Advancing the Organizational Transformation Journey

People and Change

People & Change Case Study

A leading retail distribution organization was looking to become an innovative leader in the consumer products industry and had developed a three-year strategy to prepare them for an initial public offering with a focus on the development of a digitization and analytics ecosystem. The client engaged North Highland to streamline business with manufacturers, expand offerings and distribution, increase alignment and collaboration across the organization, and achieve the operational strategy.

Client Situation

Our client, a leading automotive consumer products distribution and retail company, embarked on an organizational transformation journey with the goal of enabling and evolving its three-year operational strategy. The enterprise strategy required changes to operational objectives, priorities, and focus areas across the organization, including Human Resources, Strategy, Finance, and IT functions. During the course of the project, the client launched two rounds of enterprise cost cutting initiatives that resulted in headcount reduction and saving goals to be incorporated into the objectives.

The existing workforce lacked visibility to function-specific goals as well as role clarity and career advancement opportunities. The organization sought a transformation partner to establish an approach and support the realization of organizational targets through alignment of the operating model to organizational skills and capabilities.

Our Approach

The North Highland team tailored our Professionalizing Framework to align with our client’s organizational focuses and objectives. The professionalizing solution took the client through a series of step changes in structure, work processes, and skill development that enabled it to drive business value. We used industry best practices as well as a suite of accelerators to align and engage talent in the broader business strategy. Lastly, we supported the successful transition of people into the right jobs, helping to fill gaps in the organization. We partnered with the client to create the following customized approach:

  • Operating Model: Co-created an optimal operating model with functional leaders to define value creation and simplify strategy execution, and ensured the operating model effectively bridged the gap between function-level strategies and execution plans.
  • Organization Structure: Re-aligned teams and roles by creating an organizational structure, leveraged Workload Capacity Analysis to collect information on current state, defined future state scenarios, and aligned model results with organizational structure to understand the most relevant option.
  • Competency Model: Designed competencies that provided the framework to measure performance excellence and fostered dialogue with leaders and employees on how they can grow and develop in the organization.
  • Job Design: Delineated clear responsibilities for roles within the organization and aligned them with industry expectations, and defined career paths for each role in the organization through design sessions that review, refine, and validate career paths.
  • People Enablement: Assessed the workforce to generate a baseline understanding of skills and competencies, calibrated to ensure the right people are supporting the appropriate level and amount of work, built and sustained employee capability and motivation to deliver on the behaviors necessary to realize desired organizational and operating model outcomes.
  • People Transition and Change Management: Facilitated a transition to the new organizational structure and roles using planning, communications, and engagement tools and techniques. Developed a transition plan bridging the impacted organization and Human Resources, ensuring a common understanding on the rationale, benefits, and impacts of the change while minimizing business disruption and maximizing return on investment.

Value Delivered

North Highland worked to develop a pathway to achieve over $4M in labor savings without jeopardizing business continuity. Clear, strategic goals and functional responsibilities were developed to facilitate more collaborative and integrated relationships across and within functions.

As a result, organizational structures were created that foster a collaborative and focused organization with cross-functional product teams aimed at achieving specific, cohesive goals. Additionally, functional responsibilities were delineated to drive clarity, consistency, and quality of work efforts. The effort established competitive advantage through planned versus reactive talent management and created a clear view of talent demand and supply issues by function while controlling unplanned talent costs.

Our team also developed well-defined job descriptions career paths to drive an opportunity for additional clarity and dedication to discrete work efforts. A skills-based framework was established along with career paths creating clarity for employees on their career development and progression. Lastly, the effort provided managers with easy-to-use tools to determine the impact of their talent decisions and prioritize future workforce investments.

North Highland worked to develop a pathway to achieve over $4M in labor savings without jeopardizing business continuity.


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