Our client, a major Telco Operator, experienced two simultaneous challenges within its Network Engineering & Operation Business Unit:
- The acceleration of the deployment of the Optical Fiber infrastructure
- The absorption of the capacity and expertise gap created by successive waves of employee retirements.
The consequence was a significant workload increase of the remaining workforce, resulting in stress and difficulties to deliver the required infrastructure on time.
For taking on the challenges mentioned above, a high-performance culture needed to be implemented within the teams, giving employees more empowerment and promoting cooperation within each team. In this new culture, the team leader evolves from a top down manager to a participative coach.
This culture change was a key prerequisite to launch Lean efficiency improvement activities such as Continuous Improvement, Polyvalence development, Performance Dialogues,...
The project's ambitious objective was two-fold:
- Increasing productivity by 15% within a year, while at the same time
- Strenghtening employee motivation and satisfaction.
The scope of the transformation was important and included around 1000 employees that worked in 9 different locations.
The project was rolled out in 3 phases:
- In the proof of concept phase the transformation approach was designed and tested within the first 5 teams (70 employees). This allowed us to test the defined approach and the achieved results, and to gather testimonials and other illustrations which could be used for change activities in later phases of the project.
- Following the successful pilots, a subset of the organisation (around 600 employees) was selected based on the urgency of their situation. The implementation of the transformation approach was executed with a mixed team of BDO Ideas at Work consultants and several internal coaches who learned the approach by doing.
- While significant buy-in was already achieved during the transformation journey, sustaining the change was and will remain a key challenge. The internal coaches took the relay at the end of each roll-out to further support the local management in the new ways of working.
Our transformation approach consisted of two tracks, taking into account the envisaged cultural change:
- Process track
Installing a culture of Continuous Improvement, while involving employees in the identification and prioritisation and solution of issues to tackle.
- Operational management track
Improving team effectiveness and placing the employee at the centre using Lean improvement methods that were developed in cooperation.
Within both tracks, special attention was paid to the shift towards a bottom-up culture. The new roles and expectations towards employees and line management were defined and installed through different trainings, workshops, communications and individual coaching of the team leaders.
The new way of working directly impacted the organisation's challenges. Depending on the location, the productivity improvement (15 to 25%) allowed for the team to cope with the ongoing wave of (early) retirees while improving employee motivation and satisfaction.
The combination of involving employees throughout every step of the project and providing individual coaching and training for line management and internal lean coaches created a strong basis for achieving and maintaining a real cultural change.