Steel underpins our lives from where we live and work to major infrastructure, defense and national security, generating tremendous value for the UK. This steel backbone means the economy is much more independent and has much more control over national infrastructure.
With more than £2 billion turnover and sales of 3 million tonnes Tata Steel is the UK’s largest steel producer and one of the largest in Europe. Amongst it’s more than 8,000 employees are three and four generations of steel workers; its success is a key driver for regional economic growth, prosperity and opportunity.
After several difficult years, including an existential crisis where the parent company had tried to offload the business, the Executive at Port Talbot recognised low morale and employee disengagement amongst their workforce was affecting competitiveness and stability. They estimated they had 2-years to improve. They’d spent time developing an improvement approach but struggled to embed it meaningfully. Although everyone wanted success views, behaviours and attitudes were entrenched and having worked with other consultancies there were high levels of skepticism and fatigue.
Working with the Executive we agreed that our Sustainable Operations Excellence (SOE) solution would provide the impact they were looking for. SOE empowers employees at all levels to incorporate simple, often familiar tools through high-intensity coaching. This raises employee engagement and improves performance, unleashing the potential in everyone. The collective new habits transform the culture of the organisation and everyone feels happier.
During 2019 we delivered SOE to each area of Tata Steel’s value chain in fast-paced 14-week transformations. We helped the leaders build belief, enable empowerment and coach their teams to create the system themselves. This ownership of the solution ensures that it sticks, as people protect what they build.
Our experiences are common across all areas of Tata Steel and Hot Rolled Products (HRP) is typical. HRP wanted a way of working for their 489 people which increased employee engagement, improved leadership and changed their culture. This new way of working turned previous change programmes on their head and delivered engagement gains and cultural change that included:
- Double-digit improvements in occupational health measures in all areas of the workforce
- Employee engagement levels and workforce collaboration never-before seen
- A new-found level of self-confidence and morale in the workforce, breaking production records week-in week-out
We took everyone offline to create their area’s vision, many had only worked in their area in 30+ years but whether they worked in the furnace, hot mills or coils they began to realise they had the same issues and successes. They were a cog in the gearbox and they understood their part, their common goal. We’ve been on the verge of closing since 2003. There’s a lot out of our control, we can’t perform our way out of this but within our means we have levers we can pull to do our best. And when records are broken the entire value chain breaks them.
Carl Banfield – Works Manager, Hot Rolled Products, Tata Steel.
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