Case Study: Financial Services Culture Change Initiative

This global player is a corporate parent to a diverse array of enterprises in a dynamic and fast-changing financial services marketplace. Michael Lovett of HRD Strategies shares the context and outcomes of an organizational culture change initiative. 

The Context

The corporation was built on a system known as the dynamic franchise with multiple lines of business which rewarded performance on a business by business formula encouraging silo mentality. The major issues included fighting for limited capital and resources, seeking recognition for political gain, and missed opportunities for cross channel sales and innovation. 

The specificity of the approach was to implement a collaborative process together with the Shared Services management and the heads of Business Units. First, the challenges associated with the strategic objectives and market changes were formalized and prioritized by their importance as factors influencing the organizational design. Driving organizational principles were built in line with these key factors.  Then, several organizational options (business units by product line, business units by customer segments, sales / marketing / functional organization, mixed scenarios,. . .) were built and evaluated based on these organizational principles, and how they were answering strategic challenges.  At that step, in a “green field” approach, the current organization was barely considered: the optimal organizational design was being formalized based on the company strategy (including resource constraints), vision of the future, and anticipated market changes. Finally, preferred scenarios were detailed and assessed in how they would affect the current organization and processes: managerial changes, structural changes, continuity in customer / account managers relationship, overall organizational equilibrium, operational processes.

The Outcome

Following the project, the company benefited from:

1) A shared target organization with buy-in from all key managers, in alignment with the company strategic objectives, allowing to better respond to anticipated market changes, yet minimizing disruptions

2) A management team in solidarity with the new organizational chart, even for those with a restricted perimeter of responsibility.

3) A communication document with the recommendation of the company’s Senior Management.

A thorough identification of operational processes to be improved that were identified in the course of the project. The second process area was performance appraisals. The company had an old way of thinking about performance appraisals – as documents rather than as learning opportunities. Working with an internal planning team, we mapped the entire human development life cycle at the company, starting with employee orientation on Day 1. We defined how managers should communicate the company’s expectations to their employees. We vastly simplified the performance appraisals. We created a mentoring program. We tied it all together into a chart, showing the different moments of learning and development that an employee should experience while working at the company. To build support for this change, we engaged all the managers and employees in the process. We explained what we were planning and why. We solicited their input. We made changes based on what we heard. When it was complete, the performance development system was rolled out with a series of training classes, facilitated by HRD Strategies. For the first time, managers said they were no longer dreading doing performance appraisals. More importantly, employees started saying that they truly felt valued at the company.

Leave the first comment