Frazer Jones Chronicle 2015
The Talent & Culture Series
GLOBAL HR SEARCH & RECRUITMENT
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Introduction & Thanks
2015 has so far been an incredible year! In 2014 we highlighted the increase in organisations globally driving new talent initiatives, attraction and retention being a top priority.
Its exciting to see that this has continued in 2015, talent, engagement, development, technology and globalisation are key topics for the HR community. Technology and data have had a huge impact on how people work and how we measure output and performance.
Culturally organisations are changing quicker now than at any other time in history and this new world requires innovation in the people agenda. This is HRs greatest challenge and its golden opportunity. 2015 and 2016 is about bold leadership, developing great leaders and putting talent and culture at the top of the agenda!
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From the Editor
Our clients have highlighted over the last 6 months their renewed focus on Talent challenges as organisations return to growth and invest more in this critical area of HR. As businesses look to maximise the effectiveness of their workforce HR is increasingly expected to help shape and develop organisational culture to achieve business objectives. More so now than ever business leaders are awakening to the importance of focusing on people and not just numbers and the role HR experts can play in nurturing this invaluable asset. This edition of the Frazer Jones Chronicle is focused on Talent and Culture, with articles from HR professionals and thought leaders from around the world. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the contributors and I hope you take away a small lesson, renewed vigour for current challenges or changed view on the obstacles ahead of you.
Enjoy this edition!
Brad LawChronicle EditorHead of European Search Frazer Jones T: +44 (0)20 7415 2815E: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Kim Schmidt, Director People and Culture & Ian Herman, National Managing Partner, Grant Thornton Australia
Cultural transformation drives competitive edge for Grant Thornton AustraliaPage 4
Daniel Gallo, Group HR Director, Manchester Airport Group
Talent considerations in M&A scenariosPage 8
Ashley Harshak, Partner, Telos Partners
Culture as a competitive differentiatorPage 11
Gary Sagar, Head of Talent Management, Amgen
Structuring talent development and measuring ROIPage 16
Niko Veenstra, CHRO, Eneco Energy
Agility as a measure for succession management and job rotation Page 18
Michael Schulz, SVP HR, Petrofac
Maintaining an entrepreneurial spirit through rapid growthPage 21
Felicitas von Kyaw, Business Area Customers & Solutions, Vattenfall
Developing an agile organisation and talent in a changing industry Page 24
George Tan, Regional Director of Group Human Resources, AIA
East meets West. Why we shouldnt put too much focus on managing cultural differencesPage 26
The key steps to creating a diverse and inclusive culturePage 28
Frazer Jones Global Management Team
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Kim Schmidt Director People and Culture Grant Thornton (GT)
Cultural transformation drives competitive edge for Grant Thornton Australia
This has been in no small part due to a cultural transformation, underpinned by turning a previously inwardly focused partnership, into a highly engaged, highly focussed team that is now (literally) singing from the same hymn book.
The agenda for change
Ian Herman, National Managing Partner, Strategic Performance and Engagement, has been a Partner with Grant Thornton (GT) for the best part of 8 years. When he joined the firm, Ian said the professional services sector in Australia was strong. Clients needs were localised and as such, professional services firms took a similar approach to client delivery. Internal operations were also managed at a local level and the pathway to Partnership was about the amount of work sold individually. Ian says the market has changed and clients now demand a more integrated approach nationally, or globally.
Kim Schmidt joined GT Australia as Director of People and Culture in August, 2012. She accepted the role, sold on the firms clear growth agenda. Yet upon joining, Kim quickly discovered that at a time when the market was demanding a unified, integrated approach,
the firm was considerably inwardly focussed. There were a number of contributing factors:
The firm was grappling with the transition from a state-based to a national firm (and in particular the indifferent commitment levels of Partners to fall in line);
The ongoing integration of 2 smaller firms whose employees were used to a more agile environment and were up for change;
A recent merger with (parts of) BDO, another mid-tier consultancy firm. Whilst this doubled revenue and headcount of the expanded firm, it threw two previously fierce competitors together overnight.
Kim recounted that the sum of these factors led to a culture whose personality would be best described as introverted, with a lack of confidence among Partners in the firms ability to change/be different, let alone aspire to be something great. There was also a sense below Partner level that there was little opportunity for progression and hence no real aspiration toward a future in the business, as if the local book (ie. clients and
Ian HermanNational Managing Partner Grant Thornton (GT)
Grant Thornton Australia thinks, acts and feels like a very different firm these days than it did 5 to 6 years ago. It has moved from a federated firm, with a localised (state-based) approach to the external market, to one firm nationally, now collaborating across geographies and practice areas, to deliver integrated, client centric solutions that is creating a demonstrable competitive advantage in the Australian marketplace.
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revenue within respective states) did not justify the appointment of additional Partners, there were no development opportunities.
Kim gave a wry smile when she recounted her early discussions with Partners about talent management. With GT and BDOs Sydney and Melbourne offices coming together, there was no clarity on what potential Partner talent the organisation had. Kim added it was even more challenging further down the line. Each office had their own processes regarding promotions and frequently when the firm had a vacancy, they would go to the external market. No real surprise then, that an engagement survey completed just prior to the BDO merger delivered a pretty ordinary score.
Added to Kims challenge was the fact that the People and Culture function within the firm was not taken seriously. It was seen more as a support area that would run some programs and reactively facilitate promotions, mobility and recruitment, rather than as a strategic, enabling function.
Ian added that there were further challenges in the business. Whilst the merger with BDOs Melbourne and Sydney offices was definitely in line with GTs growth strategy, it happened very quickly, which had a significant impact on day-to-day business. Ian, an ex-AFL footballer, likened it to throwing together two arch enemies and asking them to become teammates overnight. Both firms had different ways of doing things (with varying views on which were better) and the former BDO Partners were not necessarily bought into the firms future strategy, as they had not been involved in its creation. Kim added that there were further tensions coming from GTs Board related to under-performance in top line revenue, as well as timelines around
when synergies and associated efficiencies from the merger would be achieved. This had a knock-on impact on Partner remuneration. Even after structural and systems changes had been addressed as part of the integration of the previous two entities, there was still a feeling that the firm was not meeting its financial potential and there were significant concerns around retention of their people and their clients, in particular clients of the merged BDO practice.
Plan of attack
Dont focus only on performance, seek to understand whats happening in the culture that supports or hinders the performance
With a burning platform for change, Kim set about designing a plan to engage the Partnership group, as to achieve sustainable transformational change you have to build belief. Kim indicated that for GT to achieve its business strategy, Partners needed to collectively believe in the firms direction and understand their contribution in making it happen.
Kims past experience taught her that leadership drives culture and performance, though not to focus only on performance, but rather to understand whats happening in the culture that supports or hinders performance and also the critical role leadership plays in creating the culture. Therefore the collective engagement and alignment of GTs whole Partnership group around the culture change journey was an essential component in its success. (cont.)
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Kim said we acknowledged that the level of change required was significant and that organisations dont change, people do, organisations dont determine culture, people do and professional services only grow if the people do.
So it is with this mindset that Kim set about a very individual approach, working office by office and Partner by Partner, with GTs CEO in attendance, to unpack each Partners motivations, including:
why they joined the firm;
what their journey had been;
what they believed the culture currently was;
their vision for the future;
what they perceived the gaps to be; and
how they would go about closing these gaps.
Kim indicated that this process helped Partners realise that they had a lot in common, which built a strong connection for them. In addition, they engaged with the firms future leadership group seeking their insights and perspectives to capture what was important to them in their thinking.
Subsequent workshops and conferences were conducted with all Partners to create an agreement on the culture which would support the firms strategic ambition. From this work they developed a set of core behaviours that would underpin this culture. The introduction of GTs Signature Behaviours followed, which resonated with people in terms of what could be done. These core behaviours, such as empowering, collaborative and courageous, were applied in leadership and management processes including the annual business planning and performance reviews. Ian indicated that this mind-set shift amongst Partners is building a belief that together they can be stronger and deliver a distinct service. This more trans-centric approach has led to GT engaging with clients differently, offering a more integrated approach to how they can support clients to grow.
To underpin a more collaborative environment, GTs CEO and the senior leadership team also agreed to revisit the Partners remuneration model. This was previously individually based and hence, did not encourage the critically important need for collaboration. The revised model saw Partners incentives move to team-based performance.
Kim indicated that GTs culture change is key to fulfilling its commitment to its people, its clients and the community. She added that we are leading differently and to do that we are doing things differently. To reinforce this commitment and different approach, in July this year, 130 Partners will be working together in Cambodia to build houses for a significantly disadvantaged community. This initiative is demonstrating GTs desire to do something extraordinary together. Kim added this environment will challenge us as individuals, and bring to life our seven signature behaviours. Working together on this project, side-by-side, sharing this experience, well develop a deeper understanding of each other and we believe our work will build a better future, not only for the families we will support, but also a better future for GT Australia, enabling our people and our clients to unlock their potential for growth.
Re-positioning HR as a value-adding
Ian credits Kim with playing a key role in the quantum shift in culture and performance at GT. He indicated that having someone from outside the firm and indeed, outside the professional services sector, has brought new thinking and a different approach, unencumbered by previous/traditional approaches and processes. Kim was able to create the necessary tension to break down inherent views. By unpacking issues at a personal level with all the Partners, she was able to ensure they would be change-ready and able to appreciate that for the company to grow, individual people needed to grow. Ian added that Kim was able to demonstrate her understanding of business drivers and didnt talk HR speak. In what was previously a very conservative culture, Ian said that Kim adopted some out of normal experiences to breakdown cultural norms, beliefs and attitudes and encourage Partners to be brave and start imagining a
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different future. Talk of Partners singing, dancing, juggling, climbing mountains and sharing stories was all part of this journey!
GT has also instigated a more structured, strategic approach to Talent. This has included the creation of an Annual Talent Day, where all Senior Leaders come together to plan talent requirements, identify their current talent gaps, discuss how to develop existing talent and what talent they need to acquire externally. Other initiatives include the creation of diversity targets, and increasing involvement, empowerment and appointment to leadership roles of younger Partners, ensuring diverse views are at the decision making table. In addition to increasing innovation this is creating strong leadership succession for the future.
Ian and the rest of the Partnership Group now see its People and Culture funct...