Driving Business Sustainability

Executive Summary

This is a story of a leader’s vision and drive for achieving business sustainability.

As Asia's leading communications group serving over 500 million customers around the world, the Client was faced with the following challenges:

  • Changing business priorities
  • Increasing cost of execution
  • Lack of right skills and talent
  • Poor internal customer experience

It was imperative to the organization’s sustainability to develop and execute a multi-year strategic roadmap to realign its structure; outsource non-critical processes and right-size its headcount; to build an engaged workforce and core capabilities to support the group’s business growth.

The Client engaged ODE Consulting to support their organization development journey including strategic planning, change communication and employee engagement to address the resulting significant decline in morale.

The objectives of the program are:

  1. Appreciate employees’ views of the recent changes and the need for change
  2. Engage employees in co-creating a positive picture of the change
  3. Discuss how the organization and managers can support them in the change
  4. Understand their contribution towards the change
  5. Pre- and post-stock take, of the outcomes of the program
  6. Support the leadership team with consistent and clear communication initiatives
  7. Identify the mindsets and competencies of service excellence culture
  8. Identify and support change champions to lead the various change initiatives

Within 6 months, the Client saw a significant improvement in the number of respondents and employee sentiments in both the post-stock take as well as the employee engagement scores across the group.

The critical success factors include visionary leadership and sponsorship, consistent and regular communication, a network of change champions and role models and close partnership between ODE and the Client.

The Situation

The outsourcing of non-critical systems and processes and right-sizing of the organization resulted in negative sentiments among the remaining employees and a significant decline in morale and engagement.

To address this, ODE worked with the Client to implement a multi-year Employee Engagement Program to engage, enable and empower employees to drive the organization’s strategic roadmap.

The Approach

Purpose, Assess and Stock Take:

Strategic Visioning at the leadership levels to identify the picture of success and validated key priorities.

Design and administer a pre-engagement pulse check off which 43% of employees responded anonymously.

Strategic Planning:

Work with the Client to develop their strategic roadmap and messaging to internal stakeholders, employees and external parties.

Implement (Communicate and Cascade):

The results of the pulse check survey were consolidated and shared at half-day engagement workshops where the employees contributed their views, input and commitment towards a shared outcome. Key themes were collated and presented to the leadership team for review, support and implementation.

It is important that the output from the pulse check and engagement workshops are taken into consideration by the leadership team and communicated to employees. The ability for an organization’s leadership team to demonstrate genuine concern and to walk the talk are integral to moving the needle in employee engagement scores.

To support the engagement program, both the ODE team and the Client identified employees across functions for their exemplary attributes to become change champions and serve as a 2-way feedback and facilitation channel. ODE also equipped the leadership team and change champions with facilitation and conversational skills to be effective in their roles.

Outcomes & Next Steps:

At the second (post-program) pulse check administered by ODE 6 months later, 75% of employees responded, an increase from 43% in the pre-pulse check. There was also a 15% increase in the ratings related to communication and engagement.

In the post-program engagement workshop, over 80% of the participants also attended the pre-program engagement workshops. It was a good way to close the loop and recognize employees for their tangible contribution to the organization’s progress.

Participants were recognized for their efforts in going the extra mile and dealing with the many challenges in the past year. Through a montage, middle managers were able to recognize the contributing efforts of their fellow team members and colleagues.

Activities such as mind mapping were well-engaged and participants were able to take away simple yet practical tips on how to appreciate differences and clarify issues from different dimensions.

The externally facilitated workshop, based on appreciative design with clear ground rules created a safe environment for participants to surface views, challenges and feedback.

The most significant outcome was in the Client’s employee engagement scores across the group, where they overachieved by 133%.

In the next phase of the Client’s organization development journey, the focus is on capability development as well as operational and implementation excellence.

This is a story of a leader’s vision and drive for business sustainability. By inspiring the mindset that drives an organization’s purpose and aligning its culture and competencies to ride the changing times.

Client’s Feedback:

“Q&A session helps to reflect employee's issue & question, and we can see the management team and responsible party are really taking action to solve the issue, there are things really changing around us.”

“Top management communications are much better than before and there are consistent policies and to achieve our vision.”

“Levels of uncertainty have reduced. I think there is a willingness from senior management to be positive and upbeat.”

ODE’s Feedback:

There were positive energy and influence from the new employees. ODE identified stars among the participants where they stood out in terms of their level of engagement during the workshops, positive mindset and openness to learning.

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