North East Connected

Keeping organisational culture, values, and sense of joy alive during the pandemic

By Sid Madge, Meee

Fortnum & Mason has a simple goal: to make joy. Delivering extraordinary food, exceptional service and unforgettable experiences takes passion, amazing ideas and talented people. But, when the global pandemic hit, the organisation was forced to make rapid changes.

Many of its employees had to open or close stores with very little notice, others had to take on different responsibilities to support a changing business model, and office-based employees had to adapt to working from home. Facing all this change, how could they continue to perform at their best? How could the organisation’s values, culture and sense of joy be kept alive at a time of immense uncertainty?

Being the best you

Alexandra Buxton, Fortnum’s Culture and Talent Director explained that they wanted all their staff to be their best, and above all to be their true selves. By embracing each other’s differences and sharing common values, extraordinary things can be achieved.

They decided to bring in the Meee team. Meee is founded on the idea that everyone is unique and, by using our values and natural strengths, combined with support from others, we can thrive in all aspects of our lives. Sometimes all we need to achieve this is a shift in perspective, a nudge to reset our thoughts and mindset.

So, working closely together Meee tailored a virtual version of the ‘Be The Best You’ programme that enables each employee to understand their unique qualities and how these can help them perform at their best more of the time. Online modules, including Meee Values and Balanced exercises, helped each team member identify their unique talents. Additional content was also created to help employees understand how they can bring Fortnum’s values to life.

Along with these exercises a series of small group virtual workshops allowed the team to share insights and ideas, while also creating an all-important sense of connection. A number of employees were also trained to be programme facilitators and roll out the programme across the retail organisation.

Engaging, energising and enabling

With a powerful digital platform underpinning the programme, which gave valuable insights into progress both before and after the virtual workshops, employees could see how they had developed. They also had access to supporting resources, articles and videos. Meanwhile, Fortnum’s Culture and Talent team could use the aggregated and anonymised data to understand how colleagues were performing and quickly identify where more support was needed.

Making an impact

At a time of huge anxiety, the programme had a tremendously positive impact. Participants have gained new insights about themselves, built stronger connections with colleagues and the organisation, and left the workshops feeling more energised and positive.

After completing the programme:

More joy

Fortnum’s is now planning to incorporate the values work in other areas like recruitment, onboarding, recognition, learning and development. And that all adds up to more purpose, positivity and ultimately more joy.

The management team wanted their people, at all levels, to feel the company was investing in and supporting them as best as possible at a very challenging time.

About Meee

Sid Madge is founder of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise) which draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of branding, psychology, neuroscience, education and sociology, to help people achieve extraordinary lives.

To date, Meee has transformed the lives of over 20,000 people, from leaders of PLC’s and SME’s to parents, teachers, students, carers, the unemployed and prison inmates.

Sid Madge is also author of the ‘Meee in Minute’ series of books which each offer 60 ways to change your life, work-, or family-life in 60 seconds.




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