Managing Change Successfully
One of the sessions at this year’s #cipd11 annual conference was led by GSK, looking at the approach they took to transforming their organisation.
As many people know, the pharmaceutical industry (like many others) has over the last few years had to radically change some of their working practices and approaches. GSK was no exception.
Like many industries the culture and business climate that GSK is/ was operating within was changing. Customers and purchasers were changing their expectations.
For change to be effective, the team knew that it was not the launch of any change that was critical, but how to embed and ensure the initiatives around change actually “landed” fully in the business units.
Three Key Levers
To help drive the change, GSK identified three key levers:
- Talent agenda
- Change framework
- Leadership framework
All of these were to be supported through the development of resilience in the business, developing HR capability and identifying appropriate measures. Not just end point, but transitional ones.
Change at multiple levels
For the change to happen, the leadership recognised that not only was the environment in which they were operating having to change (i.e. new markets, changing existing ones), but the way the organisation responded and adapted was vital. The metaphor they used was they described themselves as an “oil tanker” operating in a stormy sea, what they needs to do was transform from an oil tanker to an agile yacht, and be able to cope with both a rough and stormy environment as well as calm seas.
Agility is key
To achieve the organisational goals it was recognised that the monolithic approach was no longer sustainable. The organization at all levels needs to become more agile. To help achieve this, a program with the aim of “building change capability” was developed. This was a fusion of Organizational Development OD, LEAN and Project management. The goal was to streamline the “lab to Industrial scale process.
Renewing the senior talent pool
Part of this process involved looking at the top 200. The managed to create near to 100% movement in the top 200 population. This was achieved through a blend of internal transitions and external appointments. Retention was an important driver. Development of this and other key groups was fundamental and the GSK leadership development framework, was one of the development tools to support the transition
GSK Leadership Development Framework
This framework comprised: Managing self, Leading others, Leading managers, leading leaders to lead the enterprise.
This development program was said to be
- 70% on-the-job development through:
- “challenging self”
- 360 feedback
- expanded job responsibilities
- projects and
- job rotations/ assignments
- 20% developmental relationships:
- Associations, networks and advisory positions
- 10% Formal development
- Self directed learning
- Course and programmes
Using the “keep it short & simple” approach measures initially in the transition were quantitative rather than qualitative. For example “Do you hole quarterly talent reviews?” and “Do you have ‘ready now’ successors?”. These and other simple dashboard indicators were used to measure “embedding” the process rather than more complex and time consuming measures.
As part of the change, HR teams also needed to be developed to accommodate many of the changes. Much of this was driven through a survey of 300+ senior leaders which provided a focus on three themes:
- Improve HR effectiveness in building capacity, talent mgt, change mgt, leadership development and strategic recruitment
- Evolve the operating model to simplify and improve the service
- Upgrade and enhance HR capabilities
Summary of learning from the process
HR and senior leaders all gained a lot from the changes to these processes, some of the key learning points the organization is looking to embed further include:
- The importance of moving away from projects to sustainable change
- Execution is the new strategic and embedded is the new ‘sexy’
- Everything is an OD intervention – it’s important to leverage the whole not the part
- Create agitators – enterprise leaders, and leaders developing leaders
- HR needs to be a courageous leader
This is one in a series of articles outlining some of the talks at this years #cipd annual conferenec for HR professionals in the UK and internationally.