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A new way of working for a major multinational drinks manufacturer. How do you transform to a new way of working? By shaping the programme through a combination of communication, leadership and programme management, Involve succeeded in implementing the intended transformation successfully:

“UNIVERSE brought us more than we had expected beforehand. We achieved our objectives and more”.

Global IT function embarks on a transition in its way of working

The support services for one of the large multinational drink manufacturers is situated in the very heart of Amsterdam: Global Information Services (GIS). With over 400 employees in the head office and a further 800 or so elsewhere in the world, it is an important division within the organisation.

With a rapidly changing digital world, the plan was formulated to create a new working environment that would help people to work together more effectively and efficiently. The GIS division appeared to be ideal for a pilot study, due to its excellent connections with the organisation and the strategic plan. GIS therefore developed and launched its new concept of work: UNIVERSE.

A new concept of work: a major physical and behavioural change

A cross-section assembled from staff and management developed a new concept. A concept that would enhance collaboration, breathe innovation, promote social interaction and align more closely with future potential developments. One of the key elements was a new way of working and a different mindset: employees themselves made deliberate choices as to when and with whom they would work. No longer spending every day in the office to work at their own workstations, but deciding where the best place was to work – at home or in the office – based on work and contacts.

And if the office was the place to work, the employees would no longer have fixed locations where they could work. They would go to the Buzz Zone for interaction and discussions,. while the Variety Zone offered facilities to make calls from behind a desk and the Focus Zone allowed for silent, concentrated work. And it was not just the staff who faced change; the management team also gave up their offices. UNIVERSE demanded a major mind shift on the part of employees and managers alike.

The role of Involve: from Change & Communication support the programme management

Involve was asked to support the programme team in conceiving and implementing change communication. After a few months, there was a further request to take on the role of programme manager. We developed an overall change approach featuring a collective narrative that encouraged and informed staff members about the proposed change, along with support for changing management styles and a communication structure that supported the change process. From start to finish of the programme, we provided stakeholder management within the organisation and helped senior management to address their role in the change. The approach was supplemented during the change process with interim change assessments, behavioural interventions and “nudging” input for the way the workplace was designed. The result was a change in behaviour that sank in:

“By making concrete interventions in behavioural change, whether that was in communication campaigns or the design of the workplace itself, we communicated the new behaviour on all fronts.”

The collaboration between Involve and GIS – where careful attention was paid to process and change communication support from management and programme management – led to the necessary change in behaviour that was a feature of UNIVERSE, as well as to a successful implementation of the new working environment. The change objectives that had been contemplated were achieved, and more. UNIVERSE turned into a stepping stone towards new changes such as Agile working. It has also turned out to be an inspirational example for other divisions within the organisation: other new and similar change processes are being initiated, with the UNIVERSE approach at the back of people’s minds. And we are really proud of this!

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