This week, we talk to Donald Moore, the former Managing Director, and now Chairman, of Rowlinson Knitwear. He led the change to becoming an employee-owned business which has transformed employee retention, productivity, customer satisfaction, and in turn, profitability.
Family businesses have a tendency to exist purely for the benefit of the family itself, or for the shareholders. Often, that can lead to an unfortunate sense of greed, and can affect morale.
Donald’s philanthropic viewpoint on his company, was that it needed to start caring more. Targets and incentives were leading to bad feeling and selfishness. His first rule in the wake of this, was that everyone needed to care, for the business, for the customer, and for each other.
During the banking crisis, Donald made some poor decisions in order to satisfy the demands of shareholders. Service and customer satisfaction suffered as a result, as did profits.
A good business discipline is to constantly monitor the cash you have on a daily basis, and ensure that it’s working effectively for you.
The new directive, in the face of near-disaster, was to focus on customers and people instead of profits, and put the shareholders last.
The best way to get through any kind of recession is to conserve cash and watch your margins. While the herd mentality chases growth in the hope that it’ll help them survive, keep your hand on your prices and hold your nerve.
People will always pay a small premium for quality, good service, and speed. It’s a strategy that worked for Rowlinson in the face of defeat. Concentrating on customer service and quality resulted in a staggering rise in profits.
By engendering trust with its partners, Rowlinson was easily able to secure the funding required in order to complete their transition to an employee-owned company. Donald credits this trust as the main reason for his company’s growth and success.
Rowlinson commit to making sure that its lower-paid employees are taken care of as a priority, and the higher-paid employees come last. Along with other benefits, such as pensions, this has created an incredible in-house culture.
Employees at Rowlinson are fully involved with the way the company operates, and their rewards, such as profit-shares and holiday allowances, are tailored to the results of customer service response. This has led to an increased level of engagement, and the sense that each person can really make a difference.
The areas that business owners need the most help with in order to effect true growth are:
Dealing with imposter syndrome
Creating a team that people want to be a part of
Happiness at work is the most important metric at Rowlinson’s. It’s a cornerstone of the company’s culture, and is far more crucial in terms of determining the suitability of new hires.
The future is an incredibly important part of all decisions taken at the business. By providing a happy, inclusive, generous-spirited place to work, Rowlinson have created a place that people will aspire to being a part of for generations to come.
‘It’s not always the family that are in the best position to grow a successful and enduring company’
’The business was individually, and collectively, selfish’
‘If you head-butt someone, then you’re not likely to keep your job, really'
’Trust became our second value’
‘We want to be trusted’
‘I think that all commercial companies should reward their people with elements of profit-share’
’This year’s customer satisfaction is next year’s profit’
‘It’s all part of our plan to build a great business for years to come'
The Business Mastermind Podcast
Donald Moore LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/donald-moore-26235521/?originalSubdomain=uk
Rowlinson Knitwear http://www.rowlinson-knitw