Last year was notable for the focus we placed on our leadership population, creating a stronger sense of cross-Group unity and further developing our leadership capabilities.
At the same time we continued to invest in training across all our retail brands, maintaining an emphasis on giving our store employees the expertise required to achieve high levels of customer engagement and loyalty.
Leading as One Team
To maximise the added value from being an international retailer it is vital that our 80,000 employees can work as a single team, where ideas and experience flow freely, successful concepts can be shared and talent can be placed where it makes the biggest difference.
We call this ambition 'One Team'; we also recognise that our senior leadership group is central to us achieving it. In the past year we convened two highly innovative and successful conferences with our top 200 leaders, enabling us to collect their ideas for shaping our future direction. The meetings also saw the forging of stronger cross-Group connections and networks, which are essential to making our One Team aspirations a reality.
Investing in our leadership capability
During the year we launched our first Kingfisher Leadership Programme, which every member of the One Team leadership group will have completed by the end of 2011. We see this initiative as the first step in developing a coherent learning and development offer at Group level, one that will complement the ongoing investments made in this area by our various Group businesses, some examples of which include:
- During the year Castorama France created six new working groups – for its Viva training programme, which focuses on some of the 'softer' leadership skills. All members of the Castorama leadership team are scheduled to participate in Viva.
- B&Q UK has developed a leadership programme for all of its senior managers. This programme, called Leading the Way, aims to enhance managers' skills, knowledge and capabilities so they are better placed to drive their own performance and that of their teams. B&Q has also put together a renewed cycle of management development to be implemented during the next three years, aimed at managers in stores and those who lead teams in its head office.
- At Screwfix, all Trade Counter managers began an extensive – leadership development programme last year, which will continue throughout 2011. It is designed to provide front line managers with the skills to get the best out of their store teams.
Training to enhance the customer experience
All our businesses are actively engaged in store staff training and see it as key to helping our front-line employees provide the service our customers need and expect. The highlights in the past year included:
- B&Q China – training for store staff focused on product knowledge and selling skills, as the primary customer relationship continues to shift from supplier representatives to B&Q China's own staff.
- Koçtaş – roll-out of e-learning tools and completion of 530 coaching days given by internal product experts to new store staff and others with specific knowledge needs.
- Castorama France – launched a new training scheme called Form'acteur which features an online portal enabling employees to take responsibility for their own personal development. By year-end 70% of employees had completed at least one training event using the new system.
- B&Q UK – Building on the strong base of innovative, leading training that B&Q has already developed, two new City & Guilds accredited qualifications were launched during the year. The first is a Diploma in Retail Skills focusing on selling eco products; the second is a Diploma in Retail Management aimed at B&Q's supervisor population. So far more than 21,000 City & Guilds qualifications of various types have been awarded to B&Q employees since the initiative began in 2009.
Measurement of employee engagement
The Gallup Q12 survey, first adopted by B&Q UK in 2000, has become our established tool for measuring employee engagement across the Group. In May last year Castorama France opened out the survey to all 12,500 of its employees, with 89.9% choosing to take part. This initial survey produced a GrandMean (the biggest indicator of engagement levels) score of 3.70. When the second survey was held in November this figure rose to 3.87, representing the opinion of 94% of Castorama's employees. These high participation rates are very encouraging for an employee population of this size.
Elsewhere, B&Q UK recorded engagement levels that enabled it to qualify for the Gallup Great Workplace Award for the fifth successive year, while Kingfisher's 'Q12 leadership population' (comprising 1,200 senior employees across the Group) continued to demonstrate high levels of engagement.
Engaging our people
Gallup Q12 staff engagement survey (out of 5)