Listening – a building block for culture and strategy

by Craig

The challenge

The University of Nottingham finance department wanted to understand how Covid and being in lockdown had impacted both the home and work lives of their frontline colleagues, managers and leaders. They wanted to incorporate the learnings from this feedback into their evolving culture and strategy, to ensure it met the needs of their employees, students and internal customers.

In addition, they wanted these learnings to help inform how a more flexible, hybrid-working approach could be implemented within the finance community.

The solution

They wanted to hear the views of their colleagues and create a safe and open environment, where everyone could chat in a non-judgemental manner about their experiences, proudest moments, and learnings. They needed an external consultant who they trusted, to facilitate these potentially sensitive discussions – that’s why Rambutan was their first choice!

We facilitated cross-functional, engaging and fun listening sessions. These involved the senior leadership team, managers, and frontline colleagues across the whole finance community. In addition we held one-to ones with the senior leadership team.

The result

Key themes from these sessions helped inform both the ever-evolving finance strategy and the finance department’s empowering and engaging culture. This included the need to develop and implement a more hybrid and agile approach to flexible working that reflected the needs of the finance community, based on their Covid and lockdown experiences and learnings. Creating safe-spaces for everyone to share their stories worked brilliantly, really helping everyone to support each other.

University of Nottingham staff

Want to know more?

Our listening sessions were all 2D (online), and built around an environment of confidentiality, openness and listening. The sessions created loads of individual stories of everyone’s successes, learnings, and challenges. We also celebrated what people were proud of. Examples included the positive adaptions that are still working brilliantly now; people’s immense resilience and how they delivered their work seamlessly, regardless of how, when or where they were working.

The outcomes, collated into key themes, originated from an environment that we created, where each person felt completely safe and comfortable to chat openly and honestly.

We engaged fully with all finance colleagues and listened to them to identify the most appropriate way to share the findings, back to them and to their colleagues. This resulted in the joint agreement to share all the feedback outcomes and learnings, in an interactive presentation during the finance community’s ‘Our Journey’ conference. The presentation at their conference helped support them to produce a far clearer path for their future.

University of Nottingham buildings
University of Nottingham students

What the University of Nottingham said…

“We, as leaders of the finance departments within the University of Nottingham, have been leading our teams through a people, culture and engagement journey. We felt, as part of that journey, it was important to start capturing our teams’ thoughts, feelings and very personal experiences of the challenges faced during lockdown. We commissioned Craig from Rambutan to work with us on this critical piece of work.

We had no idea how our teams would respond to sharing their personal experiences in a virtual workshop environment, but Craig had a fantastic way of making our people feel relaxed and very comfortable. He made the space in which they were communicating feel very safe. As a result of this, our people opened-up completely and have shared the most amazing and personal experiences with good grace, humour and a real passion and commitment for concern and care towards each other.

I can honestly say that Craig was the key driver for such open and fantastic conversations and our teams really connected and engaged with his humour and style. This was such an important piece of work for us, and Craig was completely bought into that and worked tirelessly to make sure every team member was involved and had their say. I and my colleague are delighted with the results and cannot wait to start building the teams’ feedback into our finance journey..”

Sally Blackamore, Financial Controller

If you’d like to know more about how we helped the University of Nottingham, give Craig a call because he loves to wax lyrical about this project.