Establishing culture | Perspectives: Bradley Honnor, Founder of MatchFit

Perspectives: Bradley Honnor, Founder of MatchFit

In this edition of Perspectives, we spent time with Bradley Honnor, Founder of MatchFit.

Bradley is passionate about creating high performing cultures in organisations using phenomenological methods. Here’s his story.

Can you give us a brief overview of MatchFit and how it all began?

The formation of Matchfit was a demand led decision back in 2018. Eight years earlier, I started a company called Global Eloquence. Employee wellbeing was at the core of what we did. We delivered wellbeing conferences with guest speakers that covered all aspects of health in terms of what you need to be at your peak performance - we called this MatchFit.

In a nutshell, MatchFit specialises in creating sustainable high-performance cultures within organisations. Our consultants are all trained psychologists, psychotherapists, occupational therapists, and coaches who deliver unique and bespoke interventions, analysis, consulting, and coaching. MatchFit’s interventions are centred upon the trademarked ‘CLIMB’ programme.

The ‘CLIMB’ programme sounds interesting. What does it entail?

The CLIMB programme was born out of the notion that to truly impact behavioural change, one-off training sessions are not sufficient. In fact, they can be a waste of time and money. Instead, an individual or team needs to progress through a series of intervention modules that have been tailored to their specific needs. While it takes time to uncover the root causes of performance issues and adjust a standard module accordingly, this is the only way to deliver sustainable high-performing cultures.

The CLIMB programme comprises five essential components aimed at achieving performance intelligence: Commitment, Leadership, Intensity, Motivation and Belief.

By attending the programme, leaders and managers are better equipped to create an environment where everyone is confident of speaking up in an atmosphere of trust and transparency, underpinned by an energy for success. Achieving this means that productivity, morale, and retention are each impacted positively.

You mentioned that MatchFit consultants all have a background in psychology. Can you tell me more about that and how you became so passionate about high performance cultures in organisations?

My background is in psychotherapy with my formal qualifications being in Phenomenological and Existential Psychotherapy. Believe it or not, psychotherapy and business or employee performance go hand-in-hand!

The phenomenological approach is really the holy grail for me. There are a lot of different approaches to psychotherapy and therapy in general. But the phenomenological approach is about everyone being a phenomenon.

We are completely unique as human beings, and no one experiences or interprets the world in the same way. We could be in the same room and no two people experience it in the same way. Using that approach, why would we have a one-size-fits-all learning solution? Why would we have a culture that we expect everyone to be comfortable with and fit into?

The phenomenological approach is about working at the level of the individual and understanding what their experiences are.

Can you talk us through an example of when you have worked in partnership with a customer and how you have made this happen?

The best example is our current project with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ). Challenging working environments, poor job satisfaction, high attrition and low morale was causing an increasing number of staffing issues, including grievances and days lost through sickness/absence. Not only were stress levels rising and morale falling, but the financial impact was substantial.

A solution was needed that would shift cultures, by improving the capability and confidence of leaders and managers to run their business units. In doing so, wholescale, long-term sustainable performance could be attained.

Therefore, the ‘HR Technical Consultancy Service’ (HRTC) was created in January 2020 to deliver a more rounded service that combined existing technical HR support with highly targeted phenomenological interventions.

We designed a solution that would shift the cultures by improving the capability and confidence of leaders and managers. This solution enabled long-term sustainable performance of employees, teams and organisations.

The CLIMB programme is delivered as part of the HRTC framework, which comprises two intertwined focus areas:

  • Culture – detailed client intelligence, gathered through HR case audits, feedback from senior leaders and all-staff surveys, forms a clear picture of an organisation’s key pain points.Senior leaders are challenged about responsibilities, deliverables, and team and individual collaborations. Finally, a comprehensive report draws out all findings, clarifies the scope of the challenge ahead and lays the groundwork for the interventions to come.

  • Intervention – both HR technical and phenomenological interventions are tailored to precisely address the organisational needs unearthed during the Culture stage. Interventions focus on the technical capability and confidence of managers to handle HR cases and on ‘Leading Self’ and ‘Leading Others’ to drive performance culture and behaviours to support people and teams at all levels.

The process involves a critical three-way collaborative process between the central MOJ HR function, MatchFit and internal customers. There is no delivery to customers, there is collaboration with them as a full team members. By the time customers have been through the far-reaching ‘Culture’ stage, they are fully immersed in the process and bought into the interventions that have been designed specifically for them.

And what have the results been?

In total, 26 Management and Leadership teams and 290 individuals across 14 MOJ customer sites have either been through the whole process or are part-way through. With improvements in managers’ capability to handle cases and a more positive culture leading to fewer issues, the HTRC (with MatchFit/CLIMB’s significant involvement) is having a dramatic effect on staffing issues:

  • a 33% fall in the average time to handle attendance management cases.

  • a 20% fall in the average working days lost to sickness/absence.

  • a 17% fall in the cost of sickness-related absence

This article was originally published in full at blog.bps-world.com.

Read the full interview