Case Study - NFT Transport


The Challenge

NFT was established 30 years ago as the distribution arm of Northern Foods and was sold off as a separate entity in 2006. NFT distribution provides chilled, time-critical food & drink logistics.

NFT’s client list includes major European brands and private label manufacturers & importers, regional food & drink manufacturers and leading UK and European grocery multiple retailers.

As would be expected in this arena the operation is a 24 hour a day operation and employs in excess of 1900 employees.

Calm People were invited in to discuss their areas of expertise and how they may impact upon employee behaviour.

St Albans site is NFT’s largest site and as such is an ideal place of piloting change and measuring the challenge the business faces. The Transport Manager heads up a team consisting of an assistant manager, four duty managers, 10 team managers and 4 clerks. He is clear that the depot is meeting it’s measured targets. His concern is that they do not really know how or why and there are behavioural issues in the depot that will present barriers to change and improvements in efficiency in the future.

Since he took up his post in the last 6 months he has been observing and fact finding. The observations he has made that were relevant to our discussion were as follows –

  • A lot of the team managers used to be clerks and are not experienced people managers
  • His best clerk and team managers are women they are also at the forefront of aggressive behaviour.
  • Manager behaviour in terms of attitude and aggressive language and posturing is a big issue.
  • Driver – management relationships are poor and there is a culture of blame in the depot.
  • There is a general poor behavioural standard on site that ranges from winding up colleagues that become bullying when not dealt with to aggressive language and behaviour.
  • Behavioural aspects of the culture on site have been a issue for many years and not been challenged for a long time. Bob wants to change the culture and with this the behaviours.

When asked what he would like as outcome for any training support he could have Bob’s answer was

  • Consistent behaviours
  • Consistent implementation of policy
  • Understood  acceptable behavioural standards
  • People to enjoy coming to work.


The Solution

Improving Efficiency Through Honest Communication

This highly effective workshop challenges, supports and deals with two of the highly cited dysfunctions of teams as written about by Patrick Lencioni. These two fundamental dysfunctions are those of ability to be honest and ability to have healthy conflict.

A 2 day workshop



Day 1

  • Understanding Anger including
    • Triggers for conflict
    • Self esteem
    • Stress
    • Criticisms and judgements

Day 2

  • Dealing with emotions including
    • Emotions & feelings
    • Communicating feelings
    • Healthy assertive communication – Clearing the Air
    • Listening with empathy
  • Commitments to implement learning including facilitated agreement of a contract of honest communication, challenge and support and clearing the air within the team.


The outcome

A really well received workshop in a highly alpha male dominated environment that one may not normally expect to engage with emotional development work. This is clearly influenced by the quality of the materials and the high skill  level of the facilitator.

A selection of feedback comments from team members is below –

“I really enjoyed this course and it gave ideas on how to calm myself how I can calm my stress.”

“Everyone in this organization should do this workshop. I personally think higher management would benefit most.”

“Very different to any course previous. Enjoyed it and hope I can use the ocurse material to good effect both at work and at home.”


How do you measure impact?

Whenever an organisation buys into the Calm People way we ask if we can measure results after the workshops.

We are well aware of the halo effect that can cause positive feedback to be given at the end of a workshop on the delegate feedback forms. This coupled with the human desire not to offend the facilitator means that scores immediately after a workshop are not reliable other than for measuring the overall experience.

At Calm people, where organizations allows us, we survey delegates 3 months after the workshop across 11 statements which they score how they were pre and post workshop. This enables us to produce definable data and prove that their is more than simply a feel good factor to our work.

Outcome data – Taken 3 months after the workshops

The data below is based upon a scoring system of 1-10 with each delegate asked to give their score pr-workshop and post workshop for each statement. Even a 0.5 point improvement on a given area can be considered a strong. This provides effective gap improvement analysis, demonstrates value for money and also emphasises the long term effects of the workshop.


QuestionAverage Improvement
I recognise how my moods influence my work1.6
I understand how stress affects me at work and outside of work0.9
I am aware of the choices I have in dealing with things that stress me out1.9
I understand how my self-esteem affects my moods.1.5
I understand how I can take care of my own self esteem in a healthy manner2.1
I feel comfortable expressing my feelings at work2.2
I have ways to calmly deal with conflict1.8
I feel comfortable expressing my feelings at home2.1
I feel able to deal with challenging situations2.2
I recognise my judgemental and critical side and know how to avoid letting it affect my relationships with others2.2
I know how to stop taking things personally2.3
I have the necessary skills to take care of my own emotional health and wellbeing2.8

Notes worth considering

·      Using this type of scoring improvements of even half an average point above an individual’s personal baseline score are significant.
·      These post course scores were taken almost 3 months after the workshops ran. This is particularly significant since the major worry with any intervention or workshop is how long the impact lasts. I’m proud of these.


Return on investment

For emotional resilience work measuring a direct return on investment is difficult because other initiatives that are concurrently being run will have an impact on areas that improve. These workshops directly affect the following as demonstrated –

  • Individual’s ability to deal with stress.
  • Individual’s ability to take responsibility for their wellbeing
  • Individual’s ability to deal with difficult emotions
  • Individual’s self esteem

Other areas that are directly impacted by these workshops but in conjunction with other initiatives are –

  • Absence & Illness
  • Staff Turnover
  • Employee morale and staff engagement


Further evidence of senior management buy in to the returns they see from these workshops is the fact that we are invited back each year to deliver more workshops to new starters