“How we transformed our metal coatings business – using fun”

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When rugby captain Rob Hurrell walked into the board meeting at metal finishing company Surface Technology and said he wanted to transform their business into a “fun and learning environment” more than one frowned back in surprise.

Realizing that top-down, micro-management, simply isn’t effective anymore, Rob Hurrell, Operations Director at Surface technology, set up a cool goal:

To develop a culture based on a strong social connectedness and helpfulness.

He wanted the group to integrate for a higher purpose above selfservice – a group built with trust, honesty, integrity and a willingness and a desire to support each other for mutual success. With a strong belief that if you identify the right people, with the right values and put them in the right environment, then business success almost just becomes a byproduct.

Initially, this didn’t come natural to many.

Small steps to make people grow

Rob says that nothing gives him more satisfaction than helping people realise their strengths and grow. A former England rugby dream team member, Rob believes that everyone must play their part:

“When you meet people with certain character and values, then you have a responsibility to help them achieve, no matter what their current path in life. Trusting that support is there within their environment these people ultimately thrive with freedom to find success towards our goals. I am fortunate enough to have found 4 such individuals to date that have developed to senior leaders (managers) now”.

“Who knows, maybe me focusing on developing one individual, admittedly firstly for our business, then sees that same individual take that new culture away from work and extends its reach wider in society; replenishing values that sometimes seem lost”, he says and points to his colleagues, busy on the shop floor.

Employee morale at Surface Technology

Everybody should WANT to come to work

Rob puts a big emphasis on work culture: “We’re very close. The idea is that the employees are in an environment they find enjoyable and where the learning increases. Everybody should WANT to come to work. Life is too short. If you don’t enjoy it, change it.”

“We keep wellbeing and development at heart. We all have bad days but 99% of the time I want people to feel that they come out as a better person at the end of the day. To know that each day you have accomplished something. Helped someone. Improved. That your contribution was valued and necessary.”

A mood device to know how our people feel

“A mood device from Celpax gives us a KPI of our people and it is part of our business plan. We want to strategically change the business based on our findings and adjust trainings, investment opportunities and productivity across the floor. Let the employees bring forward suggestions of what they see”, says Rob.

“These are the individuals that deal with the specific tasks, chances are they know how best to improve them. “I believe in the approach of trying things, do something, and then measure the results. It doesn’t always work, but never be afraid of change or trying. You will regret standing still”.

Measuring employee morale at Surface Technology

Employees at Surface Technology Coventry press green or red to answer “How was your day?” when ending their work shift

In our next blog post Rob will explain how they identified a strong trend between productivity and employee mood. He will also explain how their employees bring forward improvement suggestions to the management team.

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Rebecca Lundin, CelpaxHej, I’m Rebecca! A workplace analytics enthusiast, co-owner at Celpax, and convinced that a great workplace is everyone’s job. I might appear in our chat, or say aloha on twitter?
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