Paul Abberley & Kate Griffiths-Lambeth, Charles Stanley

Charles Stanley suffered from an outdated, patriarchal approach, in which skills and leadership were unsupported and uninspiring. After 2 years of losses, governance issues and profit warnings caused near-collapse in 2014, they were saved from this fate by cultural shift.

Paul Abberley hired Kate Griffiths-Lambeth as HR Director, shortly after he was appointed CEO. Paul and Kate passionately believe in the power of the people to effect positive change, and these attitudes accelerated the cultural change. Engagement was not a familiar concept to many staff, some of whom had worked at the company for as many as 35 years.

"The power of the people to effect positive change"

A new Charles Stanley specific engagement survey was used to inform and influence the transformation strategy, and was a focal point of their first Group Conference in January 2016. Areas of concern had been raised, including career options, management, leadership, values, and reward and recognition.

Work-streams were established for each topic, and all initiatives were employee-steered. For example, concern around D&I led to the founding of the Innovation through Inclusion committee, which has since established mentoring and networking events to offer everyone greater access to leaders and managers, as well as opportunities for collaboration. Paul and Kate supported and encouraged the work-streams over a period of 10 months to help shape solutions to the company’s challenges.

The governance framework was totally restructured, and more effective team meetings and one-to-ones have been instigated. The company has seen significantly enhanced two-way communication; with regular, to-the-point leadership updates and feedback from employees harnessed and acted upon. Formal channels for recognition and reward have also been introduced. Through the power of engagement, Paul and Kate have inspired people to achieve a transformation with proven success – reported profit for 2017 was £8.8million, compared to a loss of £0.3million in 2016.