Increasing Engagement in a Multi-Year Global Transformation

Lean Thinking Diagram

The Situation

A global specialist manufacturing business had seen rapid growth, with new opportunities and new markets emerging over the past few years.

The company employed 2,500 people across 40 countries and the recent rapid growth meant that that the structures, processes and systems in the business were no longer able to cope with the larger, more complex business. Cracks were starting to show.

To address this and ensure the continued growth of the company, the executive team developed a 5-year strategy, with 5 key initiatives, all closely linked and aimed at transforming the business.

They knew that getting all employees to play their part was going to be critical to the success of the strategy.

The strategy had been launched company-wide, with communications supported by local teams, and in local languages. The general mood seemed to be positive, but it was impossible to really know how people were feeling about the change at any given moment.

Given the wide range of cultures, roles, and people involved, as well as the scale and complexity of the transformation, they were worried that there were likely to be concerns and misunderstandings they weren't aware of, and this might lead to negative feelings and low engagement.

Our Input

So they decided that they needed a way to measure how engaged people were, to identify and address key concerns, and be able to track this at key moments over the course of the transformation programme.

Led by the global HR team, they launched the Change Journey Navigator initially with a group of 400 leaders from across the business. The results were consolidated, with segments for 3 high-level functions and key geographies, meaning that areas where people were particularly concerned were clearly visible, whilst protecting the anonymity of individuals.


When the transformation team were guided through the results they drew lots of useful (sometimes surprising) insights.

One senior team member, Paul, saw a very low score for communication and realised he had been pushing out communications based on what he thought needed to be said about the programme, without fully understanding what people really wanted to know. This realisation was the trigger he needed to completely change the communications approach, making it far more interactive and addressing more closely the questions and concerns of those affected by the changes.

Another revelation came when the results for a particular country showed an unexpectedly low level of engagement for the Sales team - something which had previously been invisible, relating to reward and recognition. In short they believed they would be worse off as a result of the change, which was causing them to dis-engage. With this information they were able to engage in discussions directly and managed to identify and resolve the specific concerns with the team involved, mostly correcting a simple mis-understanding. This in turn helped the sales team to become more comfortable with the changes and therefore more engaged.

The leadership team took the time to review all the results together in detail and drew out other key priority areas needing attention. Then, working with their local teams, they brought people together to talk through the findings, understand the underlying concerns, and agree specific actions to address them.

With the actions in progress they could see a significant improvement in the way people were talking about the transformation. Importantly, they are now able to regularly measure the level of engagement and use the Change Journey Navigator insights to guide their attention and focus to maintain high levels of engagement throughout the change journey.

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