Industry Category: Energy

Evolving strategy requires agile change communications for energy firm

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Evolving strategy requires agile change communications for energy firmcasestudy-image

The expert and safe set of hands that Blue Seed delivered in tight timeframes were very helpful, and their responsiveness and flexibility were very much appreciated. 

 – Project Manager

Brief

Our client is a prominent energy company operating in five of Australia’s six states. In support of the group’s national growth strategy, its Finance Business Support Team planned to launch an organisational change program to boost its capabilities as part of a broader effort to foster a partnership between the finance department and the entire company over time. In the past, the firm had chosen to delay change  information to employees until close to implementation, and this perceived late or slow  information caused surprise, anger and ill will among those affected. Under the new project, the company wanted to share information about impending changes while still figuring out the details, and invite employees to share feedback. The organisational redesign directly impacted a group working under one Finance General Manager as well as affecting the wider finance team. The initial organisational change communications engagement was timed for early December 2018 with a full announcement of the transformation, along with a more thorough explanation of the redesign’s impact, planned for February 2019.

Solution

Blue Seed Consulting was engaged to work alongside the company’s People & Culture division, an in-house organisational redesign consultant and a General Finance Manager to develop a change communications strategy and execute it three weeks before the initial announcement. Part of the challenge was timing: the organisational redesign strategy was evolving within the team as Blue Seed developed the strategy to support it. Anticipating and planning for employees’ responses was at the core of our work, to ensure stakeholders felt prepared to respond and that their responses conveyed information which could inform the broader, long-term changes. In partnership with the client, we developed the communications strategy, tools and materials to articulate the organisational redesign to key stakeholders, leaders and those most affected by the change. We took the approach that some employees would not welcome the news, for fear it would compromise job security or at least alter the status quo; there was concern that other leaders in the organisation would view the change as too little, too late, projecting a negative view before the actual rollout in February 2019. Anticipating and planning for employee response were at the core of Blue Seed’s engagement, to ensure that stakeholders felt prepared to respond and that their responses conveyed information supporting the important organizational changes.

Results

Throughout the three-week engagement, Blue Seed facilitated presentations of the work in progress to the Chief Financial Officer and key communications stakeholders to ensure alignment with the current state of organisational redesign programme. A thorough communications plan and audience identification, mapping and key message development was undertaken, along with a detailed employee questionnaire and presentation scripts, while communications templates for CFO- and stakeholder-led communiques were all carefully timed in the days leading to the December announcement to meet the client’s evolving needs. With our communications materials and tools in hand, the client felt prepared to deliver news of the organisation’s redesign and shared with Blue Seed soon after that the response was generally quite favourable, more so than expected. Read more about shifting mindsets to support change here. 

Energy company gets a buzz from training changes to support safe access

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Energy company gets a buzz from training changes to support safe accesscasestudy-image

The change management work, the progress updates and clarity provided to the Steering Committee is really appreciated and the actions on feedback are outstanding.  Blue Seed is adding enormous value, don’t know where we’d be without your consultant’s great work 

– Program Director

Brief

We were engaged by Australia’s leading integrated energy company and retailer who, after acquiring a number of previously government-owned energy generation sites, identified that the IT systems managing safe access to those sites for maintenance purposes differed. The client embarked on a project to introduce a single, consistent IT platform and related business process to manage site access, which also supported its cultural journey to become a unified ‘One Generation’ business providing energy to more than 4.3 million Australians.

Solution

Our consultants developed a comprehensive change strategy which included:

  • Stakeholder map
  • Change impact assessment
  • Communications and engagement plan
  • Training needs analysis
  • Learning specification and training strategy
  • Training rollout plan
  • Site readiness approach and plan
  • Support model
  • Adoption plan

The strategy also focused on developing internal change capability and plans were specifically tailored to internal functions where required to further support the shift towards a unified culture and mindset. After the change management activities had been executed, their status was tracked and reported to the Project Manager and project steering committee. Support was also given to the Project Manager with project delivery, stakeholder engagement and supplier management, specifically looking at areas which could affect the outcome like poor employee experience, untimely project delivery or poor solution design. Our advice and guidance resulted in a more effective and seamless project delivery and improved trust with business stakeholders.

Results

Our consultants were principally engaged to deliver a change management program, so the initial focus was on developing the requisite strategy and executing our plans and the client was delighted with the quality of Blue Seed’s work in this area. In particular, the development of new business process training offered a significant benefit to our client, as the previous training had been generic and not tailored to an employee’s specific role. Through the change impact assessment, significant work was undertaken by our consultants to identify the different roles involved in the process and training courses were then developed specifically for each role, something which the client reported would save up to two hours of training per employee.

Analysis of regulatory changes brings unexpected long-term benefits for energy firm

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Analysis of regulatory changes brings unexpected long-term benefits for energy firmcasestudy-image

Brief

In 2018, with Australia’s energy policy at its most volatile point to date, energy generators and retailers were preparing for years of disruption. While this was uniquely driven by a cross-section of global and environmental forces, government policy and price-competitive consumer demand, the organisational impact was similar to that of any other disrupted industry: business leaders must re-think their business and operating models and prepare for technology, system and behavioural change at all levels. Our client, one of Australia’s leading integrated energy companies and retailers, was facing a mandatory rule change meaning energy bids had to be settled at five-minute intervals instead of the current 30 minutes to enable a fairer system across the industry. One of a series of regulatory impacts with more expected in the coming months and years, this change alone would cost all providers at least $250m. Our client, anticipating the need not only to prepare for the settlement change but other imminent regulatory variations, approached Blue Seed to create the structure and discipline to enable a predictable and high-quality organisational change process and outcome.

Solution

 Blue Seed completed a Change Diagnostic, establishing clear direction, structure and certainty in just a few weeks. During this time our team consulted business leaders, experts and the program team to devise a strategy and recommendations to drive the change process. While to many in the organisation it appeared to be ‘just another regulatory change’, the analysis identified the need for 70 procedure changes and multiple system enhancements and replacements, in addition to behavioural shifts in how many employees apply the procedures for maximum effectiveness. Furthermore, the changes were expected to take more than two years to execute, with variations in the way each milestone had to be delivered in the lead-up to the mandated deadline. This meant disciplined change engagement and governance structures had to be devised to ensure all affected stakeholders were involved and aligned to the plan, to avoid slippage risks. One of the key challenges was how to inspire and engage employees in a program in which the primary driver was regulatory compliance, as the term ‘compliance’ can move people into avoidance mode. Through the consultative diagnostic process, we also identified opportunities to generate additional customer and organisational value and position the changes in a way to drive greater benefits; for example, the change would allow the energy provider to deliver more detailed information to customers and could even lead to savings on their energy bills. The necessary upgrade of systems and process also created a window of opportunity to optimise them for a broader set of processes, not just those that applied to the rule change.

Results

As a result of the Change Diagnostic process, all key stakeholders and program leaders had the same clear understanding of the rule change, why it was important, the potential benefits and their role in delivering it successfully. This alignment put them in a strong position to deliver consistent messages and get the workforce marching in the right direction together, meaning the company could embark on this multi-year journey with confidence and clarity. With an aligned leadership team, a clear change strategy and committed stakeholders, the risk of failure was mitigated and the likelihood of meeting the compliance deadline – and avoiding costly implications of failure – was assured.

Alignment of people, tech and op-model enables new energy trading platform

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Alignment of people, tech and op-model enables new energy trading platformcasestudy-image

On behalf of the team, I would like to extend our sincere thanks for putting in a first-class performance over the course of the project. You have played a pivotal role in promoting awareness of the project and the specific impact to each of the impacted teams now comprising our Allegro user base, demonstrating quality change management. It has been a privilege having you on the team.

State Program Manager, Energy Company

Brief

This assignment saw Blue Seed Consulting working within the energy industry on a multi-million dollar technology implementation of a new energy trading platform. This new system would enable the organisation significant revenue opportunities due to the provision of a more functionally rich and highly configurable environment, thus affording the business the opportunity to respond to market needs with greater speed, agility and accuracy.

After the dissolution of the in-house business change management function, Blue Seed Consulting were brought in to lead and deliver all change management components for the project.

Solution

Blue Seed consultants used their expertise to design, build and implement fit-for-purpose change interventions, within an environment of significant organisational wide change (and re-structuring).

We had to overcome the following challenges:

  • The utilisation of a third party solution integrator
  • The strained relationship between IT and business
  • The introduction of an end to end operating model (from a previously business segmented model).

By rapidly, but deeply, understanding the people impacts we determined the appropriate approaches to managing the change. We quickly identified the value of a localised change agent aka ‘change maker’ engagement model to address the complexities of the new technology and the diverse needs of the impacted teams. We managed and supported each of these change agents on a one to one basis. This two-way relationship was mutually beneficial as it enabled us to really understand the change needs of the teams and so we were able to create tailored and relevant engagement activities, communications and training. These efforts combined with high-quality tools ensured each change agent was well placed to lead their teams through the change.

Results

Blue Seed Consulting’s role in the people related aspects of this project contributed significantly to the smooth technical implementation of a highly complicated technology platform (one leveraged by multiple business teams). This was reflected in ratings of ‘effective change management’ as identified in all Third Party Quality Assurance Reviews conducted throughout the project and an external PwC audit.

The provision of unique change management tools (including Stakeholder Engagement Dashboard, Benefits Realisation Tracking, User Adoption Strategies) that the business has been able to re-purpose and leverage for successive change initiatives.

Furthermore, as a result of this engagement, Blue Seed Consulting succeeded in shifting previous opinions about change management, generating a positive perception its value and has established an ongoing relationship with this organisation – we have provided additional resources for subsequent work.

Employee-centred learning design, creates new capabilities and cost-efficiency for energy provider

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Employee-centred learning design, creates new capabilities and cost-efficiency for energy providercasestudy-image

“It has been a privilege to have had Blue Seed involved in our initiative.  Our Blue Seed consultant exudes a passion and energy in how she executes her role which inspires her colleagues and stakeholders.  She is able to channel this positive energy into a collaborative culture resulting in an outcome which exceeds expectations.  In the case of our initiative, the consultant produced a set of Training Needs Analysis material which will prove pivotal in ensuring our Business’s readiness for Day 1 Go-Live. “  Program Manager – Energy Company

Brief

Our client is Australia’s leading integrated energy company and retailer, providing energy to over 4.3 million Australians.

As part of their Energy Markets business strategy, our client is replacing existing legacy systems with a single platform capable of supporting their multi-commodity offering within the Energy Trading and Risk Management business.  The new technology will enable the business to make accurate and timely decisions to further leverage the value of their portfolio.

Solution

Blue Seed Consulting was engaged to provide technical training services to support the project delivery for a period of three months in preparation for the first release of a staged project implementation.

The scope of the engagement related to the provision of a detailed training needs analysis and training strategy and the development of a suite of training modules, tailored training programs, quick reference guides and learner activities.

End user impacts were at the core of this development work to ensure the training addressed the knowledge and skill gaps in a way that enabled impacted individuals to function effectively post implementation.

Results

In partnership with the client, Blue Seed Consulting provided expertise particularly in the areas of technical training content development and SME engagement.  There was a need to immerse in the technical aspects of the solution and spend time with impacted roles to gain a greater sense of ‘current’ state, which provisioned better assessment of the changes affecting each group.

A number of training modules were developed whose content focused on ‘need to know’ information.  Each module incorporated a number of practical hands-on Learner Activities on the premise that ‘what learners DO, they understand’.  The content was gathered through a series of facilitated workshops tailored to each impacted group.

Additional materials (Quick Reference Guides) and a centralised repository for training and support information were created to equip individuals with the right information and support, post training.

The client was delighted with the quality of the outputs and the process adopted, which achieved deep and very targeted engagement with the SME’s with as light a touch on their time as possible.