Improving 100 things by 1% is better than improving 1 thing by 100%

We’re delighted to be shortlisted by the British Quality Foundation Awards for Excellence in Customer Service, Employee Engagement & Continuous Improvement. Since our initial announcement, we’ve also been shortlisted for the prestigious Lloyds National Business Awards in 3 categories.

We’ve been lucky enough to win national business awards previously and we believe our success comes from a number of key improvement projects. From our poll, the project that you said you wanted to hear about was our 1% Improvement project which is essentially our continuous improvement program.

Where did it start?

It all began in 2016, we undertook a huge drive across the company to improve customer service through our World Class Customer Experience campaign (WCCE). We realised that to enable colleagues to deliver a World Class Customer Experience, we needed to empower them to be able to make improvements.

How did we implement it?

One of our core values is Innovation ‘always looking for new ways to do business’, we wanted to really live and breath this value in all that we do. To help colleagues realise how easy it is to innovate within their role, we created an easy to understand concept.

We knew that this wasn’t going to be an overnight change. We were all used to working in a certain way because ‘we’ve always done it this way’. To help shift mindsets across the business we talked about Matthew Syed’s work on ‘Growth Mindset’ and ‘marginal gains’:

This immediately resonated with colleagues. The concept of marginal gains allowed them to see how "improving 100 things by 1% is better than improving 1 thing by 100%". We made marginal gains our own by branding it as 1% Improvements.

In-line with our WCCE campaign, at a company workshop we asked all colleagues 'what can you do to improve a process by 1%, in order to benefit the customer?’ We received an incredible 130 improvements from the first workshop alone.

Naturally, this led to the development of the 1% Improvement Process as an ongoing improvement tool.  Improvements are submitted by an online form. Quick-win improvements can be implemented by the colleague or their manager. Larger project improvements are discussed by the 1% Team who allocate project 1% Improvements as quarterly goals to relevant individuals within the business.

Our 1% Improvement Campaign has generated a long-term culture of innovation, which has led to an increase in empowerment across the whole business. Colleagues are continually on the lookout for improvements and they know how to easily submit them via the form.

In order to maintain momentum, we use a number of improvement tools that generate 1% Improvements to improve a process or resolve an issue. Some of these tools include Debriefing and our Oh Shit checklist, as detailed in our previous blog posts.

Debrief Form:

Oh Shit Checklist:

We've implemented hundreds of improvements since we first introduced the process and we’re excited for many more fantastic improvements to be implemented as we pursue our continuous improvement journey.