Russell & Bromley Case Study

Discovering a new way to lead and manage

How Zentano helped Russell & Bromley engage and revitalise a diverse workforce

The Challenge

Russell and Bromley are a large, family run SME who have achieved a reputation for quality in the retail sector. However, this prestigious position presents its own challenges in terms of how to maintain their market share and grow the business to meet changing customer buying habits and employee needs. 

Zentano were asked to create a leadership & management training programme which took into account their specific culture and the ambitions of the business. Senior management consists of family members and long-serving staff who have been part of a traditional business model for most of their careers. At shop level, supervisors and managers are comparatively young and a number come from a range of international cultures, resulting in quite a difference between the shop floor and the senior management team. 

Jo Brown, HR Manager at Russell and Bromley, said that “We wanted to do things differently; yes, we sell shoes, handbags and accessories and fundamentally that process doesn’t change, but you can walk the same carpet in a different direction. We wanted to come from a different angle to motivate and engage our staff.” 

The Solution

Zentano’s first challenge was to create a diversity and equal opportunities workshop (eventually called Getting the Balance Right) tailored to the company culture and mindful of its history. Jo said, “We challenged Zentano to try and make an everyday subject exciting, interactive and engaging, which they did.”

“Dave Morris came in to talk to everyone from senior management, branch and area managers to sales assistants in order to understand their way of life and what they live and breathe. He carried out a significant amount of front-end research and visited several different stores”.

Zentano then developed “Equipped for Success”, a programme for Managers and Supervisors designed to re-energise staff, to engage them with the company and inspire them to try out new ways of managing and leading in the business.

Jo said; “The programme did equip us for success; it showed us how you can look at yourself, your people and understand what makes them tick. Your approach to this can be tailored to them, so that you get the most out of your team. Initially there was a fear factor (personality profiles have never been used before in the business) and some staff were a bit fearful at this as it was exposing their true selves. They soon realised though that it was a tool that can be used to help you work with your people”

The impact on staff has been considerable. The staff have felt that the Zentano workshops are of value; we have introduced this training because we value them. Secondly it’s a breath of fresh air for them. We are not telling them ‘you have to do this and that’. What we have done is given them the tools and an idea of how to perhaps think differently

Jo Brown, HR Manager - Russell & Bromley

The Result

Jo Brown had recognised that the retail sector was under pressure and that their teams were impacted by the uncertainty in the marketplace. She commented “By attending the programme the staff have felt that we value them. It’s a bit like a breath of fresh air for them – we are not telling them ‘you have to do this and that’. What we have done is given them the tools they need and an idea of how to think differently.”

“The course energised people, they have gone back and have said ‘let’s try this and let’s try that’. It has engaged our people more, we have become a team, we are positive, and we want to be successful. Zentano understood our ideas and our culture; They know we are not a company that shouts about ourselves, we do it very subtly. Dave came in and instantly got a feel for the company”.

“When Dave delivered the training, it was fun and relaxed and that is what the atmosphere of the training room is all about – it wasn’t a classroom. He is generally a relaxed, fun guy and he puts people at ease.”

“Quality, valuable and fun – he works with us and through all of that he comes out with a good programme that actually does what it says on the tin! It has equipped our team for success.”