Improving Culture, Engagement & Sales

“…the teams in the centres welcoming people to the team as part of their family and taking good care of them when they join. The impact that has had on the business in monetary value? We’ve saved about half a million pounds.”  Emma Fell, Head of Learning and Development

The Hillier Story

‘From little acorns mighty oaks grow’, perfectly encapsulates the Hillier legacy. Founded in 1838 by Edwin Hillier, the company has expanded from a single garden centre in Winchester to a network of 22 centres across Southern England. After five generations and 186 years, Hillier is still family-run, growing around 1 million plants and 750,000 trees per year and holds the world record for awards at RHS Chelsea Flower Show – 74 consecutive gold medals since 2019!

Passionate about their people, Hillier employ around 200 staff working in a variety of roles across their nurseries, retail, restaurant and online businesses. Their vision is to create an inclusive learning environment regardless of role.

The Challenge

The nature of their industry meant that Hillier had a high turnover of staff. Having more than doubled in size in recent years they wanted to ensure they maintained their family values and created an inclusive learning culture as their expansion progressed. As more garden centres were acquired they needed to ensure that, from the top down, there was a culture of collaboration, inspiration, ownership and accountability, to not only make Hillier a great place to work but to empower some of their new managers and team leaders with the confidence and skills to embrace their new roles.

How we did it

Dale Carnegie and Hillier have been working together for over 15 years, initially utilising the Dale Carnegie Course to improve team leader confidence. The behaviour changes were so noticeable that the programme was implemented in-house, while the SLT attending an in-house Leadership Training for Results programme. The innovation projects, improved collaboration and ‘one team’ mentality led to an increase in retention rates and improved business results.