Cultural Change, Employee Retention and Alignment Project
We empowered a fast-growing organization with a range of strategic advisory and alignment activities, which transformed the organization’s culture and ability to retain talent.
The CEO and Founder of a fast-growing European headquartered cosmetics company was on the verge of leading the organization through an extremely promising and exciting scale-up opportunity. However, the company was concurrently beset by a number of cultural, communication and leadership challenges that were holding the firm back. The CEO realized that she may be part of the problem, and could ill-afford to lose key staff, right at a time when the company was undertaking growth plans.
More than half of the senior staff were threatening to resign and the cultural climate was toxic to all staff. Whilst the company’s product line was well-received in the market and gaining in popularity, internally, the company was dogged by significant behavioral challenges, including:
• Low trust in leaders and peers
• Poor collaboration patterns
• Silence, apathy and complacency
• Lack of desire for upward mobility and development
In order to rapidly address a deteriorating situation, the CEO quickly hired a Human Resources Manager, and approached NGS Global to support them in a range of critical strategic advisory and organizational capability services.
Strategy and Approach
After an initial round of discovery sessions with the CEO, NGS Global held a range of individual confidential meetings with each of the company’s senior employees. These foundational sessions, conducted in a trusted and safe environment, provided us with an extensive range of qualitative feedback, where each participant could explore pain points, the main elements of discontent, and opportunities for growth and learning.
Following this, a survey was conducted to the entire staff, in order to:
• Map where opinions differed and were homogenized
• Understand the company’s current and future capacity to retain employees
• Identify areas for improvement (both structurally and strategically)
• Prioritize policies that would have the largest positive impact.
The following quantitative survey results were obtained (each metric is rated out of a maximum of 5):
With ‘Opportunities’, ‘Communications/Decision Making’ and ‘Rewards and Recognition’ ranking so low, it is perhaps not surprising that the survey also revealed that without the implementation of new policies immediately, 47% of the employee base did not see themselves in the company for more than 12 months.
Within this context, NGS Global recommended implementing policies that were easy and quick to implement, but were staff-centered in their approach. Some immediate policies included:
• A kinder and more flexible work-from-home policy
• A KPI performance structure and formal feedback methodology, which was tied to a fair and competitive variable compensation plan
• Flexible work hours for all staff, where they did not have to adhere to a traditional 9-to-5 model.
NGS Global supported the client in drafting the new batch of improvement policies. Throughout this process, the CEO realized that the HR Manager was not able to deliver on all of the objectives for their position. In particular, the company’s HR leader was struggling with:
• Determining KPIs
• Implementing and communicating new policies
• Reducing the burden on the CEO
• Acting as a liaison between employees and the CEO
• Becoming a respected authority within the senior team.
This position had been hired hastily and without the upmost careful consideration of the talent available, and this decision was now taking its toll. NGS Global worked with the CEO to search for a new, more experienced and ably equipped HR leader.
Importantly, the survey’s single worst performing metric was around departmental communication and coordination, rating as just 1.71 out of 5. We also therefore recommended an assessment and development plan for each of the main department heads in the company.
With the appointment of a new HR Director and the effective implementation of the policies that addressed pain points and cultural/organizational weaknesses identified in the survey, 76% of the employees saw themselves staying in the company for longer than 12 months: an increase in staff loyalty of 23% in less than a year.
Six months later, once faced with a risk of losing almost half of their employees, only two out of 28 left (one of which was identified as toxic for the organizational climate), and the projection of people leaving the company in the following 12 months was further reduced by 23%.
Contact Fernando Zavala (Project Lead)
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