Twinings, Andover