Posted: 09 Mar. 2020 4 min. read

The many faces of change

What transformation leaders now understand about preparing for large-scale change


‘Impact assessment’

 ‘Change readiness’

 ‘Tactical communications’

These are three examples of core characteristics to any successful change management plan, and terms transformation leaders have likely heard before. 

However, with large-scale change programs becoming more and more complex, requiring a mix of specialist capabilities such as experience design, branding and communications, organisational design, and data analytics, the profile of a change team is transforming. 

Relying on these core characteristics will no longer guarantee success in this multi-faceted change landscape. This can make it more difficult for transformation leaders to identify the ideal change management resource mix.

This is why transformation leaders are rethinking the configuration of a change team.

To successfully lead large-scale transformation, leaders are thinking twice about identifying the required specialist capabilities and then seeking out change managers who possess these skills.  Depending on the scale of the transformation, leaders also curate a multi skilled team that can flex to the needs of the business and support all stages of the change journey. 

So, what does the new change team look like? A recent Deloitte case study of a large-scale transformation demonstrates the value of five different change management profiles – from domain expert to data expert to experience designer.

A case study that brings the new change team to life

Deloitte experienced the power of a multi-skilled change team in a recent large-scale transformation engagement. We were tasked with supporting a financial services organisation through the sale of their wealth management business. This divestiture drove change on many levels:

  • to the customer, advisers, employers
  • to complex finance, technology and operational processes
  • to internal staff members transitioning or remaining in the organisation
  • to the operating model and ways of working
  • to governance structures, forums and committees

This transformation required tailored change management profiles (a mix of client practitioners and Deloitte consultants) that could accommodate the diverse requirements across the program. This experience led us to identify five profiles critical to the success of a change team – the domain expert, the workforce transition expert, the experience design expert, the data expert and the portfolio change leader.

The Domain expert

The need to change, separate, or create new business processes is an inevitable outcome of a business divestiture. A change manager with the relevant business or domain expertise was able to quickly engage with business analysts, to gather requirements, interpret that information and convey the impacts to the employee. The domain expert played both the role of SME and employee advocate, commanding confidence from business stakeholders due to their empathy and deep knowledge. 

In this case-study, the change manager with Finance domain expertise worked closely with the business to understand the people impacts resulting from a new finance operating model, including changes to processes and ways of working at Completion (sale) and the ensuing period working under a Transition Services Agreement (TSA). The domain expert understood the detail and complexity of the Finance business applying the people lens to the communications and training plans. 

The Workforce Transition expert

The workforce transition expert partnered with the business to deliver the people processes required to facilitate the business transformation.  This included conducting strategic workforce planning with the HR Business partners and business stakeholders to implement workforce transition projects that deliver change.

Using organisational design methodology and principles, this team member profile was in place to assist the business to structure the workforce so that there was sustainable capability and capacity to deliver organisational objectives in the lead up to the sale and post completion.  The areas this expert focused on included assessing employment contracts, policies, benefits and entitlements, and developing retention strategies to support business continuity throughout the divestment.  

The Experience Design expert

Due to the scale of the program, with more than ten workstreams (from records segregation and migration, to data privacy and customer communications) all generating their own communications and messaging, this role focused on the careful curation of a cohesive narrative to staff who are preparing for a new way of working. To begin, face to face workshops were held with representation from across the impacted business teams, to gather information about expectations, questions and pain points. This did not equate to what project teams thought employees wanted or needed, rather the design expert treated this as fact-based employee research.  A consolidated employee journey map supporting employees through the change process was then created, aligned to identified persona groupings.

The Data expert 

Cloud-based change management platforms are a popular choice for businesses that undergo a complex business transformation. They provide change management professionals with the ability to manage change data, enabling them to make decisions, take action, and measure progress. They also provide program leadership with the oversight on change happening across the business and places accountability on change mitigation owners. 

Deloitte’s ChangeScout platform was used in this case study to log and track all impacts (defining the change scope), manage change interventions against each impact and generate real time dashboards to help track people readiness. The role the data expert played was to generate uptake of the tool (removing the need for disparate spreadsheets), collate people readiness measures for the program, and coach change practitioners and business leaders to use data insights to manage risk and drive more targeted change interventions.

The Portfolio Change leader

This role was the glue that brought the necessary governance across the change landscape together. Strong project management skills were essential to build the strategic focus including governance and planning, risk management and standardisation of change activities across such a large-scale program. With multiple workstreams and transactions occurring in parallel impacting both internal and external parties, having a portfolio view ensured there was integration and collaboration across workstreams, and change plans were aligned to one overarching plan.

Putting this into practice – lessons learned 

We learned that as a transformation leader, when configuring a change team, it’s important to identify upfront:

  1. the areas of expertise required - how specialised the role is, or whether a mixed skill set is needed.
  2. how the team will be set up - will change roles be embedded in the business (e.g the domain expert) or part of a centralised pool (e.g leveraging design expertise for part of a project)?
  3. how the change program will be governed - who will be responsible for aligning the various elements into one roadmap across the business.
  4. how to create change confident leaders - what coaching or training may be required to address leadership capability gaps. 

For more information about Deloitte’s Organisational Transformation practice or this case study contact Claire Jenks or Pip Dexter.