Training for success – How Quill Pinpoint increased engagement during Covid-19
Quill provides legal accounts software to law firms, as well as a range of other services including outsourced legal cashiering, outsourced payroll and book-keeping services.
Despite Covid-19, Quill managed to achieve their highest ever engagement levels as the world went into lockdown. As a highly engaged workforce correlates with increased productivity, we spoke with Managing Director Julian Bryan and HR Manager Corrine Blake to find out how they achieved this and the positive outcomes they have experienced.
Management and Communication
“It’s really reassuring to have feedback that we’re doing the right things by the employees,” said Corrine. “It’s been a journey; we’ve taken our scores seriously each year and it just so happens that it’s shone to light during Covid-19.”
Engagement improvement has been at the heart of the company’s strategy for some time now. “We wanted to invest in training for some time, both for managers and team members. Our SWOT Analysis from our 2019 survey data was the push we needed to invest in upskilling our people.”
As a result, Quill invested in leadership training in late 2019. All managers participated in training over the course of several days, covering important topics such as providing constructive feedback and mental health awareness.
The training had an impact on more than just the skills of the individuals. Corrine said, “It actually brought us closer together as a leadership team. The main lesson we took away was simple: we can’t over-communicate with each other and our employees.”
This core take away was fundamental to approaching lockdown and driving engagement as Covid-19 hit the business. “We immediately created a Covid-19 task force to help address concerns and chose to continually communicate with our staff early and often. We used a range of tools, including text messages, emails, newsletters, app messaging and videos from the leadership team. We didn’t want to needlessly send messages out for the sake of it, but when we had something to say, we used all of these pathways to ensure everyone understood what was happening and why.”
For Julian, transparency was key to keeping all employees feeling engaged and reassured during the pandemic. At the company-wide wide virtual meeting held in April during the height of the lockdown, his message to employees was, “I promise I will do my best for all of you, and all I ask is that you embody the spirit of our strapline of ‘Accountable to you’ and be accountable to each other and to Quill.”
Management training has done more than improve engagement levels. “Certain things just feel easier,” said Corrine. “It’s reassuring to see the data and know that employees feel confident in our managers, and that the manager feels empowered to run their team. It’s helped encourage a feeling of unison; people understand why decisions are made and opened more of a dialogue around any concerns.”
Increased business performance
For non-managers at Quill, training and increased management skill has significantly helped their performance and profitability.
“Early this year, we put funding into developing our customer-facing staff”, mentioned Corrine. “Everyone had the opportunity to attend QUEST (Quill Undertaking Excellent Service Training) training, which promoted an ambassadorial approach to interacting with clients. We mixed up training groups between sites to help break down silos across different sites and teams. People were able to mingle and meet others across the business, understand their challenges and how they operate.”
“Now, we see a marked increase in how far our teams will go to help our customers. They are so much more in tune with each other and the leadership team’s vision,” said Julian.
Morale between teams has increased as a result; employees show a 10% increase in believing that the different teams work well together.
“We’ve had better than budgeted results for June and July revenue figures,” continued Julian.
“We’ve seen the entire team pull together in the same direction. People are taking more responsibility, and I know I can trust my employees even more to take care of the important things. It’s a weight lifted off my shoulders, and means we can focus on making Quill an even better place to work.”
Increases in clear communication and management ability have also led to an increase in wellbeing amongst employees. Quill’s 2019 data showed that compared with similar organisations in the Services sector, staff were 4% less engaged when it came to their wellbeing.
Since then, managers have put an earnest focus on wellbeing to develop positivity in this area. Comments analysis shows that over 20% of anonymous comments made by staff showed positive outcomes.
To continue driving this, Corrine and the team sent monthly surveys sent out to assess how everyone was feeling.
Corrine said, “We started these at the beginning of June, wanting to ensure that staff felt supported. Did they have the right equipment, did they feel their productivity was being impacted, did they have concerns about their mental health?”
Early results from these mini-surveys showed there were many struggling when working from home. “In our earlier results, what became clear was that some colleagues were struggling working from home and missed being in the office,” explained Corrine. “They missed the social aspect and wanted to be able to disassociate work from their home life.
“We made the decision to accelerate our plans to reopen our Liverpool office. Since mid-July, several people now take advantage of the office being open three days a week with appropriate safety measures in place.”
Mental health is an area that Quill doesn’t take lightly. “I am a Mental Health First Aider,” said Corrine, “and we linked up with an Employee Assistance Programme to offer complimentary counselling to our employees.”
For Corrine, the relationship between wellbeing and employee engagement is synonymous. “If our staff are happy and healthy, they’re going to be more productive and engaged with the business. We spend so much time at work, and surveying about this and engagement in general forms a big part of our ability to help them.”
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