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7 Things we learned from the ‘How to bring your people through transformational change’ webinar.

11 Jul 2019 - Blog, News

7 Things we learned from the ‘How to bring your people through transformational change’ webinar.


Our webinar discussing ‘How to bring your people with you through transformational change’ was super popular last week, so we’re sharing the key insights that were discussed below. (The webinar in collaboration with Personnel Today is available on demand here.)

More and more of our clients are facing a similar challenge, so we thank Sarah McPake from TSB, Jo Moffatt from Engage for Success and our own MD Tom Debenham for sharing valuable advice, frameworks and examples of success.

1. Drivers of change are common but our response to them must be unique

We’re all familiar with, and no doubt responding to market conditions such as disruptive tech, increased consumer choice and talent shortages. But as Tom argues, each organisation must respond to these challenges in their own unique way, true to their unique brand, values and strategic direction to sustain competitive advantage in attracting talent and customers.

“In the ‘experience economy’, thinking about strategic change means thinking about culture change.” Tom Debenham, MD People Insight


2. A culture first approach to strategic change increases your chance of success

Taking a culture first approach means designing a culture framework that helps people behave in the way that supports the achievement of your strategic goals. So for example if you are looking to improve innovation, work agilely and increase the volume of new products & services to market, your people need the values and behaviours that allow for collaboration, experimentation and learning from failure. Critically, these behaviours need to ‘get off the paper,’ be practiced and role modelled around the organisation.


Culture Framework

3. Nottingham Building Society has a great example of a culture first approach

At The Nottingham, a unique ‘All Under One Roof’ strategy of a broad range of services available in branch and online, required structural change; new roles, skills, technology and new ways of working. To enable the change, they focussed on culture. The ‘Doing the Right Thing’ cultural framework sets the vision, values and behaviours to inspire, guide and support people through change.

To listen to their peoples’ views on the change, and to track how the organisation is moving towards the desired culture, People Insight support their ‘Your Voice Matters’ listening strategy. This involves surveys, listening groups, interpretation and action planning to hear and respond to what their people need. (See the full case study here.)


4. The four enablers of employee engagement provide a framework for supporting people through transformational change

The Four Enablers of Engagement, defined by Engage for Success, are an effective and powerful framework to use to approach culture change. Jo Moffatt remarks that most peoples’ experience of change is having something ‘done to them’.  This approach, she argues, can help deliver sustainable change.

  • Have visible, empowering leaders who share a strong strategic narrative about the organisation, telling the story of where it has come from and where it’s going. Importantly, this message needs to be sustained – its not just a speech followed by an email.
  • Recruit, train and support engaging managers to better focus their teams and give them scope, treating them as individuals, coaching and stretching. Managers have a pivotal role in communications, sharing broadcast messages in more intimate, 2 way settings, where feedback may be more honest and immediate.
  • Give all your employees a voice, acknowledge them as central to solving your business challenges and driving innovation – we’ll see more of this in (6) and (7) below.
  • Have organisational integrity – make sure the values on the wall are reflected in the day to day behaviours of everyone in the business at all levels, with no ‘say-do’ gap. This last point is critical – people see immediately when a leader behaves contrary to the values, or a policy or project sends the wrong signal, completely undermining the credibility of your programme.


5. Three reasons to get into the habit of listening to your people

As part of any successful transformation programme, listening to your people is key.

Firstly, to understand what your people think of what you are trying to achieve (are they bought in? do they believe it? Is it achievable?).

Secondly to act and adapt. Perhaps Goods In haven’t understood the message, so you need a different comms tactic. Perhaps there’s resistance in Finance requiring improved rationale or taking an unforeseen need into consideration.

Thirdly to involve. By listening you show your people that you are interested in their opinion, that their individual view matters. But of course – this only works if you act on what you have listened to.

6. Listening strategy: Tools for listening to everyone

It’s clear from our 3 speakers that having a comprehensive listening strategy is critical during change (which can be most of the time). Sarah McPake shared TSB’s listening model which includes the ways in which leaders glean actionable insight. There are a range of routine approaches for the whole organisation:

  • Annual deep dive surveys for issues that matter to the organisation and them individually
  • Fortnightly stand up Q&A ran by execs for topical issues
  • Online discussions & polls to get quick responses
  • Team meetings and 1:1s for more local discussion and to generate feedback


TSB Listening Habit


7. Listening strategy: Tools for listening to representative groups

TSB also have in their framework the option to add in additional, sometimes ad hoc listening activities at key moments. Critically, the variety of activities means TSB are listening to what people want to say, not just what TSB want to ask. Examples include:

  • Quarterly pulse surveys to check in on engagement issues & changes
  • ‘The Link Group’ – 125 employees that meet each quarter to discuss current business topics and report back to the exec & board
  • Listening groups – 500 employees had open conversations with leaders during a change initiative about their experience of the change
  • Team listening exercises – local leaders are equipped to run local activities to get people sharing ideas about how to shape changes locally

“As we navigate transformational cultural change, people who feel they have a voice are more likely to be ready to come with us.” Sarah McPake, Employee Engagement Senior Manager, TSB


Need Help?

People Insight are trusted by many leading organisations to advise and support them as they develop the cultures they need to effectively navigate transformational change. Get in touch to find out how our organisation scientists can help you:

  1. Design and implement listening strategies ​

Regular surveys, listening groups and 360 feedback design, implementation and coaching.​

  1. Develop your desired company culture ​

Including creating values and behavioural frameworks.​

  1. Align employee experience to your desired culture​

Through employee experience lifecycle mapping workshops.

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