Industry Category: Financial Services

New workflow system for financial firm takes off with a guiding hand

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New workflow system for financial firm takes off with a guiding handcasestudy-image

Our new change methodology, and alignment of it to Agile, is excellent. The Change Planning tool is great and it will now be mandatory for every project to use it. Good feedback from the business on the way change is now working, thanks. Business readiness survey, assessment tools and reports are all excellent

– comments received by Program Manager – August 2018

Brief

Our client is a financial services provider which administers financial ownership data and drives user engagement, analysis and insight through technology; it delivers complete solutions for companies, large asset owners and trustees across the globe. Our client partnered with a leading software company to implement a new workflow management system to be rolled out across the company worldwide, meaning a number of legacy systems could be retired. The program enabled processes to be adapted to, and interact with, multiple input channels (such as paper, email or online) and enhanced a number of business processes so customers could interact at the appropriate stage of the process, significantly improving their experience. We applied the SAFe Agile methodology across the change program and split the scope into more than 30 features to be rolled out over two years. The change program was a triple first for the project and business teams, meaning all stakeholders – project, IT and business – had to adjust: not only was it the first change program of this size ever attempted in the organisation, it was the first to impact the whole company, across all divisions locally and internationally, and the first to use this methodology. In addition, this change also ran parallel with other organisational shifts, including ongoing merger and acquisition activities, making it quite a challenge for an organisation which had had limited change maturity in the past. Its strength, however, was a strong desire for better ways of managing change.

Solution

Our brief was to assess, design, build and test a repeatable, structured change management method, with supporting processes and tools, and to simultaneously support the first three months of the new workflow system. The work began with a needs-based assessment that informed the design and ensured an appropriate change approach: from the outset, the focus was on business readiness and adoption of a structured change management approach for sustainable business outcomes. In the initial period, our consultants worked shoulder-to shoulder with the project team and stakeholders to collaboratively build and test a fit-for-purpose change methodology to align to Agile principles, framework and tools, including a suite of easily adaptable and adoptable processes. This approach enabled the team to learn as they went.

Results

Blue Seed Consulting provided expertise and guidance on effective change management, as well as a tangible framework, tools and processes to handle the change, in partnership with the client. Our consultants hit the ground running in both assessing the change environment across the company and developing the program’s change definition. The client was delighted with the quality of engagement at all levels and the value of the outcomes. This was demonstrated by the fact that the new change approach and methodology was recommended by the business to be adopted company-wide and beyond the initial workflow management system program; our client was so impressed with the work completed in the first phase that we were asked to stay longer to continue our change value creation. Months later, after lifting and stabilising the client’s capability and confidence, we left this client in much better shape than we found it, which is part of our change management philosophy.

Big bank’s tech division invests in change management at executive level

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Big bank’s tech division invests in change management at executive levelcasestudy-image

Brief

Our big-four banking client’s financial technology division is at the forefront of innovation: it’s an industry leader in creating new capabilities and methods in cyber security, artificial intelligence, cloud storage and banking. Technological developments and regulatory changes demand that the division is exceptionally good at thriving in and ensuring long-lasting change… but the change delivery for its tech solutions was inconsistent and inefficient. Despite investing over $9.5m in specialist change resources each year as well as almost $1bn in overall technology spend, with 3,500 full-time employees and more than 6,000 contractors and consultants, its change delivery lacked the quality to drive support for the capabilities in which the bank invested. Blue Seed was asked to complete a change maturity diagnostic, using our Seven CQ Elements Change Maturity Model, and to provide recommendations to radically boost the overall organisational change maturity and offer improved consistency, quality and overall return-on-investment of their huge portfolio of change programs.

Solution

We identified two main areas where the bank was falling short. Firstly, the technology business lacked a well-defined change management operating model that would deliver high-quality, predictable and efficient change processes and outcomes on every program. There was a strong consensus that improvement was needed – many executives admitted “change management is important but we do it poorly” – and we also noticed that change management was not well understood. The change function had become limited to ‘training and comms’, lacking the strategic elements that drive true awareness, understanding and support, such as designing effective narratives, conducting leadership alignment activities, and budgeting adequate time and resources for change managers to drive, track and measure user adoption and support. This transactional approach was largely due to there not being an executive accountable for change management and no defined operating model for change management that could mandate the strategic approaches to be taken. To solve this issue, Blue Seed recommended centralising the change management function and appointing a single executive tasked with:

  1. Accountability for end-to-end talent management of all change managers, especially focused on attracting, rewarding and retaining the best change talent in the market
  2. Accountability for driving consistent quality and efficiency across programs (by removing siloes, allowing knowledge-sharing and community support)
  3. Being a ‘change evangelist’ and driving divisional leaders and middle managers to play their part in leading change
  4. Driving Blue Seed’s recommendations in a two-year Change Management Improvement Strategy

Secondly, the firm had a problem with under-performing change capabilities, meaning its change management policies, methods and culture did not support best practice. The diagram below summarises the change capability issues rated against Blue Seed’s Seven CQ Elements Change Maturity Model: detailed recommendations were provided to address the issues rated medium (amber) and high (red):

Results

This major bank’s operating model for delivering change faced an overhaul after Blue Seed’s recommendations were endorsed by the group technology leadership team. This included centralising the change management function and appointing a senior executive with full accountability for managing change; implementing a change adoption and support measurement approach; and enhancing program governance practices, leadership and culture that placed higher emphasis on users and employee experience of technology changes. Other recommendations were to enhance talent management practices for change managers, including remuneration, to attract and retain the highest performing talent in the market, and to develop executive and middle-manager change leadership capabilities. The new centralised model will drive consistent quality and efficiency in the next two years but it has been agreed with the client that, as with any operating model, it will be reassessed annually to measure its effectiveness, overall improvement and fitness for the future. Read our report on the true ROI of change management here.

Extensive engagement helps mortgage broker avoid disruption during platform launch

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Extensive engagement helps mortgage broker avoid disruption during platform launchcasestudy-image

The high touch approach advised by the Blue Seed Consulting team paid dividends. Their consultants delivered the change planning for the platform launch whilst working carefully to bolster and support our internal Change Lead to take on the change implementation once the assignment was over

– Program Director – May 2018

Brief

Our mortgage broker client, the franchisor for a network comprising more than 400 franchise owners across Australia, was replacing their core operating platform with a new digital solution, to be employed with an agile methodology with a number of implementations planned for the coming year. The brief was two-fold:

  • To provide additional senior change management capability for two projects associated with the platform replacement
  • To offer mentoring and coaching to the Change Lead in a capability and knowledge transfer process.

Solution

The first of the two projects for which Blue Seed Consulting offered additional change management capability was a complex client migration, with a high frustration factor for franchisees, which had to be completed well before the launch of the new platform. Our consultants were asked to step in at short notice to turn around this project which was already in high-stakes mode. A delivery plan was put in place very quickly, with an extensive engagement component with the franchise network in order to rebuild trust with franchisees. We worked closely with the client’s Change Lead to deliver on this, while building on the organisation’s own change management capability. The second project was planning for the launch of the broker platform which was some months away. We worked to engage stakeholders on agreeing the change outcomes, measures and metrics, and achieving leadership alignment. From this flowed a change plan for implementation based on communication, learning and support needs. We needed to work closely with the Communications Director, Learning and Development Team and Product Owner to achieve alignment, while supporting the Change Lead’s learning process.

Results

Our consultants delivered the change planning for the platform launch whilst working carefully to bolster the Change Lead to take on the implementation once our assignment was over. Despite posing a significant reputational risk for our client, the project turned out to be an opportunity for the organisation to start a dialogue with its key clients. The anticipated frustration on the complex client migration didn’t materialise and all change outcomes were achieved, with clients migrating with minimal disruption and loss of productivity.

Repeatable change architecture reduces the cost to deliver change

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Repeatable change architecture reduces the cost to deliver changecasestudy-image

It has been extremely easy and effective working with Blue Seed. Our department was disrupting itself during the engagement and I was personally extremely busy settling into my new role. It was comforting knowing that Blue Seed had the task in hand and was effectively going about building our ‘fit for purpose’ Change Framework.  The consultants were proactive in applying their principals to their own work and as a result, we had engaged stakeholders and a really valuable outcome for our business.

Head of Project Management Office, Financial Services Company

Brief

Our client is one of Australia’s largest automotive finance and insurance providers – they manage a portfolio of projects with an annual investment of more than 100 million and were rolling out various strategic initiatives to maintain and grow their position in the market. Part of their ongoing business improvement strategy was to increase the effectiveness of project delivery by incorporating strong change management practices into their project management operating model.

Having successfully implemented a project governance and delivery framework the previous year, they were looking to increase their change maturity by establishing a change framework that would be embraced by both stakeholders in the project community as well as the operational business units. 

With inconsistent practices and varying levels of change experience, this meant ensuring that staff understood the value of the change management and how they would benefit from the activities performed by change managers as part of the project. There was a reasonable level of change management capability ‘in house’ and knowledge was regularly supplemented by external providers introducing new methods and tools, however, these techniques were being applied to projects in an inconsistent and ad-hoc way. 

Solution

Blue Seed Consulting’s approach was to:

  • Assess the needs of the organisation
  • Build a tailored Change Management Framework
  • Deploy it to the project community and stakeholders across the business.

After deeply assessing the needs of the organisation, it was clear that the framework had to be really engaging and deliver tangible value in every one of its components.  If it wasn’t it would be perceived as onerous and circumvented.

We consulted widely with the executive team, project staff, and leaders across the business. From this research, we deduced the best solution was an activity-based framework. This was supported by tools and templates to capture the activity outcomes and manage the information effectively.

This approach ensured the purpose and value of each activity were clearly defined to facilitators and participants in the project team. Furthermore, the approach allowed for the framework to be applied to both the smallest and largest of change initiatives in the business.

Blue Seed established a ‘change community’ to help define the framework, contribute ideas, and sign off on the activities and tools. This helped keep delivery resources engaged and supportive of the new framework, leveraging their experience within the organisation and educating them on the framework at the same time so we ended up with a fit for purpose outcome.

Blue Seed maintained the engagement of the executive team, senior leaders, and other related stakeholders, by delivering a series of education sessions to raise awareness of the ‘change framework’ and illustrate the value it would give them in fulfilling their roles.

Results

Versatile framework sets the standard for efficient business-wide change management initiatives

Blue Seed created a versatile, scalable, change management framework that provided guidance and efficiency with prepopulated templates. It was successfully deployed to support change initiatives across the organisation. Blue Seed left behind a community of ‘change agents’ throughout the business to own and continuously improve the framework, share their experiences and the lessons learned. Furthermore, consistency in change activities and terminology helped improve efficiency and common understanding of the value of great change management across all business stakeholders.

Sustaining strategic commitment and sales momentum through op-model upheaval

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Sustaining strategic commitment and sales momentum through op-model upheavalcasestudy-image

“Thanks so much for your assistance. Your work has been invaluable in setting us up for success through this transition.” –  Business Sponsor, Head of HR

 

Brief

Our client is a relatively newly formed division of a bank and experiencing – financial under-performance, siloed teams and low employee engagement. This necessitated rapid re-alignment to meet external and internal customer needs and expectations. A key enabler of this realignment was a new operating model which would better align business structures and roles to customer needs. This would ultimately maximise revenue-per-employee and minimise cost-to-serve.

Whilst having specific project resources in place to manage the transition to the new operating model, Blue Seed’s expertise and resources were sought to manage broader people impacts of the change and to ensure close alignment of the change process to organisation strategy, leadership, employee engagement needs, change metrics and the overall program roadmap.

Blue Seed had already developed a Best Practice Operating Model Implementation Framework from our extensive experience helping leaders implement similar changes. Under this framework, we advise leaders that planning and execution of the change must take place with the ultimate end-state in mind: to have a highly engaged, high performing workforce, post-change. This means thinking beyond just the transitional period even while executing the difficult people changes.

Solution

Working closely with key leaders we took a structured approach to identify and manage the people impacts of the immediate operating changes.

The key elements of this structure were:

  1. Facilitating an offsite to align senior leaders to a set of change leadership principles which underpinned every conversation they had with teams. This maximised the likelihood of employees having a positive experience of the change, thereby enhancing their subsequent engagement.
  2. Tracking awareness and commitment of key leaders to highlight who needs what support week-by-week.
  3. Defining approaches to launch and communicate the new organisational strategy, to make it understandable and relatable to employees, thereby maximising strategic commitment and team engagement.
  4. Coaching leaders one-on-one, to understand their challenges, concerns, strengths and weaknesses and provide advice or help them find the answers they need to proceed with certainty.
  5. Building the change leadership capability of mid-level managers through a series of learning sessions. This either brought new skills to the business or at least sharpened the saw of experienced hands, ensuring confident conversations with their team members about the impacts and their future.

 

Results

Blue Seed’s work had a significant positive impact for the immediate change as well as setting this business on a successful forward path;

  1. Identifying unrecognised impacts, risks and issues (by consulting widely and sharing at leadership team meetings) meant these could be proactively managed, ensuring cost-saving targets could be realised with no over-runs.
  2. Delivering change leadership training to leaders in preparation for the immediate change meant leaders were better equipped to help themselves and their teams navigate through immediate and future changes more effectively, preventing decreases in staff engagement or productivity and reducing the potential for the loss of high revenue-generating talent.
  3. Compiling an integrated change program roadmap with upcoming impacts ensured visibility of all major changes impacting teams, enabled leaders to refocus resources, thereby minimising disruption to business-as-usual sales activities.
  4. Furthermore, change offsite facilitation, created a shared vision which enabled a more cohesive leadership team with increased recognition of the value of working with peers and helped galvanise a newly formed leadership team, preparing them for further changes in the next year and leaving impacted leaders more ‘change capable’ than when we started.

Rationalising learning management systems for rapid, cost-efficient capability shifts

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Rationalising learning management systems for rapid, cost-efficient capability shiftscasestudy-image

I’m a very happy Program Sponsor… the team have done an amazing job! Thank you for all your hard work in getting us to where we are.

Executive General Manager – Organisation Design & Development, HR

Brief

This Organisation had six different Learning Management Systems (LMS’) in operation which were costly to administer and offered limited or no integration with core systems. Leaders and learners were not deriving sufficient value from the systems with facilitator ratios to FTE and learning costs per FTE both considerably higher than industry standards. Reporting on the learning activity and effectiveness was not readily available. Moving to a single platform would further reinforce a ‘One team’ culture and the HR Simplification strategy.
The implementation of a single LMS would impact every employee and leader across the Group and while the change was not deemed high impact, it had the potential to enable a positive cultural shift and propel the organisation further along the maturity model.

Solution

The Change Strategy included rolling out a single LMS across the group (15,000 staff & 6,000 External).
The Group LMS project aims were to:

  • consolidate the multiple learning systems used
  • simplify learning operations
  • track compliance requirements
  • reduce spending in comparison to best practice
  • provide a foundation to enable business units to align their learning activities to more cost-effective/best-practice models

The approach was context specific, fit-for-purpose and included:

  • positioning the change as a cultural and business transformation NOT a systems implementation
  • running the change and communications stream like a campaign
  • focusing on Leaders as a separate user group
  • exploring opportunities to bring varied forms of learning to life
  • project team role modelling 70:20:10
  • having ‘Simplification’ principals guide process re-engineering activities
  • developing formal alignment between Group LMS project and HR Simplification
  • aligning LMS rollout with other business unit project implementations

Results

  • Executed the change in line with the strategy. Mobilised and lead the change team for the duration of the project and provided in flight coaching to build capability in internal resources.
  • Consolidated multiple learning systems used throughout the Group, simplified learning operations, tracked compliance requirements, reduced spending in comparison to best practice, and provided a foundation to let business units align their learning activities to more cost-effective/best-practice models.
  • Laid strong foundations for a 70:20:10 learning culture and created leadership alignment
  • Designed and anchored the change stream activities, deliverables and governance in agile principles in line with the client delivery approach

A practical, achievable change roadmap for consistent HR processes across BUs

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A practical, achievable change roadmap for consistent HR processes across BUscasestudy-image

Brief

Following a period of considerable acquisition activity the change environment was one of many brands co-existing with little or no integration particularly with respect to people frameworks (e.g. HR policies, REM, Super, Benefits, Performance Management). The current performance management landscape consisted of numerous approaches and technologies that were primarily linked to heritage employing entity, brand, and/ or agreement. There were major inconsistencies in their approach, application, supporting technology and language, driving different behaviours with varying levels of performance, and subsequent rewards.

These variations created considerable complexity for leaders managing mixed-entity teams, reinforcing existing cultural silos, and impacting the comparability and recognition of team and individual performance across the Group. The heritage approaches were also misaligned to the one agreement and single remuneration strategy that was in the process of being introduced.

Solution

The One Team Program (OTP) was created to harmonise these disparities and deliver consistent HR practices and frameworks across the Group. Blue Seed was engaged to lead the change stream for the Performance Management Project which involved the implementation of a single enterprise wise performance management system and framework that addressed both what and how of performance dimensions. Blue Seed lead an initial diagnostic phase, culminating in the delivery of a change strategy, to assess impact, identify stakeholders and their needs and design a fit for purpose roadmap for change. Throughout the diagnostic phase, key learnings emerged to guide the approach to HR engagement, training design and post implementation support considerations for key stakeholder groups. The complexity of the change included the process, behaviour and cultural shifts required to make the new way of measuring performance sustainable. The following recommendations were made as part of the change strategy:

  • Develop a HR roadmap to be used to provide visibility and enable packaging of like changes to ensure change was delivered in the most streamlined and cost effective manner.
  • Integrate the change management design and delivery with the REM and Performance management streams.
  • Facilitate a working group that encompasses REM/Culture and PM to ensure a holistic view is achieved.
  • Facilitate the tracking of readiness at business unit level to enable targeted remediation.
  • Deliver change in tranches in line with the annual cycle of events.
  • Core changes to be developed and designed within the project but that business unit specific impacts and change plans to be owned by the HR Advisory communities in the field.

Results

Blue Seed was asked to remain on the project to operationalize the strategy and lead the change stream through implementation and execution. As well as achieving successful delivery of the new technology and processes Blue Seed also contributed to the wider OTP program to align other streams, drive collaborative planning and design a truly integrated implementation plan that delivered a seamless experience for leaders and end users across the spectrum of HR frameworks:

  • On time implementation in line with deployment schedule.
  • Developed a single view of change for HR initiatives.
  • Leaders were able to perform a translation between legacy and new PM ratings and correlate that to a REM outcome.
  • Developed formal alignment with the Culture team.
  • Delivered only relevant change at relevant times.
  • Built change interventions that were end user designed and business specific.

Aligning leaders and org culture to op-model design, key to lasting M&A benefits

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Aligning leaders and org culture to op-model design, key to lasting M&A benefitscasestudy-image

Brief

Following the acquisition of a rival company, our client engaged Blue Seed to work on a Transformation Program whose main objective was to bring the two companies together, aligning systems, process and people. To intensify and scale one of their current product offerings. The organisation had a suite of wealth management cradle to grave products, supported by complex process and systems with significant compliance parameters.

The integration impacts were both internal and external to the organisation. The change was very complex in nature, as it had competing objectives in respect to client account transition, regulatory communication requirements and customer experience. Timeframes were set by FSL (financial services licence) requirements.

Blue Seed worked with the client at both a strategic and tactical level to help design the new operating model, organisational structure and client transition strategy (including marketing) and the mobilisation plan that would help the organisation achieve the change.
There were three streams on the program, each integrating a different part of the business.

Solution

A key challenge of the initiative was to bring two distinct and quite different leaderships teams together to form one company and design the future of the business.
Our Blue Seed consultants worked very closely with the leadership to help them design and define the future operating model and organisational structure. They also worked closely with business subject matter experts to define the change and in this way they were able to design a fit for purpose change strategy to help deliver the future model seamlessly into the business.
The change strategy included a robust stakeholder engagement piece, a strong internal and external communications campaign and a comprehensive training and support model to deliver the required skills across the business.

Results

All three streams of the Program were delivered successfully from a change perspective, with employees feeling engaged and well supported through the transition.
Solid training and a strong support model were key in equipping and supporting the teams as they moved to their new operating model.