Why you need a good comms plan

Paula Reczek

Why you need a good comms plan

Paula Reczek, Transformation Director, Capgemini’s Business Services

An incumbent team finds reassurance during a transformation

One of the most common obstacles our teams must overcome during a transformation are the personal fears of the individuals in our clients’ workforces. While many of them recognize the need for change and greater competitiveness for the business to thrive, there are also a number of people in every organization who fear what the transformation will mean for them. As the previous example makes clear, the more closely our Business Services’ teams and our clients’ workforces are aligned, the more strategically they can work together, and the more value they can deliver to the business.

This next story demonstrates the importance of managing the expectations—and the fears—of all the people involved in a transformation. By using effective and consistent communication through the organization, the team secured a smooth transition, and allayed the worries of workers throughout the organization.

A global provider of enterprise software and ERP applications had the unique challenge of internally deploying a new ERP product throughout their organization, while transitioning their financial and HR processes to Capgemini. This ambitious transformation was divided into four different waves, based on this client’s extensive global footprint. The first wave comprised five European countries, and began with a thorough impact assessment conducted by the Capgemini team.

It was during the next phase, which involved Capgemini’s Katowice and Krakow-based teams shadowing the incumbent team that the transition management realized that the real challenge was the uncertainty and trepidation amongst the organization’s people.

By deploying comprehensive, organization-wide communications about the impending transformation, and engaging in one-on-one consultations where necessary, the team kept the workforce engaged and collaborative. The result has been more shared knowledge between the teams, and a more streamlined transformation.

This client, and partner, is a renowned supplier of enterprise applications for people-centric industries such as governmental organizations, NGOs and educational facilities. They provide well thought-through, fit-for-purpose ERP solutions that cover professional services, HR and finance functions, and they have several best in class applications for travel and expenses, cash consolidation and access management.

But despite their industry-leading ERP offerings, the client’s different regional offices were fragmented in terms of the way they worked and the tools they chose to use. Although they were all working on the client’s own software platforms, they were using several different versions, instead of the new flagship product. Their processes were also not standardized. It was clear that this lack of consistency and harmony across the larger business would prove a hindrance as they continued to grow.

“We had considered setting up a captive shared service center in Europe for our operations in Portugal, Spain and Eastern Europe,” reveals the CFO, “but due to the size of the service center, and the competitive nature of the labor market in those areas, we decided it would be suboptimal. The ideal end state of the transformation was the complete standardization of processes and ERP tools in finance and HR with regards to all the client’s territories. It also entailed harmonizing these divisions with the entire business, particularly with regards to sales and marketing, and contract management. The transition managers were aiming to achieve total, digital integration across business functions and borders.

“We knew that this transformation would impact every part of the business,” says Paula Reczek, Transformation Director, Capgemini’s Business Services. “The challenge was the ‘people change’ element. There were individuals who were not going to be going forward with the next phase of the transformation, but we needed them to remain engaged and willing to share information with our team.”

This was achieved by putting together a comprehensive “count down” communication plan that created trust and transparency across the entire business. The communications were rolled out in numerous languages, across a wide array of digital and traditional channels. The client’s employees were informed about the upcoming change and deployment strategy in advance. This provided a clear roadmap about what they could do both internally within their organization and externally, and many found opportunities outside of the organization that gave them a new challenge. The client’s governance team demonstrated flexibility in planning their assignment termination to give everyone the time they needed to assure safe future for their people.

Face-to-face training in the UK and in Poland then saw both teams travelling to one another’s offices to share information and understanding. The few outliers who were particularly resistant to the process were consulted in confidential; individual sessions where they could share their concerns candidly. In one such session, it was revealed that the employee’s reticence to travel to Poland was, in fact, based on a crippling fear of flying. “But you need to have these conversations in person to find out,” says the CFO.

The professionalism and outstanding cooperation of both teams has resulted in a successful, phased transformation and a standardized adoption of the client’s flagship platform.

“We needed the commitment and the engagement of the current HR and finance teams. Without their assistance, we wouldn’t have met the go-live deadlines we’d set. We also needed them to ensure business continuity during the more complex parts of the transition,” says Paula.

Why you need a good comms planThe results:

  • A successful, on-schedule, fourphase transformation across multiple geographies
  • The complete, standardized deployment of the client’s flagship ERP platform across all operations
  • Full business continuity during a complex transformation