Insider Story… Interim change management

Insider Story... Interim change management
Insider Story… Interim change management

Insider Story… Interim change management. This was my first ‘Insiders Story’ blog of 2018,  discussing two of my favourite things – change management and how great interims are!

 

For this blog, I met with Michelle Wenham, Head of HR, and Feona Veys, Senior Manager – Talent Sourcing. Both fabulous women work for The Gambling Commission and started their journey as contractors. They have been instrumental in leading and delivering truly innovative change, which has transformed the people and culture within the organisation.

The Gambling Commission is no ordinary organisation. Over the next five years, they have five priority areas: empowering and protecting consumers; raising standards across all gambling sectors; building partnerships and understanding; ensuring fair play on the National Lottery and improving regulation.

Both Michelle and Feona joined the Gambling Commission in an interim capacity to oversee change management.  They became so immersed in the business and culture, that they subsequently felt empowered by the organisation’s mission and took on permanent roles.

 

The Transformation

After joining the Gambling Commission in 2015, Michelle was shortly followed by a new CEO which naturally brought about some change.

There was a lot of discussion around the employee engagement survey – the 2015 results could have been better, so areas to be improved were identified which could have a real positive impact.

In 2012, the Commission had embarked upon a similar change programme, however, after previously struggling to demonstrate the burning platform for the change, they decided to use the employee engagement survey as the catalyst.

Michelle explained, ‘from a change perspective, the outcome we wanted to achieve was similar to the previous change programme. Sometimes it isn’t the right time to deliver the change.  It was like the stars aligned and with the right communication and the right people involved, we knew it could be a success.’

From this, they developed a new people strategy and discussed the kind of organisation they wanted to be – one that takes care of its employees and exceeds expectations in delivery.

 

How have you done it?

Previous change programmes had at times been a little ‘parent and child’ and hadn’t always successfully maintained engagement or momentum.

The new CEO really transformed the feel of change within the Commission, she took people with her on the journey. One of the key things that she did was made herself visible. She role-modelled, to the business and the senior leadership team, how visibility should look at a senior level.

They also implemented a change champion network across the business. This was a cross-functional network of employees, which meant that they were able to reach out to and engage with employees who otherwise may have got lost along the way.

Unlike many businesses, the Gambling Commission also have a Board of Commissioners alongside their leaders who have been a great support with the change management.

Michelle says, ‘the Commissioners are so engaged with us, they challenge us and have been really involved in how we use our investment and resources to get the best out of our people.’

 

Engagement is everything…

The culture within the Commission is really transforming into a truly engaging and inclusive one, which has already had a positive impact on performance and personal development.

HR has a seat at the table. Historically, L&D was always seen as an add-on but is now included as part of all functions resource planning. A day every month is allocated to every employees’ personal development.

‘L&D Week’ was also a big win. Employees had 50% of their working hours dedicated to their own personal development and they also held department roadshows.

The Gambling Commission is a programme led business, which at times can leave functions at risk of becoming very insular. Department roadshows allowed employees to understand other functions and their importance within the business.

Michelle and Feona both believe that small things make a big statement. Basic things like providing staff with fresh fruit and a wide variety of refreshments, alongside communal kitchens and break-out areas, has enabled them to further develop cross-functional relationships.

They also held their employee conference in their offices instead of off-site. Michelle said, ‘we wanted to show that you don’t go somewhere else to talk about change then come back and forget about it – the real change happens right here.’

 

It isn’t all about HR…

And the people strategy is a perfect example of this. The HR team constantly keep it under review to ensure they are delivering what has been promised. When they successfully meet those promises, they make sure that this is shared across the business, developing a feeling of trust and raised the profile of the function.

The team also launched 24 new policies across 2015 and 2016. They rebranded these as people policies to demonstrate that the organisation should be owning these policies, rather than HR. This resulted in them gaining constructive feedback from employees around their policies, enabling them to be more inclusive.

 

‘Ideas don’t have to be perfect in order to roll them out’

And I couldn’t agree more! What the Gambling Commission do really well is that they are totally honest about this and adopt the approach of ‘we are going to try this and see how it goes.’

They re-launched their spotlight recognition scheme, to recognise great behaviours on an on-going basis. Historically, this hadn’t gained much traction with employees, so they decided to make some changes in order to make it a more successful endeavour.

The Commission quadrupled the value of vouchers offered, changed the nomination process and included awards for teams as well as individuals. When re-launching they decided to review on an ongoing basis, to measure the success and take on feedback and suggestions from individuals and constantly improve the success of this scheme.

 

‘Interims have really helped to drive change’

At the Gambling Commission, they have used interims in 2 different ways. Firstly, they have brought in career interims to act as subject matter experts and be slightly more heavy hitting. Areas such as reward, communications, HRIS and PMO.

Secondly, they have brought in interims in a flexible way to fill permanent roles, before employing them, allowing the opportunity to engage with their overall offering.

Feona said ‘HR have really led the way in what good looks like when hiring an interim. We have demonstrated to the rest of the business how to effectively use interims and how flexible you can be with this approach.’

And Feona knows this first hand because, as Michelle admits, they wouldn’t have been able to secure Feona’s skillset on a permanent basis without the flexibility and proposition they have. When Feona joined as an interim, she was offered the opportunity to work 3 days per week around her previous clients, the caveat to this being that Michelle trusted her implicitly to do a great job.

In their PMO department, interims have helped them to think about ‘the art of the possible’. They have shared knowledge and brought ideas which the commission have been able to ‘borrow with pride’ and customise for their own needs.

 

‘I felt the change overnight’

Michelle and Feona both joined the Commission as interims and admit their mindsets have totally changed since taking on permanent contracts.

Feona said, ‘as an interim you definitely get less involved in the politics. You get paid to do a good job and you want to prove that you’re worth your day rate’.

Michelle also admits that she believes something is definitely different psychologically. As an interim, you simply feel different. When she signed the permanent contract, she felt the change overnight. On an interim contract, there is an end date and there are end goals, in a permanent role it isn’t so definitive.

That being said, interim isn’t for everyone, just as permanent employment isn’t, and both Michelle and Feona have gone back and forth depending on their own personal circumstances.

Michelle said, ‘I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to get the best person possible, if that means being flexible and creative then you do that. Having an interim minimises risk to the business – if it doesn’t work out, the contract ends.’

As we drew the discussion to a close, we discussed if there is such a thing as becoming ‘change-weary’.

Feona and Michelle both agree that a business can get ‘big change weary’. Big change is great, but you should always give timescales and allow time for change to settle, or employees can get change fatigue. Continuous improvement and development is part of life and change management is so important in any organisation.

 

So where has this left the Gambling Commission?

The change programme has been embedded with great success! The engagement scores have increased from 55 to 64, with leadership and change increasing by almost 30%.

They have shown that if you develop your people and culture in the right way, change becomes so natural that you don’t realise it’s happening.

They have also proved that by attracting, developing and engaging people in the right way, anything is possible.

 

A huge thank you to Michelle and Feona for their input with this blog.

If you would like to learn more about the gambling commission and what it is like to work for them, then visit their website here.

For all things interim management, change management and transformation, get in touch or if you would like to feature in our ‘Insiders Story’ blog, you can email me on kate@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Kate Wass our executive interim specialist here

Should you write an interim CV?

Do I need an interim CV?
Do I need an interim CV?

It’s a question I get asked all the time! Especially for those starting out in their interim career. The simple answer is yes, you should have a specific interim CV.

In actual fact, most career interim professionals I know will have multiple iterations of their profile.

You see, clients are buying in ‘experience’ or ‘expertise’ and this is often really specific. People who are too general or who are ‘jack of all trades’ won’t get a look in…

So, as you develop your offering and your interim career, the chances are, you should have several CVs which are tailored and dependent on the interim assignment you are pitching for.

Personally, I am less worried about the format of the CV – whether it is functional or chronological, I am more interested in what you have achieved for the end client. You can see more about this on our other blog ‘how to write a killer CV’.

Remember that a CV only takes you so far, it is important to build a network and advocates, either in the search industry or senior exec space. Our very own Kate Wass – Interim specialist wrote a really interesting piece on this subject – don’t judge a HR consultant by their CV.

What does everyone else think?

I’ve been delving into different thoughts and opinions on creating an interim CV and found The Career Gym wrote a useful article on the subject. The key points were:

  • Show the area of expertise you are bringing. Recruiters need to know what specialism you have – you can be generalist HR interim, but by focusing on a specialism you can become known for and build a reputation on, makes you more placeable.
  • Prove your ability to work on projects with a start, middle and end – showing ROI where possible. You need to show you can understand a brief, plan the work, build relationships and deliver the assignment on time.

The Institute of Interim Management:

It’s worthwhile looking at ‘The Institute of Interim Management’ if you want some help creating your interim CV. It’s Guide to interim management talks you through showcasing the ‘interim management value proposition’ – your unique selling proposition, which should help with shaping your interim CV:

  • ROI
  • Speed
  • Expertise
  • Objectivity
  • Accountability
  • Effectiveness
  • Commitment

If you’d like to discuss your interim CV further, you can email me on James@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about James Cumming our change and business transformation specialist here.

What makes a good Finance Business Partner?

What makes a good Finance Business Partner?

Finance has seen quite a change over the past few years, thanks to the introduction of new technologies and changing job roles. With more and more emerging technology, AI and robotics, finance staff are being utilised more for strategic decision making and value-adding responsibilities, rather than transactional processing.

 

Most Management Accountants and Financial Analysts I speak with daily are looking to progress more to the Finance Business Partner (FBP) roles. It’s a sexy new title in finance,  that usually moves Management Accountants away from the routine of month end responsibilities and allows them to focus on more value-adding tasks.

 

Usually, they will work closely with a business unit to provide a link between operations and management and become a trusted advisor, who provides more commercial advice. Whether it be a cost-saving exercise, identifying new revenue streams or talking finance to non-finance people, FBPs draw out key information that they need to deliver a clear and concise message. It’s not just talking about previous numbers and what has happened in the past, it’s looking forward and providing strategic insights and clear recommendations.

 

What skills do you need to be a Finance Business Partner?

 

Ability to influence

To become a Finance Business Partner, you will need to have the ability to talk finance with non-finance staff. Sounds simple right? Well, it’s not always the case. A Finance Business Partner will use the analysis to deliver insights to stakeholders across the business, to enable key decision making. It’s essentially looking at key numbers and data and painting a picture of what it all means and the impact it can have on the wider business.

Presentation

Presentation skills are essential for the modern day FBP. I’m not just talking about how good you are with PowerPoint either. When analysing sets of data, it needs to be presented in a more readable format so non-finance teams can understand what the numbers are saying. Remember, not everyone’s an Excel guru like you!

Stakeholder management

Stakeholder management is key when becoming an FBP. You will need to speak up, challenge stakeholders and sometimes push back. You’ll need to have the ability to challenge beliefs or recommendations of stakeholders within the business. You need to communicate effectively, and this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be salesy or have the “gift of the gab”. It means being able to create a clear message to non-finance staff and build relationships and trust with them.

Commercial mindset

Finance Business Partners need to be commercially minded – just because you’ve identified a cost reduction, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will benefit the wider business. Remember, if you’re providing valuable insights from a finance perspective, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be valuable to operations, HR, sales, or most importantly the customer.

Analytical skills

If you’re a qualified accountant or studying towards a professional qualification, it stands a chance you’ve already built good analytical skills. I’m not talking about your traditional analytical skills though, you need to be able to analyse trends and identify anomalies.

Purpose-driven

You can’t just want to be a Business Partner if you’re in it for the money. The role must be purpose driven and you should really want to add value to the business. Adding value doesn’t necessarily mean saving money, it can be anything from process or efficiency improvement, service level enhancement or identifying a new revenue stream.

Not your typical accountant

You need to be able to operate strategically, be commercially aware, understand how to align people strategies with business strategies and be fully aware of the impact of changing employment legislation.

 

Taking a step up into a Business Partner role

 

Most Finance Business Partnering roles are aimed at qualified accountants, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be one or work towards it if you’re still studying. There are plenty of part-qual FBP jobs around, however, be aware when applying, as most recruiters now see it as a ‘buzz word’ and use it in titles to attract people to apply.

 

Think about the above skills and see where your strengths lie, and what your areas for development are. You won’t become an FBP overnight, but if you’re thinking of the move then most of the above you can improve yourself.

 

What skills do you feel make a good Finance Business Partner? If you would like to discuss further, you can email me at sam@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Sam Perry our Shared Services Executive Search expert here.

 

Organisational design, the dark art of any company restructure

Company restructure and change
Company restructure and change

Organisational design, the dark art of any company restructure…Is it just us, or does it seem like most companies these days seem to be in a perpetual state of change?

 

This increase in strategic change could in some part be driven by the continuous disruption of industries and how companies now need regular shake-ups in order to succeed. However, it appears that this high level of organisational design may also reflect the disappointment with the outcome of previous attempts to introduce changes.

 

A high number of change programmes fail, with a large percentage simply running out of steam whilst, in other cases, some fail to meet their objectives or improve performance once implemented. Could this be down to the organisational design or the actual implementation of the new model?

 

In a study conducted by Mckinsey, they found that; “the most successful organizations combine stable design elements with dynamic elements that change in response to evolving markets and new strategic directions. Corporate redesigns give organizations a rare opportunity to identify the stable backbone and set up those elements ripe for dynamic change.” The most successful companies see organisational redesign as a chance to rebuild the landscape and direct the future of the company.

 

What is Organisation Design all about these days?

 

Today, organisational design involves the processes that people follow, the management of individual performance, the recruitment of top talent as well as the development of employee’s skills. When the redesign of a company lines up with its strategic intentions, there is a higher chance of employees being able to execute and successfully deliver these changes.

 

All organisational change programmes should start with a corporate self-reflection. Asking questions about the purpose and direction of your company is surprisingly effective when it comes to keeping the focus on a new design strategy.

 

A study conducted by Deloitte echoed this sentiment – it found that whilst effective organisation design delivers significant improvements in business performance, most companies fail as they don’t go far enough in addressing real organisational or structural issues, and that; “businesses embark on organisation design projects in search of benefits they can’t achieve through organisation design alone—or even at all.”

But – all hope is not lost! There are things you can do to encourage a successful redesign.

How can you get it right?

  • Spend time to define the purpose of the organisation, it is critical to engage with leaders and people in the business to ensure that they buy into the change (before decisions are made).
  • One of the key aspects of any change programme is to get the business in a position to change what it does and get it to stick! Make sure that you put time and resource into business change, this will likely include significant cultural change, comms and training – otherwise, people will only revert to how they previously operated.
  • Interim executives have proven experience of moving the programme forward towards implementation (typically right after the management consultancies have developed the top-level strategy.) Make sure you get this right before hiring interim executives you can read our handy guide here.
  • Next, you’ll want to assemble a leadership team that has the right capability and is bought into the new strategy.

 

At this point, you might well need to talk to an Executive Search business that has experience of landing these types of programmes effectively…

 

To discuss further, you can email me on James@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about James Cumming our change and business transformation specialist here.