How I made a difference: Change management

We kicked off Quantam, our change management programme, about a year ago. It’s now finished.

When I joined the company, I spent some time up front talking to people in the business about what was working and what they felt needed to be improved. We also did research with customers, agents and potential new consumers. When we pulled it all together, seven clear change programme themes emerged, one or which was our people agenda. We put a structure around the programme, with accountabilities and timelines against each action. Each of the seven areas was led by a membership of our leadership team, with myself and the HR director responsible for the people agenda.

The overall goal for this initiative was to significantly upgrade the benchmark capability across the business.

We wanted to take a customer-centric view of how we were structured. Our directors were working in isolation, but I wanted everyone to have the same target customer in mind. We restructured, bringing together our marketing, product and online capabilities, while separating the sales function. I displaced a couple of existing directors and recruited a commercial director with a broader range of skills. I also brought in a new sales director.

We had to rethink our recruitment processes. Traditionally, Kuoni has been very strong in negotiating good deals with hotel partners, but I wanted to bring in people with a more commercial mindset and a more customer-focused approach. We are selling through four or five different sales channels, so it’s vital that everything is geared towards the consumer. This outlook has always existed within Kuoni, but we needed it to be more consistent.

Within the people agenda, we also implemented an annual performance review and introduced predetermined goals. That was basic, but critical as while it was happening in pockets throughout the company, but not consistently.

It took us about nine months to implement everything. It took a real push at the beginning because everybody was incredibly busy. Putting in place the structure and accountability was key to its success, and bringing in consultants for the early stages really helped us to keep the project moving.

Quantam was developed to build on our strengths and our people liked this. They were also really pleased that we incorporated a lot of their ideas in the project plan.

Why it worked

  • We talked to all of our stakeholders

  • Responsibility was clearly allocated

  • We put our customers first.

Nick Hughes, managing director, Kuoni UK


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