How to approach change programmes - Interview with Lauren Taylor, Part #1

How to approach change programmes - Interview with Lauren Taylor, Part #1

Lucy Bielby Market Insight

We all know how challenging the last few months have been both personally and professionally. Lauren Taylor HR & People Transformation expert was interviewed by our Director, Lucy Bielby about how organisations can effectively look to the future and identify how they can operate as efficiently as possible.

Lauren has supported organisations including BT, British American Tobacco and more recently Marsh & McLennan through periods of change. In a series of questions, Lucy wanted to understand from Lauren, her thoughts as to how organisations should be approaching any change programmes ahead, whilst drawing on any lessons that she has learnt along the way.


Lauren, taking into account the current market, which areas of a business do you think are most likely to transform?

For many organisations, change is likely to be out of necessity as opposed to the implementation of a planned programme of change. With the current conditions, they could be looking at anything from having a high volume of employees in roles that may no longer be needed, new ways of working as a result of remote working and social distancing through to cost reduction which could include, redundancies and the reduction of real estate portfolios. On the other side it could actually include setting up new business units and the acquisition of key talent as organisations identify new and evolving areas of growth/focus.


How do organisations go about identifying new areas for change?

I would be encouraging the leadership teams to use this opportunity to identify critical roles and skills within their organisations and ask themselves what areas of the business have continued to thrive in this challenging time and what, if any new opportunities have been identified. Many organisations have diversified through necessity over the last few months, but this may well have identified new opportunities for growth and profit.

By reviewing which areas of their organisation may have offered them stability during this turbulent time and what services or product lines they had been able to continue delivering, organisations will be in a strong position to truly identify critical roles and skills necessary to the success of their business.   

Reflecting where appropriate on any areas of their business that might have actually grown from innovation. Including new business opportunities and potential areas of diversification will support any future transformation programme and help develop/update target operating models for the future.


So, when it comes to change where do you actually start ?

With the current challenges (economic, social distancing etc) and potential challenges ahead, this is all about wider business transformation. The focus of which is going to range from target operating models, ways of working, organisation development, attracting and retaining key talent through to property portfolios and agile working.

Overlaying this with employee relations and how we manage this in ‘new world’ is extremely complex.

In any Employee relations situation or re organisation that is looking at Target Operating Models and Organisation Design. One of the big challenges is to identify the roles that are business critical.

Many organisations are likely to have already done this as part of their decision making process on furlough however, for others it is hard to have this definition when as a business they have not been able to operate during this time. With so many organisations utilising furlough, they also need to focus on the implications that this will have on their transformation and be aware of how quickly they will need to move.

Although we have seen some movement, in the main we are still uncertain about when it may be possible for a phased return to the workplace for many, it’s imperative that organisations are planning about the bigger picture.


What should organisations be focusing on?

If an organisation has furloughed the majority of their workforce, this is only a temporary and emergency measure. Unfortunately they may not be in a position to bring back all furloughed employees so many will be faced with redundancy situation. Currently furlough finishes at the end of October and where furlough isn’t governed by employment law, redundancy is. Businesses need to think about that formal process and the associated timescales especially if they are looking at collective consultation, depending on the number of employees impacted.

If organisations have seen growth or innovation during this time, they are likely to be thinking about whether this will remain a potential revenue stream in the future and will need to be thinking about their future Target Operating Model and the skills that they will need.  It is likely to be a candidate rich market and the process organisations follow will be imperative to their future success. They will need to focus on the skillsets they need, with targeted Job Descriptions and provide strong criteria for sifting and selecting candidates. In an extreme case, in one of my assignments we had 250 specialist roles to hire and had nearly the same number of applicants per role.  The resources required to screen candidates and the selection criteria for each role was key in this situation and this volume of applicants is not something that organisations will necessarily be used to in the UK.

The other critical planning requirement will be new ways of working. Organisations mobilised their workforces to operate remotely very quickly and whilst I don’t expect that many organisations will be operating 100% remotely in the future. We will see some big changes to agile / flexible working policies which for many organisations will be hard for them to refuse as in many cases employees have proved it can work. It is also likely that we will see some change in property portfolios as a result.

If you would like to discuss how Lauren may be able to support you through any upcoming change related projects, please contact Lucy Bielby.

The full Q & A is available here