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Anna Kennedy Goes Back to the Floor

The company runs a back to the floor initiative where the Senior Leadership team work on the shop floor for a day. This is a great way for leaders to engage with the shop floor staff and see first-hand the different processes of the products being made. Each Leader has different backgrounds and therefore each learning and insight is unique. After everyone has undertaken their back to the floor duties, we go through a feedback process so that we can capture all the learnings to make improvements going forward.

From a HR perspective, and as my first experience of back to the floor, I found the whole process extremely valuable. I was in our Flooring Midlands site in Wolverhampton and spent time in the metalwear area, where the drill is operated and where the saw is used. I was given a safety briefing and provided with the required PPE before I went into the factory. It was great to work alongside experienced staff that were willing to be open and honest about what they do, what they enjoy, and some of the challenges they face. They were all well briefed about the exercise and they took the time to explain what they were doing and why. The level of knowledge in their areas were impressive and they demonstrated how their experience enables them to show initiative when carrying out tasks to deliver high performance. I took a number of points away that I felt the business may be able to improve on by liaising with other departments in the business and drawing on their expertise. This demonstrates how worthwhile these exercises are. It was also useful to ‘be in their shoes’ to see the tasks they carry out in detail and experience the conditions they work in. I believe the staff that were worked alongside found it useful to have access to leaders across the business and used the opportunity to provide feedback about their work.

Once the work experience is complete, it is then vital that we use our observations, thoughts and feedback to critically analyse the whole process. This allows us all to get the most out of the experience and make the business more innovative, which translates into better products and service for our customers. I look forward to sitting with the leadership team to share our learnings over the coming weeks so that we can continue to improve and develop.

Anna Kennedy, Head of HR