Putting people first is at the heart of what The Chrysalis Crew does and its progressive, forward-thinking approach is helping to change the world of work. Despite lockdown restrictions, the consultancy is thriving and founder, Kelly Swingler, tells us a little more about what make the firm so successful.
Change is often scary, and adopting new methods and approaches to people management is often something which is overlooked by businesses in favour of the old ‘tried and tested’ measures.
The Chrysalis Crew is a People and Change Consultancy specialising in helping leaders to put their people first. It encourages and assists start-ups, scale-ups and Corporate in removing the policies and procedures, working with their people like adults, creating trust, accountability and agile ways of working, and to become employers of choice.
Indeed, the company name was chosen for its evolving nature as Chrysalis describes a ‘transitional state’ and the firm is highly-skilled in assisting its clients through the often tricky process of change.
The Chrysalis Crews’ mission is to change the world of work and this has been its guiding ethos since it was founded in 2014 by Kelly Swingler. Following her own disappointing experiences, she realised there was a better, more ethical way to deliver change.
Passionate about the wellbeing, development and the empowerment of HR professionals, and with more than 20 years’ experience in HR and people development, Kelly has led HR teams from between 5 to 40 during her career with retailers Waitrose and John Lewis before moving to Times 100 and IiP Ambassador Luminus Group and then award-winning Genesis. She has worked in a range of sectors with varying strategic and operational people and HR requirements.
Kelly’s approach really is unique and innovative – she believes in ripping up the rulebook and designing and creating what’s best for clients, not simply applying the one-size-fits-all mould. “What makes the Crew successful is our straight-talking and honest approach,” she explains. “We know we are different. We test and push boundaries, we take leaders and HR out of their comfort zones and we partner with them to create what’s right for them, not their competitors.”
Whilst The Chrysalis Crew does have competitors, Kelly does not believe in comparing her firm to them. Instead, she is much more forward-thinking and likes to challenge the ‘old ways’ of working, metaphorically removing the red tape that inhibits growth and creates boundaries between leaders and the people.
Kelly has an incredibly diverse portfolio of skills and qualifications including psychology, neuroscience, psychotherapy, NLP, Empowerment and Executive Coaching; has completed various CIPD qualifications, breathwork, fire walking and meditation; and is currently completing a PHD in Organisational Change. It is clear to see why she is an innovator in leading people and, whilst The Chrysalis Crew encourages others to rehash people management, Kelly’s refreshing approach is implemented at the firm and is living proof that such strategies do work. For example, the team work a four-day working week, Tuesday to Friday, which follows the four-day work week principles of paying its people 100% of their salary for 80% of the hours worked, whilst maintaining 100% productivity. There are also monthly blank paper days when everyone comes together as a team to create plans, direction, strategy and development and health days are provided for when any of the team need to take a day to look after themselves, hopefully preventing illness and fatigue.
“Our approach is different and so too are the outcomes our clients achieve because the old ways are no longer working and we know there is a better way,” enthuses Kelly. “Some of the things our ‘competitors’ talk about are performance appraisals – well it’s been 12 years since I designed and implemented a new approach to performance management, and it works!”
Kelly has also abolished company values. The rationale behind this move is that, as individuals, everyone holds different values.
“When re-assessing our company values in 2018, there was alignment in what we were saying, but we all wanted to use different words,” she says. “We work in a very agile way and company values and behaviours could have been holding us back. What became important for us was allowing our people to work in line with their own values, and as long as we all deliver what is best for us, then it’s also best for the wider business.
“Everything we do is created with and for our people and in turn this helps us to create greatness for our clients.”
It’s been a tumultuous year in 2020 for businesses the world over and The Chrysalis Crew is no exception. Kelly and the Crew were planning for their best year on record since beginning in 2014, however the Covid-19 pandemic had other ideas. Prior to the first lockdown, many of the firm’s global clients had already postponed or cancelled projects, and whilst some have reached out and picked up again, so much has still not yet resumed, however they did begin to work with a number of new clients on exciting projects as the year progressed and are already looking forward to all of the projects, workshops and development already booked in for 2021.
“Thankfully we have always worked as flexibly as possible and we don’t need to be on location with clients as we utilise remote working tools and work around time differences,” says Kelly. “On-site time has always been minimal, and so Covid-19 didn’t hit us as much as some others who all work face-to-face.
“What we hope, is that because of our different, forward-thinking and flexible approach that we can continue to work with companies who want to embrace a different way of working post lockdown.”
Regarding the future, Kelly sees growth of the team and of the client base, plus continued work with leaders and HR to help them find different solutions, to truly change the world and to thrive from the result of lockdown.
“Overall, we truly believe that leaders who put their people first will thrive, they will be the leading companies that customers and people alike want to work with and they will go from strength to strength and we can help them to make this happen.”