Transparency and Job Ownership at ATS UK Ltd

In: BlogDate: May 01, 2020By: Claire Lickman

This year at Advanced Technology Services UK Limited, Derek Hill and his team have focused on increasing transparency and job ownership. This is particularly important as ATS has 185 locations across the globe, primarily in the US, Mexico and UK, and need ways to maintain and strengthen their company culture across borders.

In this short video from the 2019 Happy Workplaces Conference, Derek explains what ATS has done to increase transparency and job ownership across the business.

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Transparency and Job Ownership at ATS UK

So what we’re focusing on now in the business is these two enablers. Transparency has been the key buzzword in our manifesto this year. We always question ‘are we being transparent enough? Why am I not sharing something? What needs to be confidential, what doesn’t?’ We use lots of tools for that. And ownership’s the other one, thinking about how people own their roles.

Some quick examples: we use a lot of technology to give us transparency, because we’re fragmented. We use things like Smartsheet where all our scorecards are open to someone. So we have no secrets, everything’s out there. We use Slack as our communication tool and we ban private channels. I look to that as a measure, actually – what percentage of direct messages and private channels versus what percentage is out there in the open.

Everything’s an open conversation. If you want to be involved you can get involved. And we talk about the opportunity to achieve and get promoted, it’s about taking responsibility and getting involved in the organisation. Transparency has helped us to do that.

One of the other things, I do this thing called Two-Minute Tuesday. Every Tuesday I do a two-minute video. Last year I managed to do 44 videos. Every week I stand in front of the camera and I just say what’s going on – good stuff, bad stuff. It’s great talking about all the good things and the fun things, but I’ve had to talk about factory closures, I’ve had to talk about people losing their jobs, I’ve had to talk about one colleague who passed away. So it’s not all the good stuff, but it’s just being totally open in what we’re doing.

This actually gives me energy, because it’s tough when you’re in a business which is fragmented getting around everyone. I really enjoyed shaking everybody’s hand when we were smaller. It’s tougher now, so this gives me a connection to do that and hopefully allows us to share everything we’re doing within the business and people to feel part of it.

Then ownership, copying the Happy model here, we talk about the job ownership model. This is about being really clear with people on our principles and what we stand for; allowing them to influence those principles; clear on goals and accountabilities; where they sit as individuals; support and feedback. Some of the things we’re trying to learn from best practices I see elsewhere are those ‘one pagers’ and how we can keep those things front and centre.

This year at Advanced Technology Services UK Limited, Derek Hill and his team have focused on increasing transparency and job ownership. This has become particularly important as ATS has 185 locations across the globe, primarily in the US, Mexico and UK - and having ways of maintaining and strengthening their company culture.

The focus on transparency has inspired new ways of working, such as using Smartsheet and Slack to share information and have conversations with different teams and offices.

"One of the other things, I do this thing called Two-Minute Tuesday. Every Tuesday I do a two-minute video. Last year I managed to do 44 videos," says Derek. "Every week I stand in front of the camera and I just say what’s going on – good stuff, bad stuff. It’s great talking about all the good things and the fun things, but I’ve had to talk about factory closures, I’ve had to talk about people losing their jobs, I’ve had to talk about one colleague who passed away. So it’s not all the good stuff, but it’s just being totally open in what we’re doing."

In this short video from the 2019 Happy Workplaces Conference, Derek explains what ATS has done to increase transparency and job ownership across the business.

Resources and related content

  • Why a Non-Profit Scrapped Their Appraisals Process — Rather than using an annual appraisal to give staff feedback, embed a coaching culture in your organisation. "You can give effective coaching and feedback regularly, in short discussions, to help people come to their own conclusions on their performance," explains Sophie Bryan. Could you implement this in your HR department?
  • 9 Great Companies That Practice Collaborative Hiring — In 2016, the BBC ran a new TV series called 'Who's the Boss?' which allowed a wide range of staff to be involved in deciding who to employ. The process gets away from individual bias, the potential recruits get a much better sense of the business and people feel really involved in the decision.
  • 12 Ways in Which Toyota Create a Great Workplace — Henry Stewart visited Toyota and learned about 'kaizen'. Each member of staff is expected to come up with at least two kaizen, or improvements, each month. They are allocated 15 minutes a day to identify and test these.

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About Derek Hill

Derek has been Managing Director of Advanced Technology Solutions UK Ltd for over 10 years.

Advanced Technology Services (ATS) improves productivity and profitability for many of the world's most respected companies through enhancing production equipment maintenance, industrial parts services and innovative IT solutions.

ATS has been on a journey over the last few years towards creating a truly great workplace.

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