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How Meee helped Fortnum & Mason keep its organisational values, culture and sense of joy alive during the pandemic

Fortnum & Mason has a simple goal: to make joy. Delivering extraordinary food, exceptional service and unforgettable experiences takes passion, amazing ideas and talented people. But, when the global pandemic hit, Fortnum’s was forced to make rapid changes.

Many of its employees had to open or close stores with very little notice, others had to take on different responsibilities to support a changing business model, and office-based employees had to adapt to working from home. Facing all this change, how could they continue to perform at their best? How could Fortnum’s keep its organisational values, culture and sense of joy alive at a time of immense uncertainty? That’s where Meee came in.

Being the best you

“We want everyone who works at Fortnum’s to be their best, and above all to be their true selves,” explains Alexandra Buxton, Fortnum’s Culture and Talent Director. “If we can embrace each other’s differences and share common values, we can achieve extraordinary things.”

This was music to the ears of the Meee team. Meee is founded on the idea that everyone is unique and, by using our values and natural strengths, combined with support from others, we can thrive in all aspects of our lives. Sometimes all we need to achieve this is a shift in perspective, a nudge to reset our thoughts and mindset.

So, working closely with Fortnum’s, Meee tailored a virtual version of its Be The Best You programme that enables each employee to understand their unique qualities and how these can help them perform at their best more of the time. Online modules, including Meee Values and Balanced Meee exercises, helped each team member identify their unique talents. Meee also created customised content that helped employees understand how they can bring Fortnum’s values to life.

Supporting these exercises, Meee ran a series of small group virtual workshops which allowed the team to share insights and ideas, while also creating an all-important sense of connection. Meee also trained a number of Fortnum’s employees to be programme facilitators and roll out the programme across the organisation.

Engaging, energising and enabling

Meee’s powerful digital platform underpinned the programme, which gave Fortnum’s valuable insights into progress both before and after the virtual workshops. Employees could see how they had developed afterwards, as well as having access to supporting resources, articles and videos. Meanwhile, Fortnum’s Culture and Talent team could use the aggregated and anonymised data to understand how colleagues were performing and quickly identify where more support was needed.

Making an impact

At a time of huge anxiety, the programme had a tremendously positive impact. Participants have gained new insights about themselves, built stronger connections with colleagues and the organisation, and left the workshops feeling more energised and positive.

After completing the programme:

93% felt that they can achieve more together with their colleagues at Fortnum’s
91% felt closer to Fortnum’s purpose and values
90% felt they had a better understanding of how to help and develop others
88% felt they had a better understanding of how to deliver a wonderful customer experience

Some feedback from Be The Best You participants:

“This has helped me understand myself and others better. And how to be a better friend.”

“Communicate with each other. Get to know more people. Share experiences and knowledge to bring us closer together.”

“I’m going to talk more about our values – to customers, colleagues, family. And give more positive feedback.”

More joy

Fortnum’s is now planning to incorporate the values work in other areas like recruitment, onboarding, recognition, learning and development. And that all adds up to more purpose, positivity and ultimately more joy.

“Sid, Joss and the Meee team have been an immense asset to our work in the last few months. We wanted our people to feel we were investing in and supporting them as best we could at a very challenging time. Colleagues at all levels – from our customer-facing colleagues to our back of house teams and our Executive Team members – have had an extraordinary experience on the programme and been raving about what it has done for them personally. Collectively, the programme is helping us bring our values to life and reinforce our culture, while connecting our people and boosting their resilience.” said Alexandra Buxton, Fortnum’s Culture and Talent Director.