Internal Feedback Sessions
Meetings that get to the heart of what matters
First Response's "Pulse Meetings"
As you may already have read, at First Response our philosophy and vision as a company is "People Service Profit" and we firmly believe that everything starts with our people. In other businesses it is the case that senior management are removed from the work and are detached from what is going on within their teams. We like to consider ourselves a bit different as our CEO Don Brough likes to get a real understanding of what is happening and he believes it is important to be aware of this and, more specifically, what's important to our people. In order to achieve this Don and the Head of HR, Debbie Johnson, hold regular ‘Pulse Meetings’ which allow them to get into the business and talk with our employees.
We caught up with Debbie to find out why Pulse Meetings were started and exactly what benefit they bring to the business.
"We started them in 2015 as we had that years' Best Companies results and were surprised by moving in a negative direction. We decided it would be a good idea to go out and speak to people to find out how they were feeling and what was happening. The meetings were really successful so we have continued them, although the format has changed since that first year. We also run the meetings as we enjoy them. They allow people to tell us their niggles or frustrations about the business, for example communication relaying changes. If something is brought up by a selection of people we can piece things together and give the feedback directly to the relevant area to try and get any issues resolved or put a new process in place a little bit quicker."
As somebody who hasn't experienced the way First Response works this can seem like a strange idea - getting the CEO and Head of HR out into the business - surely this will have an impact on business performance? Debbie answers your worries:
"We make sure that there isn't a direct impact on business performance by ensuring people are from across the business (so there's never 1 or 2 people per team out at any one time). The main thing about Pulse Meetings is that they are good chance for people to meet with Don in order to emphasise our open culture. People are able to raise issues directly with Don and we think this has a positive impact on the working environment."
"When the sessions began they were with individuals with scripted questions based on the results we received from Best Companies, so we were digging into particular topics. Once we got through the initial set of meetings the questions were no longer necessary and people were able to talk about what they wanted to. In a group people will listen to what someone says and it prompts their own opinions so leads to further discussion. As more and more people are having exposure to the meetings team members are able to ask their team if there is anything they want them to say on their behalf."
In essence the Pulse meetings are there to allow direct access to senior management; for people to talk about the issues concerning them; and to hear Dons views or opinions. First Response lives by its values and the meetings really do generate an open and honest environment.
When was the last time you were honest about the issues concerning you?
Did talking it through help solve the situation for all involved?
Follow us on our LinkedIn to join the conversation and also read more about the progress we make with the Pulse meetings.