Recently local Cheltenham based business; Superdry have announced they are experiencing financial issues and as a result they are making hundreds of job cuts. Superdry’s share price has plummeted and is continuing to fall, speculation about the business, its management and the board is attracting lots of media attention. Reading between the lines; it appears a large strategic change by the Board of Directors has impacted the business culture, leadership group and ultimately team morale, resulting in some long-standing creative team members resigning.
Co-Founder of Superdry, Julian Dunkerton, left the board in March 2018 due to disagreements over the business strategy. However, as Co-Founder and Shareholder, Julian is keen to help re-build and turn the business around. He has put out an open letter/report ‘Supercharge Superdry’ and states his proposal and terms to be voted back and return as a Director, the vote takes today, on 2nd April – we look forward to hearing the result of this and do hope our local business can revive itself. It’s clear Julian is committed and passionate about the brand and recognises changes need to be made from the core, he stated “low employee morale and a loss of creative talent is part of the problem.”
For Superdry to be going through these difficulties highlights the significance of strategic changes and how they can impact the firm culture and team morale- and how even if the changes are being made for the right reasons if they are not well executed, they can cause serious problems.
Strategic change is often required and vital for firms to keep aligned with market changes and competitors; engaging with change specialists or HR consultants like ourselves can support this process ensuring that things don’t fall down when it gets to implementation time. Superdry is a prime example of how a business has changed its strategic direction for the better, but on paper it’s proving unsuccessful, primarily due to poor implementation (or so we understand) and how the changes have affected the businesses creative culture. Here are our top tips on how to deal with strategic change.
Top Tips: How to successfully implement strategic change
- Do a SWOT analysis, identify key strengths/weaknesses/opportunities and threats and discuss how the proposed changes could impact these.
- Identify key leaders of the change; either internal or external consultants but ensure there is buy in across the Company.
- Conduct organisation change impact assessments, “what happens if…”
- Communicate proposed changes to the business; highlighting benefits. Expect there to be resistance and anxiety towards the changes, invite feedback through either focus groups, interviews or online surveys. Allow your employees to openly discuss their concerns, offer reassurance if required.
- Listen to your team. Operational staff may know more about the existing processes than you, listen and take on board. If necessary, re-evaluate the proposed changes.
- Re-fresh your business visions so it is aligned to the proposal.
- Tailor training to teams/individuals – so they are aware of how the changes will impact them and their roles directly.
- Continue to try and raise morale with the team, to help individuals feel secure and motivated. Team lunches, team building activities or away days are great ideas to continue to allow communication between teams and management.
- Customer focus – engage customers to help them understand how the changes will benefit them to encourage continued loyalty.
If you are planning on making big changes to your business direction or restructuring, please do get in touch and we would be happy to work with you achieving this whilst keeping you teams informed and happy.