Raising the Performance Bar at MSC

Mediterranean Shipping Company (UK) Ltd, (previously known as Medite) are the UK agents for one of the World’s largest shipping container businesses. Founded by the late Chairman, Roy Davies, in 1977 the business has grown significantly year on year to the point that it now ships over 500,000 teu’s (twenty foot equivalent units).

Employing over 400 people, principally on their Ransomes Europark site, the company is placing an increasing emphasis on developing the skills and knowledge of the whole workforce in order to fulfil their ambitious growth strategies.

“We had tried internally on occasions to overhaul our performance management capability with limited success” says Dan Everitt (Managing Director) “but our partnership with Akenham is really transforming our ability to help everyone maximise their contribution to the performance of the business”.

So what has made the difference this time round? “One thing we have definitely got right is the way in which we have involved everyone in helping to shape this change rather than just impose it top down”, says Nicky Fishwick, HR Manager. “This has been a planned and coordinated programme, rather than some ‘quick fix’ training, in which we have simplified our processes, aligned personal objectives with our corporate strategy and equipped managers to have more meaningful and productive performance conversations with their teams”.

And has this investment been justified? “Absolutely,” enthuses Nicky. “The response across the business has been amazing. It feels like we have really taken the cork out of the performance bottle – the energy, motivation and development of our managers has created a real buzz about the place. Not only are we seeing a big change in behaviour from many who have worked here for a while, we have also been able to attract some high calibre individuals externally by being able to demonstrate what it will be like to work around here in future”.

Reflecting on the feel good factor around the business, Dan is determined that everyone sees this as the start rather than the end of the journey. “The senior management team here at MSC are absolutely determined that this will not be a nine day wonder or flavour of the month. This is an upwardly mobile business with the type of ambition that can only be fulfilled through everyone challenging themselves to raise the bar, day in, day out – it’s what a high performance culture is really all about”. And will Akenham still be there along the way? “We love working with Akenham who have been a genuine business partner at every stage of the process”, summarises Nicky. “We simply would not have been able to achieve what we have done without them, and we’re not done yet, not by a long chalk!”.