Top Ten Tips for Transformation Go-Live Success

Our featured blog this week is from Simon Brown, of Simon Brown Associates. He has 20 years of experience in transformation and has been involved in six end to end transformation programs, including the merger planning to create the new GlaxoSmithKline company, which was the world’s largest merger at the time and set a trend for the Pharma sector to follow. Here he gives his top 10 tips to make sure your transformation project is a success.

 

As a veteran of six end to end Transformation and Shared Services Programs since 1996, together with consulting for numerous other clients since 2010, I often get asked: what works best, what are your key learnings, what advice would you give?

Whilst there is no single “cut and paste” solution since each company has its own culture, its own spend budget and change readiness agility, there are certainly some common factors which, if applied with the correct level of dedication and follow-through, can make a great difference to the speed of implementation and effectiveness of your transformation.

 

My own experience to date is with these 6 global companies:

  • SmithKline Beecham 1996-2000,
  • GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 2001-2,
  • The Coca-Cola Company 2007- 2010,
  • NCR Corporation 2011-13,
  • Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) 2014-2016,
  • Becton Dickinson (BD) 2016-2018

*My views below are based on my personal experience and personal views over 20 years and are not specifically assigned to as representing or reflecting the above organisations.

 

My primary focus has been with Human Resources Transformation, plus a dose of Global Business Services (integrating IT, Finance and HR back-office functions), and yet the journey to ‘go-live’ success is a similar one whichever function you are transforming.  So where I have referenced HR in this article please substitute the name of your own function in transformation as needed to suit.

Go-Live is that high profile moment when you turn all the thinking, planning, blood, sweat and tears of knowledge transfer including the processes which you lift and shift or lift and transform, into a new operational model. A model which the customers can see, feel, touch and truly experience it. It’s exactly like when you open your store or restaurant and suddenly your customers are ready to consume your products and services and give you feedback on what they did or didn’t like.

So here are my 10 top tips for Transformation Go-Live Success:

 

  1. Begin with the end in mind.

    One of Stephen R. Covey’s Seven Habits!
    Think future state. Know your goals.

Establish a visual blueprint of your future organisation, your Target Operating Model. Be clear on the deliverables, and desired outcomes: the measures of success in terms of operational effectiveness, customer satisfaction and cost-efficiency. Define and agree on these upfront and together with your key stakeholders. Plan ahead and get answers to these points before you get sucked into the doing mode.

 

  1. Create a Compelling Vision to move forward

    Draw your own ‘Big Picture’.

By working together on the design and actually articulating the vision by physically drawing a tableau (“Big Picture”) to describe your future state (and at the same time to confirm why the current state is unsatisfactory) you are creating something which you can show and share with others to get them involved and engaged.  A picture is worth a thousand words: it draws people in, starts a conversation, creates meaning and dialogue for change. Like in a good art gallery, it provokes a response, creates an emotional reaction.

So to gain momentum to move forward we need to create a compelling vision, a good story, something to believe in, to follow, to become part of.  It is a kind of journey map with key milestones worth reaching, and a pot of gold or treasured place to be on the horizon, at the sun-rise, on the other side of the mountain. The compelling vision and the story that goes with it will particularly for senior managers have both a clear business case and like all good stories be capable to win hearts and minds, especially when good things come to those who take up and stay true to the journey. We all remember story-books where there are challenges to overcome, tangible outcomes and people as role models we can relate to.

Do share real stories from other companies who have already had successful journeys: they survived and thrived after all!  Provide real case studies, real people with real roles in the new model. Describe “A day in the life of…” for each of the key roles in your future state organisation.

 

  1. Engage your key stakeholders early

    Enlist business “change champions”.
    Obtain the voice of the customer.

Before you start to implement your new ways of working, be sure to get real supporters from the business on your side. Convert spectators into participants of your team, on the pitch, helping you to win.  Identify and enlist “change champions” who can talk positively about the benefits of self-service, portal and system technology, freeing up true HR business partners to actually spend more time supporting the business agenda and less time as a pair of hands-on administration.

Change champions are leaders, role models (walking the talk), who are well respected by other managers and thus engender and enable peer and cascade credibility to the transformation story. Their enthusiasm, business savvy and effective communication style will help the transformation to become a business transformation, a new way of working, not just something for and on behalf of HR (or another back-office function).

The line manager then becomes a People Manager who has more ownership of hiring, onboarding, managing performance and engagement of their team. They become responsible also for initiating system transactions for and on behalf of their teams. Good People Managers will show by example to their colleagues and direct reports on what to do.

 

  1.  Align

    Systems with Processes, Projects with work-streams, Portal with People, to ensure the most frequently asked employee questions = content answers.

Generally, alignment is the keyword. Alignment of activities, sub-projects, work-streams etc. are key to the successful implementation and end-user digestion of the transformation and changes to the ways of working. Having a clearly coordinated and well-structured Project Management Office with a well bundled Communications plan can really help to present the transformation as one initiative, not a thousand unrelated busy tasks. Just like the air traffic controller the role is to ensure that planes take off and land safely at the right time in the right place.

Align Process & System. System design and implementation and process design and implementation need to happen in parallel, to be aligned. You can’t implement a system without a clear and consistent set of global processes, and global processes will only work if the system enables the necessary transactions.

Roles and workflows must be defined and aligned. One without the other = an unholy and costly mess and lots of re-work.

Align Portal with People. Think about what is relevant for the end-user when designing your intranet portal. Ensure navigation and access to information is simple and easy. Use a search engine with keyword enquiry. The most frequently asked questions that employees normally ask (have you got five minutes…?) are the ones to ensure you have written good content answers for on the portal. Keep these answers up to date, relevant and fresh and you will save everyone time.

 

  1. Hire an HR Shared Services Team Director and Team Leader * early.

Sadly, all too often companies make the mistake of leaving it until their new HR Service Centre is up and running before hiring the HR Service Director, and team leaders (for spans of 12 people +). The mistaken belief is that it is costly to hire these roles early. Particularly if they are an additional cost to a headcount not yet saved elsewhere in the organisation. My counter-proposal is to hire these pivotal roles early. Select those who are change agents, good at stakeholder engagement and employee relations, and particularly strong on delivery of customer service satisfaction: the most important metric there is!

Make them part of your pre-go live project team, conducting knowledge transfer, engaging early with key stakeholders, hiring the team. If they are involved in this it will build a stronger psychological contract and a vested interest to build the best team, the best processes, lay the best foundations for the new house right from the start. That’s actually cost-effective!

 

 

  1. Be clear on HR roles for the new HR Model

Answer the “what’s in it for me” (w-i-i-f-m) question honestly.
Have a clear, transparent, and fair selection process.
Give guidance on the transition and the project opportunities.
Be honest about the exit process and financial and career support for leavers. 

The HR Community will have one question on their mind as you announce your HR Transformation program: What’s in it for me? Behind that question lies their hierarchy of needs:

  • What happens to me – and when, what are the opportunities/options for me, and what if there are no opportunities for me?

Don’t pretend that these questions can remain unanswered. Don’t leave the elephant in the room unannounced. Don’t lose trust. Acknowledge that their questions are relevant and real. Be honest. You may not have all the answers yet but do your best to outline the road map and the 3 routes to be taken:

a – you can be selected for a role in the new model,

b –  you can grow your CV in change and project management,

c – there is no clear role yet defined that we can see for you, however, if you stay and help with knowledge transfer a fair and respectful package and support will be there for you if ultimately no suitable roles match for you.

 

  1. Change Management is key – win over HR

From all my transformation experiences in the last 20 years this is the one common theme for them all:  

HR is often more resistant to letting go of the current state than managers or employees are.

Take time to get HR on-board with change – actively listen to their hopes, fears, and concerns.
With them on-board you have a salesforce for the new way of working!

 

Don’t underestimate change management or the time it takes. Give quality time to this.
Behaviours don’t change on paper or after a single slide deck presentation. You are promoting a new concept (well not that new since Dave Ulrich first promoted the new HR Model back in the mid 1990s) and at first it seems just a concept, a rather uncomfortable concept. Until people see how it works for them.

  • There is a change for line-managers to become more empowered and empowering as People Managers.
  • There is some change for employees – to do some of their own self-service system transactions.
  • There is even more change for HR -changing roles, changing organisation structure, headcount, new skills to learn, old skills to let go.

Of all the stakeholders in the change mix, my experience is that HR is often more resistant to letting go of the current state than managers or employees are. They have more skin in the game and they perceive they have more to lose. Have the courage to spend time with HR to help them through their personal transition. First, they need to accept that the change must come from them.

 

  1. Rule of 8: communicate, communicate, communicate

In times of significant change, research shows the same messages need to be repeated up to 8 times before they are heard, understood, and internalised.

(Price Pritchett: Business as Unusual).

I attended a seminar back in 2000 and read the book. At that time, I was involved in the merger planning to create the new GlaxoSmithKline company. It was the world’s largest merger at the time and set a trend for the Pharma sector to follow. A huge change was taking place and Price Pritchett taught us the “rule of 8 “for communications. In turbulent times of change, you can never over-communicate. As we have all experienced in 2020 with the Covid19 pandemic.

When the game is changing, and the old rules and framework is not the same any more you have to help the team to take it all in and to adjust to the changing environment. People often don’t hear, and sometimes don’t want to hear, the first message of change. They just don’t take it in.  So say it again, and again and again eight times like a beat in slightly different ways but actually with the same core message. At 8 times or more nearly everyone hears it, internalises it and recognises it as their new terms of reference.

 

  1. Do knowledge transfer as a Joint Project Team:

Country HR working together with the HR Shared Services Centre.
Aim for a “one team together” mindset. HR Services team and Country HR team working together. Transferring knowledge of process, policy and transaction and legislation from each country to the new HR Service Centre is a big full-on project, not just a short task.

Create a project management team mindset with a clear charter and purpose: we are doing this together and we will do it well. It’s about collaboration, it’s about not wanting to let employees in that country down. This approach sets up conditions for success.

Spend time and budget to do as much face to face/voice to voice knowledge transfer and training as you can. It’s about giving and receiving the gift of knowledge and can actually be a reward for an employee to get the opportunity go to another country to do this.

Steer clear of any connotations of “taking over”, “raiding their brains”, “us and them” – these set an unhealthy atmosphere for the project and must be confronted early if they arise.

 

 

  1. Go-Live is just the start!

When you “go live” it is not the end of the project – it is just the tangible beginning of the new way of working.
Stay close for the first 3-6 months to create habits for the Service Delivery Model.
Keep the score to record early successes, and encourage improvements.

 

Don’t disband the project team just yet. Check first that the new roles, systems and processes are working and working underneath the surface. Ensure that people are trained for their new roles and that they have actually made the behavioural transition from the old state model to new state new model and new actions. Invest time to institutionalise the new ways of working.

Actions are everything. Read also the signs -verbal and non-verbal. Praise adoption and good examples of new ways of working. Encourage customer feedback on the service and be quick to improve the service where needed. Nip in the bud the bad habits and signs of old ways of working via firm, constructive feedback with SMART examples.

Do take time to positively celebrate Go-Live day with a drink and a cake as a milestone achieved.      It marks the end of the beginning; the start of a new life-cycle of continuous operational excellence.

 

Simon offers bespoke HR solutions to match your business needs, to deliver effective Human Resources outcomes. You can find more about what his company does on his website.

 

James Cumming is our MD, Interim and Transformation Search specialist. Please get in contact with him directly to discuss any of these topics further.

You can ‘goal’ your own way…achieving business goals

Achieving business goals

Achieving goals, whether they’re personal or professional, can be tough. We’ve all got our own personal mountain tops. The goals that we set ourselves that, from the outset, seem nearly impossible to conquer…

I read a book called ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller. The premise is: what is the ‘one thing’ that you need to do that will subsequently make everything else fall into place and become easier?

In the book, Keller talks about breaking down your goals into long and short term, and how by doing this you can turn them into more manageable and less intimidating tasks.

Once you’ve broken them down, you can then consistently ask yourself questions about your progress to keep you on track with your overall goal.

The process

This process works in two parts. The first is about finding the right direction, and the second part is about chasing the right action.

For the first part, think about the big picture and identify what your overall goal is, what is the one thing that you want to do or achieve. This can be anything from your career goals to a personal ambition that you have.

The second part of this process is more short-term and practical. You have to ask yourself questions that provide you with a small focus on what you can do right now to help you get to where you want. For example, making that phone call that you’ve been putting off, or signing up for that networking event that you find intimidating.

Stay on track

By repeatedly asking yourself these more focused and short-term questions, you will not only keep on target to your overall goal, but you will also find yourself taking actionable steps that all build on one another and provide you with the momentum to finally reach your mountaintop!

To have a chat about your goals or your executive search, contact me at carl@refind.co.uk.

You can view more about Carl Hinett our Executive search of HR professional’s specialist here.

Want to hear more about our senior HR professionals golf society? Sign up here.

Let’s talk about time management

We’ve all heard of it and, although it’s something that comes around like clockwork, whenever it’s time for a performance review, it’s still something that we ironically don’t always have the time to work on, me included.

It’s easy to be ‘busy’ at work, but are we busy in the right context? Or are we all just busy being fools? And how can we make our time at work more productive?

Alleviate pressure

We live in a world where we are always switched ‘on’. Our smartphones constantly alert us to any new messages and emails, our smartwatches vibrate all day long and alert us whenever we make so many steps, and we always seem to be on the computer where there is no shortage of information being directed our way.

There’s pressure from our peers, directors, business owners and employees asking us questions, and there’s no longer an off switch for anyone.

So, how can we implement some simple structure that will help alleviate some of this pressure?

Plan, plan, and then plan a bit more. It’s not the most revolutionary answer I’ll admit, but it works.

Most people don’t plan for the following day, but you’ll be surprised at how effective setting aside time to assess the rest of your week can be.

Get organised

Create your own spreadsheet or write a list of all of your tasks for the week, whichever method works for you, and take a break every hour to assess what you’ve achieved since you last checked over your list. You will either be amazed at how much you’ve done, or surprised at how much you’ve procrastinated!

Treat your time like you would your finances – keep a close eye on them!

The most important thing is to be honest with yourself, and question how you should delegate your time. Doing this will help you identify your biggest waste of time, so you can change it!

To have a chat about your executive search, contact me at carl@refind.co.uk

You can view more about Carl Hinett our Executive search of HR professionals specialist here.

Want to hear more about our senior HR professionals golf society? Sign up here.

Why are we all so scared of business change?

Why are we all so scared of business change?

We all know what it feels like to be anxious and unmotivated when it comes to our professional lives, yet even with these feelings, we’re still hesitant about implementing change.

Change can be intimidating, but it can also present much-needed opportunities for growth and development that you wouldn’t experience if you stayed in the same, comfortable and familiar role that you’re in at the moment.

Everyone has different ways of dealing with change, but how can you incorporate change into your everyday working life if the prospect feels overwhelming?

One popular model, the change curve, can be used to help understand the varying stages of personal change and ensure that the correct support can be provided as needed.

The change curve identifies six different stages that people experience when they go through change. These stages are:

–      Stage 1: Initial reaction

–      Stage 2: Self-criticism

–      Stage 3: Confusion and doubt

–      Stage 4: Acceptance and rationalisation

–      Stage 5: Solutions and problem solving

–      Stage 6: Normalising the change

As you work through the various stages of the change curve, you’ll start to notice the positive effects of personal and business change and be able to identify at what stage you’re stuck at. Once you know this, you can find the best support to help you successfully transition into the next stage.

Whilst business change may not always be successful, it’s important to take the value of a new experience seriously.

To have a chat about your executive search, contact me at carl@refind.co.uk.
You can view more about Carl Hinett our Executive search of HR professionals specialist here.

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

Insider Story – Resourcing Transformation at Gowling WLG

For August’s instalment of Insider’s Story, I met up with not only one of my favourite HR professionals, but one of my favourite people in general, to talk about ‘resourcing transformation’.

The wonderful Jo Franklin, Head of Resourcing for Gowling WLG, agreed to sit down with me and have a chat about the huge ‘resourcing transformation’ journey they have been on.

She explains how they have transformed their resourcing strategy and well and truly stepped out of the ‘Wragge & Co shadow’.

Gowling WLG has been on quite a ride over the past few years…

What was once Wragge & Co, then Wragge, Lawrence Graham & Co, (before joining forces with top Canadian law firm Gowlings) and finally Gowling WLG was born.

Jo joined the business post-merger in the early part of 2016. They had gone from being in the Top 25 to overnight becoming a part of a major international law firm. As a result of this, their resourcing and talent strategies needed some serious development and she was in responsible for resourcing transformation.

“ It was a testing period”, Jo admits “as I joined, three of my most experienced team members were going on maternity leave. All of that knowledge and experience leaving at a time of considerable change!”

The Transformation

The vision was clear; to make Gowling WLG a recognised brand in the marketplace, to compete against the top law firms and to secure the best talent across lateral, business services and early talent.

The perception that the resourcing team was very much an administrative support function was something that Jo wanted to change. As around 60% of the team’s time had been spent on recruitment admin, they wanted to adopt a business partnering approach and get more stakeholder facetime.

Jo says, “We wanted to have a position in the market where we could source directly, because of our reputation.”

To put this into perspective in the legal sector, agency hire rates sits at around 60-70%. Jo had set herself a target of direct sourcing at 60%.

In order to achieve this, the team needed to look at a number of things including Employer Brand, EVP and Internal Engagement.

How did you do it?

One of the key pieces to landing any big transformation is to engage with your people and to take them along on the journey. They wanted to focus on their people, rather than the work they do.

Gowling decided to undertake 360-degree feedback to determine their true employer values.

This consisted of 12 workshops with people across the brand, from trainee to partner level. It also involved leadership interviews and market research to understand what made working at Gowling WLG different and unique.

From this developed an employer value proposition (EVP)framework upon which the new careers site would be based.

Headed up by the team members returning from maternity leave, they employed the service of two specialist agencies to convert their EVP into attraction messaging and built their careers site around this.

In order to meet their own challenging direct sourcing targets (60% of all offers), their social media and direct hiring activity needed to be supported by a creative, informative and content-rich careers website.

This is Gowling WLG’s first full careers site. For several years, the firm has had an early talent website, but the offering for fee earners and business service professionals was limited, and the team was keen to promote their new enhanced apprenticeship programme. Now they have detailed information on the firm, its culture and all the different job families in one place, which is presented in a creative and engaging way.

‘You can’t just tell people what your values are’

A common mistake that many organisations make is just announcing what their Values and EVP are, rather than engaging with people, which can alienate people and leave them feeling unsure of their identity.

Rather than just announcing firm values, it is far more effective to live and breathe them, and they slowly infiltrate into the business as usual.”

There must be a mindset change for any transformation to be implemented successfully.

Jo and her team did this through empowering the people around them.. Rather than focussing on what was wrong with the current approach, they demonstrated how great things really could be by sharing knowledge and helping people to understand that there are other ways of attracting great candidates…

Jo says, “Don’t tell people, let them experience it”

Developing a ‘Dream Team’

Jo recognised that in order to truly provide a value-add service to the business, developing her team’s offering was key.

At the time of joining, their agency spend was substantial…

Due to previously having a limited view of forthcoming requirements, the firm had become used to a reactive approach to recruitment and this was going to be a huge change for them.

Proving the model worked and providing tangible results in the first few months was vital, both in the quality of candidates introduced and time to hire.

One of the key hires to the team was Chris Lake, who had an exceptional track record in direct resourcing, having worked for a legal agency for 6 years prior to joining Gowling WLG.

Jo empowered the team to start taking a more forward-thinking approach. They began to identify and map the key markets within the firm’s key sector areas, understanding the active candidate market but more importantly building a picture of passive candidates that could be developed into a talent audience for the future.

The resourcing advisors started to build trust with key stakeholders and taking time to understand their business objectives and working with managers to plan for skills gaps and provide competitor insight and analysis to build credibility.

‘This wasn’t an original solution’

Now Jo, whilst undeniably fantastic, isn’t a part of some kind of secret recruitment magic circle!

The direct sourcing model isn’t an original solution, however, it’s usage within the legal sector is limited within the Top 100 law firms. In addition to this, varied results and methods are evident across the sector – i.e. direct sourcing limited to business services/non-fee earner roles or paralegal level recruitment in some firms.

What is clear, however, is that Jo has opened her stakeholders’ eyes to ‘what could be’ if they trusted in her and her team.

By really engaging with your people, being armed with knowledge and taking a genuine interest in your stakeholders, you can build fantastic relationships.

This doesn’t necessarily happen over-night. Jo herself will admit it has been in huge part down to her teams’ sheer persistence, determination and energy to truly add value that this transformation has been such a huge success

Where are they now?

12 months after Jo and Chris joined the business, Gowling WLG had succeeded in reducing its cost per hire by 41%. The time to hire for the new direct talent strategy 30% lower than for previous hires through recruitment agencies.

The success has continued with the team meeting their direct hire targets year on year, producing real and credible savings on agency spend, whilst still focusing time on building relationships with their key agencies to help with niche roles. By April 2018, they had exceeded their initial 60% goal.

The team were also delighted to receive a prestigious HR in Law award in May for their careers site, which they are now extending out to their international offices, the first being Dubai.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Jo Franklin for taking part in my Insiders Story series! To find out more about life at Gowling WLG, visit their careers page at: https://gowlingwlg.com/en/careers

For all things interim management, change & transformation, get in touch with us via the info form below, and if you would like to feature in our ‘Insiders Story’ blog, email me on kate@refind.co.uk

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

Shared Services, want to attract the best talent to join your business?

Shared services
Credit: The Office, NBC

I recently published an eBook called “Why Top Performing Shared Services Talent Won’t Join Your Business & What To Do About It”. In this eBook, I explain why it is that big reputable brands (which have world-class shared services centres) still find it difficult to recruit and retain the best talent. Even though these brands may believe that “everyone loves our brand and it’s a nice place to work…” this isn’t necessarily the truth.

Is that the message you are giving off to a passive candidate market?

With over 75% of shared services professionals passively looking (and not actively seeking) a new role, then it’s no wonder that it’s difficult to attract and retain the best talent!

Delivering the right message to shared services professionals

Candidates are being increasingly selective over their future employer, and considering that Monarch Airlines, Carillion, Toys R us, House of Fraser, and Maplin (just to name a few!) have gone into administration during the past year, why would you want to leave your cushy job where you’ve worked for years, and where Betty knows how to make the perfect cup of tea, for somewhere that isn’t as secure and may be at risk of joining all of the companies mentioned in the previous sentence?

It’s important that shared services give off the right message, follow the right process and keep up with their competitors when it comes to recruiting.

The most desired Shared Services assignments in the past 12 months that I’ve managed have been within newly created roles. But why is this?

Is it because there isn’t an expectation there, or because they feel the company are performing well by creating these new roles?

Newly created positions offer a chance for candidates to put their stamp on a role and make it their own. As these positions are created due to demand for a certain skillset within a business, they also provide candidates with a sense of feeling wanted and allows them to see these roles as a challenge and the chance to pursue something new.

It’s all about how you deliver the message, and how this message is perceived by your potential future employees!

So the big question is, how do you excite people to work for your shared service centre if the role is replacing someone who lacked motivation, was bored and didn’t enjoy coming into work….

It’s all in your message.

How you get this right in your Shared Services team!

And I have just the thing that can help you with this… In my free eBook, I examine the steps you can take to stay ahead in the field.

If you would like your free copy, email me at sam@refind.co.uk

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

What makes a successful HR business partner?

A HR business partner as successful as batman and superman
What makes a successful HR business partner?

HR has seen quite a change over the past few years, thanks to the introduction of new technologies and changing cultural attitudes. So it makes sense that the qualities of a successful HR business partner may have gone through a similar metamorphosis since Ulrich first introduced the concept.

 

These days more focus is needed on how they add value to a company. But you can’t just go from being traditional HR to HR business partner overnight, as a completely different set of attitudes, beliefs and skills are required to pull off this role.

So, what exactly makes a successful HR business partner (HRBP)?

  • A well-rounded knowledge base. As the job description for a HR business manager has become all-encompassing, the knowledge base of a HRBP must be as well. Similar to a typical HR manager, a HRBP should have a sound understanding of the law so that the company they work for understands their legal obligations to their employees. Additionally, a basic understanding of psychology is also beneficial as the role now entails more interaction directly with employees.
  • Business-minded. Originally the key characteristic of a HRBP is that they were someone who understood a company’s financial goals and worked to create solutions for HR-focused issues. This characteristic still remains highly important in a modern day HRBP, as without a clear business focus and understanding, a HRBP is not adding value.
  • People skills. Now that this role involves more interaction with employees, it means that a HRBP needs engaging social skills. There’s no point in having great ideas if you can’t sell them and communicate them effectively. If the right person is in the role, then they will be able to enable employees to feel safe and motivated in their workplace and more open to change.
  • Self-belief. If you don’t believe in the impact that HR can have on a business or your own influencing skills, then why should other people? If a business is going to reach its targets, everyone in that business needs to believe that they can make a difference. And those differences start with HR!

A change in the role of HRBP

There has been a huge change in the role of HRBP’s today compared to the same role a few years ago. HR was previously considered an extra department that was nice to have a security blanket for everyone else. Now, HR is essential, and businesses are missing out if they do not adopt this new approach.

Convincing people that ‘HR business partner’ is more than just the latest buzzword means being able to demonstrate value in your work, and with the correct skills and attitudes, the benefits that you can bring to a business are truly limitless.

There is still plenty of debate around what makes a successful HR business partner

There is plenty of resource to help you form your own opinion:

Hiring commercial HRBP’s can be especially difficult, if you are having issues please contact me to discuss further, you can email me on James@refind.co.uk

You can view more about James Cumming our HR, Change and Business Transformation specialist here

HR consultants – how do you beat stress?

HR consultants - how do you beat stress?
Beverly Hills 90210, Fox Broadcasting Company

Ahh, stress. It’s something that unites us all regardless of occupation or lifestyle. For HR consultants, life can be very busy and things happen which totally change your plan for the day.

 

One bad email can be all that it takes to set it off, and then next thing you know you’re awake at 3AM unable to sleep. We can’t always avoid stress, but we can work on improving how we respond to it. The good news here is that just as we have a stress response; we also have useful relaxation responses that we can call to action at any sign of trouble – perfect for all busy HR consultants.

 

Go for a walk

Getting away from your desk and moving around can help clear your head, and thanks to something called ‘involuntary attention’, walking around a green open space can actually put your body into a state of meditation. Meaning that when you return back to work, you’ve been able to reflect on your day and see everything with a fresh pair of eyes.

 

Eat a snack

Stress eating isn’t all bad – it just depends on what you reach for in the fridge! Pick something that will fill you up and not just give you a sugar rush for an hour, as feeling like you’ve run out of nourishment can actually contribute to a feeling of stress. Whilst it’s tempting to reach for Redbull and a Mars Bar, these foods can be counter-productive! Foods great for concentration include avocados, nuts, complex carbs such as brown rice and sweet potato and dark chocolate are great options

 

Put a record on

Or a Spotify playlist, depending on what’s available to you in your office. Classical music may seem like the most obvious option for destressing, however, any music that you love will have the same effect and flood your brain with feel-good neurochemicals. My personal favourites are Kisstory or an 80’s playlist.

 

Chew some gum

Not only does this ensure minty-fresh breath, but studies have also shown that chewing gum can actually relieve anxiety, improve alertness and reduce stress when multitasking – a win-win for anyone that loves gum as much as I do.

 

Have a nap

Another technique that is popular with companies such as Google and Nike is the power nap. Research has shown that when people are able to take a power nap at work, they encounter fewer feelings of stress, have better cognitive response rates and improved memory.

 

As a HR consultant, do you have any tips on how to relieve stress? Let me know in the comments below.

For all things interim management, change & transformation, get in touch with us via the info form below, and if you would like to feature in our ‘Insiders Story’ blog, email me on kate@refind.co.uk

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

Lifestyles of the rich and the famous… The reality lifestyle business.

Lifestyles of the rich and the famous… The reality lifestyle business.

I was at a conference recently and bumped into an old colleague. We had a nice catch-up and before we parted ways she said it’s great to see that your lifestyle business is going so well…

 

I remember hearing the phrase ‘lifestyle business’ from my big box recruitment background, and it always had a negative connotation attached to it. However, my old colleague didn’t say it with any negative undertones at all – far from it! She was, in fact, using the phrase as a compliment, which got me thinking.

 

Why do people see recruitment firms as lifestyle businesses if they don’t want them to take over the world? A lifestyle business generally refers to a business that allows the owner to live how they want to live whilst also running the company. This phrase also often refers to a business that doesn’t consume your personal life and gives you the flexibility to shut off at the end of the day.

 

I mean, surely the days of 8 till 8 are over, especially with so much industry focus on the subject of maintaining a healthy work/life balance. Thinking about it, I guess re:find does fit into the category of a lifestyle business…we have an office dog, there isn’t a suit in sight, flexible working is standard practice and we have a grown-up culture where people are supported (rather than managed to within an inch of their lives).

 

But does that mean you are a lifestyle business? Or is that just perception? How would you define a lifestyle business? Get in touch and let me know!

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.