People Puzzles win Best SME team management initiative at CIPD awards

People Puzzles are delighted to have won the Best SME team management initiative at the CIPD awards, held by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development!

Today Team/People Puzzles – Project 360

Today Team, a same-day courier covering the north west of England, is a thriving SME, which in 2015 found itself experiencing a not uncommon problem. Founded a decade earlier by entrepreneur Jamie Boyd (who started out with a £3,000 Prince’s Trust loan), the business was enjoying record turnover and growth. But Boyd, as managing director, was single-handedly heading up operations, sales, finance, recruitment and everything else in between.

While, amazingly, none of those multiple plates had been dropped in the firm’s first decade, and it boasted an enviable delivery success rate of 99.6 per cent, it was clear the founder was being spread so thin he was inadvertently holding the company back.

People Puzzles, a strategic HR consultancy headed up by Jayne Chadwick, was brought in to help tackle the problem. It began work by interviewing employees to identify bottlenecks and frustrations, and setting in motion an action plan that would iron out problems and unleash the firm’s vast potential.

Key to that was appointing a senior management team to lead on day-to-day matters, freeing Boyd up to focus on the bigger picture. A new logistics controller role was introduced to strengthen operations and two new business development managers joined the team. The commitment to a new, stronger team came with an annual salary increase of £100,000, so the pressure was on for People Puzzles to deliver – and fast.

Whole company sessions were set up to instil a new set of company values, a bonus scheme rewarded employees seen to be putting those values into practice and weekly focus meetings ensured targets and values were never out of sight.

Individuals were encouraged to take the reigns of their own progress. Job roles were re-defined and refined where necessary. Team members developed and clarified their own objectives. Newly recruited managers were offered personal coaching and a respected performance psychologist worked with everyone in the business to boost wellbeing.

Boyd’s commitment to expansion and diversification has revolutionised the business, and it is now able to win business from bigger clients. Investing in new talent stopped the CEO from acting as a bottleneck and the team now has its sights set on growth. Today, despite Boyd rarely being seen in the operations department, the monthly service success rate hasn’t budged.

Judges said of the CEO’s approach: “Jamie was very honest and open about his growth into his role as CEO of a small business. He showed great humility and a desire to continue to grow and learn as an owner manager.”

Next up is an ambitious growth plan to increase turnover from £1.3m to £3m by 2020, with a target of double the number of high-paying clients. Based on Today Team’s success so far, it seems far from unrealistic.

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