Combining innovation, heritage and craftsmanship, Hainsworth deserves and maintains its reputation as one of the world’s leading textile manufacturers. Based in Pudsey, West Yorkshire, the Hainsworth family has been producing textiles since 1783 and leads across multiple markets including fashion apparel, fashion interiors, lifestyle, leisure and protective clothing, ensuring it is truly ‘the fabric of a nation’.
To remain competitive and creative in the national and global market was one of the challenges facing Tom Hainsworth, Managing Director. “Hainsworth had a traditional top-down command and control management structure and culture prevailing in the business. The culture was appropriate for the traditional manufacturing company, but was no longer right for the dynamic and innovative business environment of today” said Tom. “Once a culture is routed in the business, it is one of the most difficult things to change and as Managing Director, I am responsible for leading and supporting my team through this cultural change process.”
Precisely because of this culture, Tom Hainsworth approached the Fashion and Textile Group Training Association, www.fashionandtextiles-gta.co.uk based at Huddersfield’s Textile Centre of Excellence, to engage in their Change Management programme. Offered as one of the many initiatives via the Employment Ownership of Skills Programme (EOP), textiles and apparel companies can receive up to 50% funding to enable them to develop training programmes to enhance the skills of their workforce.
Hainsworth embarked on the Change Management programme in Q4 of 2013. “The aim of the programme was to help directors and managers to work together as one team and to manage their functional teams in a consistent manner, by developing a common set of skills, methodologies and a shared language,” said Tom. “At a more individual level, this was an opportunity to learn new skills or build on existing abilities and experience to improve personal effectiveness at work and confidence and competence as a director or manager.”
The outcomes from the Change Management programme have had positive impacts on Hainsworth’s directors and managers with encouraging feedback. Julie Hilliard, Customer Service Manager, Hainsworth said, “The training was very useful and it has given me confidence to deal with challenging situations and staff.” Martin Howarth appreciated the benefits of having the training offsite. “It was good to have the meeting offsite to prevent distractions and be completely focused,” said Martin. “I realised there is no wrong or right way of doing things, people just have different approaches”. Julie Dickinson also benefitted from the training. “I got a lot from the training and I’m growing in confidence,” said Julie. “I particularly enjoyed the one to one feedback.” For Andrea Douglas, some reluctance around employment role play situations, proved to be the most helpful. “Overall I found the training beneficial as we discussed situations within the workplace and how to deal with them effectively,” said Andrea. “I was initially reluctant to participate in the role play situations but I found these to be the most advantageous part of the training.”
The longer term benefits will undoubtedly ensure best practice with Tom observing that ‘team meetings are more productive and efficient as a result of the programme’. Tom cites a shift with the management team assessing situations quicker and managing appropriate behavior and communicating in a style that the recipient understands, as other tangible benefits for his leadership team and company.
Hainsworth have seen the advantages of the Change Management programme to their business and would encourage other companies to consider investing in this type of training to benefit their company and workforce. “There is a larger understanding of the level of performance and contribution each individual director and manager needs to make,” said Tom. “This will ensure success and how we communicate the business so that we can act as one team.”