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RPO: Performance and Progression Review


“If you can’t measure something, you can’t manage it” (Peter Drucker)

There are exceptions to most things in life, but being able to measure something certainly makes it easier to manage in my experience. The challenge many companies have is truly measuring output and efficiencies of their people, particularly as in some roles it is easy to fudge “productivity” with “activity”. In other words, people can claim to be working “very hard” and yet produce very little. RPO is designed to dramatically improve the productivity levels of people working at shop floor level within manufacturing and distribution. It combines sound performance management with increased engagement levels and is based on 2 key principals:

  •  Have the right people in the right roles
  •  Measure capabilities, behaviours and attitudes

The Performance and Progression Review is a tool I have created to measure people and their productivity and engagement combined. The positive impact is dramatic and it enables people at operational level to feel managed even with questionable management skills at Team Leader or Shift Manager level. If you would like to know more please come and see for yourself and ask people using it.

Plant of the Year 2015



We are so pleased and proud of Rexam, Milton Keynes for winning their sector  ‘Plant of the Year’ award 2015. We introduced RPO into this plant towards the end of 2010 and it’s still going strong today. I know how passionate and pleased Ian Clayton is with his whole team and as he said this morning in our RPO event, “Our people are everything and we can only achieve this through them”.

RPO: December Event





Excellent RPO event at Rexam, Milton Keynes in December. A Big thank you to Ian Clayton, Lee Bottrill, John Hatton and Steve Mason for explaining how RPO has contributed to their outstanding Plant performance over the last few years. It was great to involve three of my other RPO Plants in the session – Kerry, Brush Electrical Machines and Johnson Tiles.

The Team Leaders and Shift Managers today said that they’d found it helpful to spend time with people from other Plants experiencing the same issues. From my perspective, the Team Leaders and Shift Managers who attended were so passionate about transforming the cultures within their Plants. I am really looking forward to working with them in 2016.

Employee Engagement and British Manufacturing



Rexam 2


In the 1970’s 25% of jobs in the UK were in manufacturing. By 2010 this percentage had fallen to 8.2%. Working conditions in factories today are considered at an all time high, with good salaries and flexible working for most, however in many factories we are still faced with low levels on engagement, resistance, high absence and apathy. Our British manufacturing cannot be described as passionate and engaged and this could be one of the reasons many British based manufacturers are moving business abroad.

The 18th Century witnessed the Industrial Revolution in the heart of Britain, which was a major transition into new manufacturing processes, one of which was Henry Ford’s assembly line or what we might now refer to as the ‘shop floor’. The Industrial Revolution transformed what was primarily an agricultural system of generating outputs to creating hundreds of industrialised jobs and pushing the populace towards the cities of Britain; factories housed up to 300 workers, which at the time was never before seen.

Manufacturing and exporting goods such as textiles and iron aided the growth of the British economy and between 1870 and 1900, economic output (per head of population) in Britain rose by 500 per cent, which effectively generated significant rise in living standards.

The Industry charged forward at full throttle, running like a machine with the operational workforce being the vital cogs in its successes. Due to the great demand for outputs and the new-found reliance on British exports, the workforce fell victim to exploitation through inequitable working conditions in order to maintain productivity. These conditions, however, facilitated the pathway which led to an empowered generation of workers, who, through a process of self-determination and unity, were able to work towards and fight for increased workers rights, minimum standards of care, a minimum wage and adequate healthcare. With the industrialisation of Britain a new form of consciousness within the workforce dawned.

No longer faced with deplorable working conditions, underpayment and unregulated working hours, the modern British workforce is facing new problems of its own. Disengagement is the newest enemy of the manufacturing industry. In Britain, 27% of the manufacturing workforce is over 50 and looking forward to their retirement. This can often naturally lead to decreasing engagement when such a large percentage already has a metaphorical foot out of the door.  Disengagement is incredibly influential on a workforce as whole, as new starters within a company absorb the atmosphere of their peers, creating a static, resistive workforce unwilling to deviate from the status quo.  As the Baby Boomer Generation winds down and is replaced by Generation X and Y in the workplace, the dynamic of the work-centric Baby Boomer to the Generation Y work/life balance has begun to shift heavily towards the latter. This change in the working style of an industry, coupled with the promise of an earlier retirement for the Baby Boomer Generation in comparison to Gen X and Y has shone a light on why engagement is now so vital within the manufacturing industry.

The necessity for creating an engaged culture within a workforce is directly linked to the rate of production.  Sounds simple enough, but what can be done when workforce has lost its fire?  Empowering a workforce is the key to engagement.

RPO engages and educates the first-line managers of an organisation (team leaders) in ownership of both the performance and morale levels of their teams by creating a platform where each person is given the opportunity to have their voice heard within an organisation. Through personal, structured, documented conversations, individuals are given the chance to influence changes within their organisation and involve the shop floor in decisions and improvements to their working environment. These conversations create a direct link between the shop floor and the Plant Manager within an organisation and closes the hierarchical gap which is so often a cause of contention within a tiered organisation.

RPO also teaches first line managers how to effectively performance manage and motivate, which naturally creates a high-performance culture. It also connects and promotes first line managers with senior management, leading to a more progressive and agile leadership styles throughout the plant. Ultimately the workforce are given a voice with which they can influence and be an active part of change, which in turn increases engagement levels throughout an organsation


Employee Engagement Increased To:

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