Savills secure 2016 Personnel Today Award for Managing Change

Change management is a key ability for any HR function. We look at how Savills won the 2016 Personnel Today Award for managing change, and the runners-up in this category. 


WINNER

Savills (UK)

About the organisation

Savills is a global real estate services provider offering a broad range of specialist advisory, management and transactional services. It has an international network of more than 700 offices and associates throughout the Americas, the UK, continental Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East.

The challenge

In April 2015, Savills made its largest ever UK investment, the £40 million acquisition of rural and residential property company, Smiths Gore (SG). With 532 SG staff joining the rural, energy and projects division and country residential agency business, 350 existing Savills staff were affected. It meant adjusting to differences in hierarchy, job/salary grading and working practices; duplicate offices and roles required integration to remain cost-efficient. Employees needed to be able to deliver a business-as-usual service to clients, securing confidence that change was positive.

What the organisation did

  • Held discussions with six senior leaders, three from both companies, to negotiate the terms of the merger, collaborated on the shared values and vision for the new business, and incorporate the culture of both organisations.
  • Encouraged teamwork through local integration committees, with representatives from Savills and SG working together to apply changes at a local level.
  • Empowered staff to decide the most relevant way to apply the changes, dealing with colleague and client queries where appropriate – senior managers visited many local offices to discuss progress, with central support for the committees from IT, property, HR and accounting.
  • Introduced a buddy scheme, ensuring new employees had a dedicated Savills colleague in an equivalent role for advice and guidance.
  • Offered collaboration exercises and kept staff informed through induction days for SG staff, regional roadshows and regional coordinator days.
  • Teams from all over the country cycled, ran or walked together across the countryside as part of a charity event.
  • Used employee feedback to devise a thorough list of 170 FAQs on the intranet as an accessible resource, ensuring consistency of message.
  • Carried out an in-depth review of 70 SG job roles, and regraded them where necessary to ensure staff felt they were getting a fair deal.

Benefits and achievements

  • The rural, energy and projects division achieved a 3% increase in fee income in 2015, and a predicted 2% increase by the end of 2016. This contributed to overall revenue growth of 15%.
  • Group revenue up 19% and underlying profit up 21%.
  • Only five cases of sickness absence have been recorded in 2015 and four in 2016.
  • Received just two grievances in 2015 and none in 2016 so far.
  • Reduced staff turnover: in the nine months prior to the acquisition it saw 13% turnover, 6% lower than in 2014.
  • Andrew Harle, former senior partner at Smiths Gore and now director within Savills: “One year on, we have an enthused and committed team who know their colleagues, have had ready and committed assistance from a wide range of people to support them, and…everyone has had a chance to contribute to an exciting and ambitious strategy for the merged business”.

Judges comments

“Thoughtful pragmatic approach. I liked the emphasis on working together across the two organisations.”

Savills excelled in its change management programme to take top prize

RUNNERS-UP

Amnesty International

About the organisation

A global movement of more than seven million people, Amnesty International is the world’s largest grass-roots human rights organisation. It investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilises the public, and aims to create a safer world. It received the Nobel Peace Prize for its work, and has more than 207,000 members and supporters.

The challenge

A new global amnesty organisational model was introduced, which involved redistributing 15 teams and making a number of posts redundant. This created a lack of confidence in leadership and doubts about the organisation’s future among UK staff, and resulted in many employees going on strike. Employee engagement needed dramatic improvement.

What the organisation did

  • Introduced a new Global Transition Programme (GTP), with the idea of “moving closer to the ground” and having a more grass-roots approach.
  • Invested in leadership, including the introduction of a new board-mandated secretary general and training for middle managers. Also developed an e-learning programme and bite-sized training sessions.
  • Created a number of new posts relating to internal communications, remote conferencing, learning and development, the intranet and relocation.
  • Put in place new IT and finance systems, and finance and office managers were recruited into new offices.
  • Established a dedicated project team and a formal programme management and engagement process. This involved six-month “pathfinder” projects in Johannesburg and Hong Kong to test the new model, communicate the vision, case for change and timetable to all staff.
  • Focused on engagement and building trust by: introducing on-boarding workshops; establishing a “reference group” to provide feedback; issuing quarterly newsletters with personal stories from staff working in new regional offices; articulating and constantly restating the purpose and vision of the GTP; and introducing new tools and technologies to better communicate.
  • Instituted a culture of performance management and appraisals, and significantly improved relations with the union by regular meetings, being transparent about challenges and open to negotiation.

Benefits and achievements

  • Successfully redeployed 30% of impacted staff.
  • Whereas in 2012 only 10% of the workforce was based overseas, that will rise to 60% by the end of 2016.
  • A rigorous focus on implementing the vision, achieving the transformation and maintaining momentum has helped to implement the change and gain support.
  • Emerged as a much more energised and globally relevant organisation.

Judges’ comments

“Driving change in a values-driven organisation with such a change history was always going to be challenging. It sounds like the approach was thought through very well.”


Cardtronics UK

About the organisation

Cardtronics operates more than 95,000 strategically located ATMs in the US, UK, Ireland, Mexico, Canada, Germany and Poland. Cardtronics UK is the largest independent cash machine provider in the UK.

The challenge

Having acquired Sunwin Services Group (SSG) from the Co-operative Group in November 2014, Cardtronics sold the cash and valuables in transit (CVIT) retail arm to Loomis, the largest CVIT operator in the UK. This involved the transfer of 190 staff in a short amount of time, and resulted in a number of redundancies.

Managing change – the judges

Professor Nick Kemsley, Henley Business School

Wilson Wong, CIPD

What the organisation did

  • Built on the work done in early 2015 to create the new look Cardtronics business after successfully TUPE transferring in 1,500 SSG employees.
  • Gave responsibility for the transfer to Cardtronics HR team.
  • Offered an enhanced redundancy package, representing a significant cost.
  • Communicated the change effectively by being transparent with staff and the union.
  • Employed innovative ways of motivating staff to maintain business continuity.
  • Implemented a brand new process for selection based around postcodes, the only fair way to manage the selection of staff within the seven depots at risk of closure.
  • Transformed and modernised the terms and conditions for those employees who remained in Cardtronics.
  • Redefined ways of working, including shift patterns and operational structures, to deliver its future targets.

Benefits and achievements

  • Staff appreciated and accepted the need for change. No-one affected issued employment tribunal proceedings.
  • Money from the sale was invested in an increase in wages for the remaining staff, enabling Cardtronics to effectively compete for the best talent available within the CVIT sector.
  • Since redefining the business, it has experienced month-on-month growth and profitability and can better compete as a seven-day operation.
  • A programme rollout for the top 50 managers enabled them to operate with more control, autonomy and accountability for managing people.

Judges’ comments

“A complex and emotionally charged project, well executed.”


CBRE Global Workplace Solutions

About the organisation

CBRE Group is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm, offering its clients market-leading advice to maximise the value of their real estate. It has more than 400 offices and 70,000 staff worldwide. Across the EMEA region, it has 140 offices in 43 countries comprising 20,200 employees.

The challenge

In 2015, CBRE acquired Global Workspace Solutions (GWS) from US company Johnson Controls for $1.34 billion (£1.04 billion), creating the company’s largest division with 14,000 people. It was vitally important that any negative impact on people was minimised. It had to integrate 8,000 new employees, making sure that existing employees were supported and there was no impact at a customer or commercial level.

What the organisation did

  • Created a transition team to ensure seamless integration, reassure employees and create a new mission statement for the whole business.
  • Aligned the merged HR function with CBRE’s four key priorities – innovation, client first, operational excellence and best talent.
  • Introduced a buddy system, partnering staff members with their counterparts in different countries and service lines, with regular networking events.
  • Created a new mission statement for the combined business, to “build a world class business through exceptional service and exceptional people”, sharing it via posters, emails and by posting to home addresses.
  • Produced a marketing campaign to help people embrace the CBRE “RISE” values – respect, integrity, service, excellence, and rolled out the Exceptional Awards initiative, where any staff member can nominate a colleague who demonstrates these values.
  • Built an easy-to-use online induction programme explaining compliance, ethics, health and safety, equal opportunities, diversity and HR policy.
  • Created an integrated learning and development programme, designed for mid-management level employees to grow to senior strategic leaders, and a training matrix that gave all employees access to both internal and externally certified courses.
  • Merged the talent resourcing teams and introduced an applicant-tracking system (Brassring) that saw instant sharing of candidates, job vacancies and talent pipelines. Also introduced an EMEA-wide vacancy list and referral scheme.
  • Built an intranet HR platform that makes sure everything from template HR literature through to processes, procedures and policies is consistent across the business.

Benefits and achievements

  • Of the 8,000 new employees, fewer than 0.6% have chosen to leave since the acquisition.
  • Six thousand existing staff were kept informed of all changes, ensuring motivation and delivery levels were kept.
  • Customers praised expanded delivery capabilities and service offerings across EMEA – customer renewals saw 95%.
  • Through acquisition, CBRE grew 60% in turnover and headcount – and hired more than 1,500 new staff due to growth.
  • Company has been recognised as an employer of choice within the industry sector and beyond, after creating a succession and talent culture with a focus on learning, development and opportunity.
  • Talent resourcing team saved £6.5 million on recruitment across the EMEA region, with a zero attrition rate for new management hires.
  • The employee advantage initiative has seen more than £350,000 paid in financial rewards to staff.

Judges’ comments

“This acquisition involved a large number of different workstreams to be managed, and to do so and minimise adverse impact as described is a major achievement.”


Connect Education & Care

About the organisation

Connect Education & Care, part of Connect Group, is a leading independent supplier of consumables through brands The Consortium and West Mercia Supplies (WMS). The division serves more than 30,000 customers in the education and care markets, including nurseries, schools and care homes. The business has 550 suppliers and an extensive range of more than 40,000 products including stationery, arts and craft and cleaning materials.

The challenge

In 2012, The Consortium acquired WMS’ catalogue division, which was then bought by Smiths News. A full-scale review revealed that there was a lack of alignment between the new organisation’s customer-facing functions, leadership time was taken over by heavy governance, and there were overly complex management structures. The business need to guarantee profit delivery in the short term against a backdrop of challenging market conditions, meanwhile reducing costs without reducing capability.

What the organisation did

  • Identified a clear strategy focusing on service and e-commerce.
  • Engaged with external consultants B4 to provide support and best practice thinking to complete the diagnosis, vision and design stage of the “Fit for the Future” project and produce a roadmap.
  • Conducted focus groups and interviews with the leadership team and benchmarking was undertaken with external companies that have moved to a digital business.
  • Agreed five target operating model objectives: enable growth of e-commerce interface to create a coherent and responsive approach; create a customer-centric business; build an impactful leadership structure; develop business critical capabilities; and assure an efficient organisation.
  • Brought together marketing and e-commerce functions into one team under a new director role responsible for developing a new marketing strategy, maximising a multi-channel approach.
  • Aligned the management teams across sites in Trowbridge and Shrewsbury, reducing management layers to drive improved effectiveness and communication, and reducing fixed cost.
  • Committed to clear and transparent communication via a number of different channels to reach all areas of the business, including field-based population and “offline” demographic. Following changes, each team took part in an away day to discuss the changes and understand the business objectives.

Benefits and achievements

  • An employee engagement survey, “What Matters?”, was undertaken in February 2016. It showed positive engagement in response to questions around the Fit for the Future changes.
  • E-commerce is now represented at director level, and the e-commerce and marketing teams are under one director role.
  • The commercial and trading teams are now aligned behind e-commerce, and it has achieved the objective for this year, three months early, of 35% of orders being placed online.
  • “On time in full” measure for orders has improved from 70% in January to 85% average in April and May 2016.
  • A new leadership forum consisting of the direct reports of the executive team meets on a quarterly basis to provide cross-functional input and insight into the business plan. This has also helped strengthen relationships and support more effective working between the two teams.

Judges’ comments

“A thoughtful and well-planned approach to supporting business strategy.”


North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC)

About the organisation

NYCC is one of the largest local authorities (LAs) in England, employing more than 20,000 staff, and serving nearly 600,000 residents. The county is predominantly rural, presenting additional challenges in delivering effective services to remote and disparate communities, including 375 schools.

The challenge

NYCC recognised that the educational landscape was changing. The introduction of the Academies Act gave schools greater freedom in choosing partners that they feel offer the best value. Traditional geographic boundaries no longer existed, and the pursuit of commercial clients could not be at the expense of service delivery to the existing community schools.

What the organisation did

  • Created a new position to support the change agenda, and two additional advisers on a freelance basis.
  • Set up SmartSolutions, a one-stop-shop for requesting quotes or buying into other traded services.
  • Trialled an innovative promotional approach that exploits e-marketing and social media to reflect the most up-to-date methods of engaging with its customers.
  • Offered tailored bespoke packages for clients leading to successful retention.
  • Developed a clear and transparent pricing policy, so that it is evident what is included in the service level agreement (SLA) and what is extra.
  • Invested in new technology, allowing the field-based team to work more flexibly and efficiently.
  • Introduced regular team training in commercial awareness and the importance of client care, as well as service delivery.
  • Employed external HR professionals on a consultancy basis, along with permanent additions to the team, based on projected growth – fully funded by the service.
  • Improved ability to respond to existing client intentions (such as conversion to academy), or new opportunities to promote the service.

Benefits and achievements

  • Invested more than £200,000 in key appointments over the last two years.
  • Retention of existing customers has generated more than £560,000 per annum.
  • Secured more than £150,000 of contracts from new clients – taking annual total turnover above £750,000, with an in-year surplus of more than £100,000 being carried forward.
  • Commissioned work outside the SLA has brought in more than £20,000 per annum.
  • Reinvesting surpluses back into the LA pot has supported less/non-profitable areas of the organisation.
  • Team has doubled in size with the client base growing, providing career opportunity and development.
  • Doubled the national rate of improvement for schools being good or outstanding (currently 86% of primary, 80% of secondary pupils).
  • HR has set the pace for 30 county-traded services in embracing the new initiative, supporting partner services to develop their own strategies and other LA-traded services to help replicate commercial success.
  • Commercial director said the company had “surpassed what is being offered by competitors”.

Judges’ comments

“Agile transformation of an existing function to meet market requirements.”


Sofology

About the organisation

CSL Sofas rebranded to Sofology earlier this year, and has an expanding list of stores on high-profile retail parks in the UK. It employs more than 1,000 people across all of its locations, including its head office in Golborne, and all delivery and service staff are employed in-house.

The challenge

The transformation from CSL to Sofology involved a change in culture, reward, recognition and proposition offered to customers and employees. The furniture industry has a reputation for disingenuous sales and commission-driven environments. A review revealed that most posts were offered full time with little flexibility, and the way commission schemes were structured meant that sales people were putting pressure on customers to buy.

What the organisation did

  • Implemented a new change programme including changes to the reward and recognition structure, and to the brand, internal mission value, culture, talent and attraction.
  • Invested in IT and created a digital platform.
  • Changed individual commission structure to a team bonus pot based on customer service and net promoter score (NPS). This encouraged teamwork.
  • Engaged its teams to understand the customer requirements and gain an insight into what Sofology stands for and what it meant to them.
  • Launched new company values from “the bottom up” and workshops have been held to canvas and capture the essence of the business.
  • Adopted Google+ as a communication tool, which increased reach of its communications and messages.

Benefits and achievements

  • Results of the employee opinion survey showed that emotional engagement stood at 80%, which is a huge leap on the 69% recorded in 2014.
  • Rational engagement at Sofology is currently 75%, another increase on 2014, where it was 68%.
  • Achieved goal standard as a benchmark against other retailers and were recognised by the North West Employee Engagement Group for this accolade.
  • Motivational engagement at Sofology is currently 72%, up on 66% in 2014.
  • Had estimated a £13 million hit from the changes but reported £3.8 million profit.
  • NPS scores reached the high 90s for the overall business.
  • Achieved a Trustpilot score of 9.4/10.

Judges’ comments

“There was a solid understanding about the link between remuneration and behaviour in the retail sector, and the skillful adaptation of this to modify outcomes.”


Zurich Insurance

About the organisation

Zurich Insurance Group is one of the world’s largest insurance groups. Its mission is to help its customers understand and protect themselves from risk. It has 55,000 employees serving customers in more than 170 countries.

The challenge

HR was tasked with the challenge of reducing the headcount in its general insurance arm by approximately 440 staff and contributing to a reduction of £40 million of costs. This was compounded by a tight timetable for reducing employee numbers. Project Tower started in November 2015 with those affected leaving by the end of the first quarter of 2016. The HR department was further tested by the knowledge their department would be completely restructured with the loss of more than 20 jobs.

What the organisation did

  • Kept lines of communication open – this included holding a number of Q&A sessions, some face-to-face and some either online or telephone-based.
  • Encouraged managers to hold one-to-ones with all team members and team meetings to explain the changes.
  • Created the change management structure with the union UFS.
  • Created project consultation groups comprising senior executives, members of HR and union representatives. This meant employees received one set of communications and timelines and a consistent message.
  • Arranged meetings that were used to gather feedback and suggestions on how the process was being managed and if changes needed to be made.
  • Introduced a “breaking the news” training session to help managers deal with giving bad news to those who had not been successful in securing a role. This is now a standard part of the change process at Zurich.
  • Asked employees to rank their choices for voluntary redundancy or where and how they would like to be redeployed if their job ceased to exist. This gave mangers a framework to make changes as palatable as possible to as many staff as it could.

Benefits and achievements

  • The company received positive feedback throughout the change process from both affected and non-affected staff and union representatives, praising the transparent flow of information and openness of management.
  • Overall, the company received only four formal appeals about the process – in a previous change management programme of this scale, it experienced around five times as many.
  • Zurich is currently running workshops across all divisions talking to “surviving” staff about the inevitable emotions of surviving such change, losing colleagues and encouraging them to share any concerns.
  • Managers are encouraged to get their teams involved in shaping the future of their workplace to help embed the changes cement new working relationships.
  • Some 95% of staff secured a role which had been part of their preference submission.
  • One employee said: “While the changes were painful, managers clearly explained what they were hoping to achieve and why so we all understood the reasoning behind their decisions. Going forward we have a much stronger team and should be able to increase the business we write.”

Judges’ comments

“Notable for the fact that HR was supporting the business transformation, whilst also subject to job losses.”

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