Case Study

How Douglas gave their employees a "time out in their heads"

For Douglas and others, the pandemic was accompanied by a constant strain on employees and managers. Mindset change sparked new motivation and enabled an increase in employee satisfaction.

Founded in 1821 as a soap factory in Hamburg, Germany’s warehouse district, Douglas has had a long path to success. At the beginning of the pandemic, this path led them through the same uncertain world we all wandered through. A lot was changing, and Douglas did exactly the right thing: they stopped and considered what to do to support their people.

Challenge: positioning and renewed energy

The pandemic had changed a lot: not only greater concern over our health and economic fears for the future had arisen, but it was also driving changes in the workplace. Since then, the many advantages of working from home could no longer be denied. Tina Müller, CEO Douglas, noticed the downsides of working from home “lack of structures, loneliness or the feeling that the work done is no longer seen or valued”. How do you successfully lead employees in this context? There were no leadership rules from any textbook on how to handle this changing world. - She wanted to give leaders an opportunity to freely exchange to see what was working well and how to get the most from the new opportunity

“It was important to me to give ourselves as a management team a space in which we can freely reflect on our experiences and break new ground.”
Tina Müller
CEO Douglas Group

Solution: free and self-determined to change

Together with 50 Douglas executives, Tina Müller took part in TheNextWe’s digital coaching programme. Deliberately designed to be an open and free thinking programme designed without reference to business goals, the programme was exclusively designed for self-determined change: If we question our own thought patterns and positions and see our own topics from a new perspective through a mindset change, we become fit for the “uncertain world”.

As in each of our programmes, the individual selected topics and their conversations with their coach were completely confidential. The participants worked through the following topics: work-life balance, appreciation of other perspectives, change of perspective, self-care, trust and freedom culture.

It was no surprise to discover that if these values ​​and opportunities are lived, then resilience, the ability to act and employee satisfaction increase. And so, according to Tina Müller, the participants also found the programme to be “a special mental break”.

The programme in the app
The tailor-made programme for Douglas in the TheNextWe App

As in all TheNextWe programmes, the “meeting room” was an app. In phone calls and chats, the participants were accompanied by a personal coach. Because TheNextWe deliberately avoided video calls, the focus was on their own thought patterns. Tina Müller remembers: “Some went for a walk for the phone call in order to concentrate fully on the conversation, for others it was the first agenda item of the day before all other calendar appointments.”

Tasks and exercises and inspiration withinthe app also helped with the first goal of identifying an existing mindset that the participant would like to change. Then the new mindset was developed together and finally realised through application and practice in everyday business life.

Result: more satisfaction, more sustainability

Employee satisfaction

The free choice of the participants’ own topics and the concentrated, sustainable coaching had visibly powerful effects:

  • Employee satisfaction among the participants increased by 11%.
  • The personal benefit of the mindset change was rated very positively at 85%.
  • The coaches were consistently rated very well with an average rating of 9.6/10.
  • Essential elements from the coaching were integrated into the new Douglas management programme.

Leaders and managers who find new satisfaction and strength with such a “time out” are simply better equipped to move and support others. We thank all participants for their trust and for sharing their satisfaction and joy.

“You don't start a transformation or a revolution alone. You always need comrades-in-arms at the beginning, above all, there are still few, and with these comrades-in-arms you try to bring it down to a larger common denominator. And when the organisation then senses, 'Ah, there's something to it, that could work', then it spreads further.”
Tina Müller
CEO Douglas Group

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