FTSE 100 Case Study
overcoming resistance to change
The staff were engaged and bought in, and the change was implemented in a positive and receptive environment.
This FTSE 100 company was implementing the largest change programme it had ever undertaken. Successful implementation would mean saving millions of pounds each year. However, the programme required a complete change in the way staff worked, meaning that staff resistance was a key concern. Indeed, the programme had been tried before, but was unsuccessful.
In order to make the programme successful it was crucial that the top management group bought into the programme and proactively helped to overcome the expected resistance from mangers and customer-facing staff. The staff needed to understand why the change was happening, what the benefits would be, when it was all going to take place and what was expected of them. The company also needed to demonstrate credibility- by showing that the programme had been tried and tested, and would deliver on its promises.
Through the interview process we found that the management team and the customer-facing staff would buy in for different reasons, meaning that two different messages were needed. In order to engage with the busy management staff we needed to create a big picture that immediately showed the benefits of the change process, as well as clearly identifying their role in its successful implementation. Our research showed that key persuaders for the customer-facing staff were highlighting the benefits to the customer and showing how it would place the company above all competitors.
The big picture asked and answered the following questions:
- What is it?
- Why will it work?
- How do we make it a success?
Including photos of the right key people made it personal and added weight and influence to the message. Our research revealed who those key people were . The use of recognised brand images ensured it remained familiar and identifiable as an internal communication - and therefore as a change for the benefit of the whole organisation.
The programme was to be announced at a leaders’ conference. When the requested one-day timeslot was reduced to four hours, it became increasingly important that the message was clear and concise, with a strong delivery for maximum impact . We developed a Flash presentation of the big picture (see samples of Flash presentations on our website www.cognac.co.uk/multimedia) which then led into structured discussion focus groups. After the conference, we altered the presentation for the new audience of customer-facing staff and added a voiceover. We then produced and distributed this to teams and managers throughout the organisation. Leaders received an A1 big picture and video presentation that they could use to cascade down to some 4000 employees. Questions were incorporated into the big picture – which engaged the audience and helped guide the development of discussions (more than an informational message alone).
Feedback from the conference was very positive. Each leader received and used the big picture and the video presentation to educate their staff. Staff who hadn’t seen the presentation themselves began to hear about it, and wanted to see it and find out about the programme. The staff were engaged and bought in, and the change was implemented in a positive and receptive environment.