Table of Contents
Executive Summary. 3
Managing Change in Deloitte. 4
Change implementation. 5
Change Drivers & Change intervention. 5
Change Perspectives. 5
Interviewee’s underlying change assumptions. 6
Planned or Emergent change. 6
Effectiveness of the change intervention. 7
This report serves to investigate change management at Deloitte Mauritius. The research method is involves conducting an interview with Phil Mathews, Chief Executive Officer of the firm. The report finds that owing to the increased work force and complexity of its operations, the firm needs to procure a new premise that is capable of housing all company staff comfortable and accommodate new technological equipment. The change management team was able to implement the intended change successfully and realize a variety of benefits that included enhanced operational efficiencies, increased and highly motivated workforce, and higher revenues. However, the firm suffered the loss of some few employees who were unable to cope with the change. The report recommends that an effective communication plan, evaluation of the new premise and equipment before relocation, and employee inclusion in the change process would serve to make the change process more efficient.
The historical adage posits that the only thing permanent in life is change. The statement lies true in that change in every circumstance ranging from individual changes, and organizational changes to market and environmental changes. Moreover, these changes are either natural or human influenced (Newton, 2010). Change management therefore serves the critical role of ensuring that the intended change is implemented effectively and that organizations are able to cope with the changes without necessarily experiencing a negative disruption in their operations. Importantly, change management acts as a tool that guides the management on how to equip, support, and prepare employees to adopt the appropriate change needed by them in enabling the organization achieve its goals and objectives. For the purposes of clearly explicating the concept of change management, it is prudent to analyze a practical corporate example where an organization experienced changes, how it dealt with the changes and propose possible recommendations on how to best deal with the change. Corporate entity under review is Deloitte Mauritius, which is a member firm of the Global leading Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (“DTTL”). The firm is grouped as one of the ‘Big Four accounting firms,’ which are the four largest professional firms that offer assurance, audit, management consulting, and taxation services.
In order to learn about change management in Deloitte Mauritius, an interview was conducted with The Chief Executive Officer of the firm, Phil Mathews. According to Phil, the firm had to relocate its old and dilapidated headquarters to a much larger and modern venue and one that is closer to its customers and reflects the dynamic “Deloitte image”.
Change drivers refer to the factors that facilitated change in the firm. For Deloitte Mauritius, one of the change drivers was that the firm had expanded its operations significantly in addition to experiencing an increase in employees from 100 to 400. Secondly, the state of technology at the old premises was outdated and could not cope with the firm’s complex operations. The internal software supporting the accounting and payroll system would breakdown regularly resulting in loss of valuable time and resources as the technicians were contracted on a regular basis. Moreover, it was not possible for the firm to acquire a new IT system as the old premises did not have the capacity to accommodate it. The firm was also experiencing an increasing staff turnover owing to uncomfortable working conditions such as cramped office space and inefficient computers.
The change intervention therefore implied that the firm had to look for a more modern and large office space capable of hosting its large workforce and accommodate the much needed complex IT system.
Change perspectives refer to the multiple ways of viewing change. For large organizations, the top level management in charge of implementing the change may hold a different view of the change from the employees questioning the change those directly impacted by the change (Fried, Östman, & Verschueren, 2010). For the firm, the management perceived the change as a necessary activity for ensuring that the firm was more effective in discharging its duties. The subordinate employees, on the other hand, perceived the change as a negative interruption to their routine activities such as having to travel further to and from work and possibly relocating to the estates that are near the new workplace. Additionally, the introduction of new and complex technological systems served as a threat to some employees especially those who lacked the necessary skills and expertise to operate such.
The interviewer held a variety of assumptions regarding the intended change. One assumption is that all key stakeholders would support the desired changes and play their respective roles in ensuring the successful implementation of the change. The interviewer assumed that the investors would approve of the change and provide the required funds necessary for relocating. The second assumption was that the employees would be able to comfortably relocate to the new venue, which would possibly involve increased transportation costs and relocating to new areas of residence. The third assumption was that with the required amount of money, the firm would find and secure a larger premise that would adequately house all the employees in addition to being able to handle the new technology. The fourth assumption was that upon successful installation of the advanced technological systems, the firm would have qualified and experienced personnel to operate the new systems.
There are mainly two forms of change in an organization, which are planned and emergent change. Planned change is change that is where the management deliberately causes change in the organization in a well structured manner. Emergent change on the other hand, is more spontaneous and normally evolves naturally (Jin, 2005). When the government suddenly introduces new legislation for companies, the firms normally experience emergent change in that the management did not intend for the changes to occur but simply have to make the necessary adjustments in order to cope with the changes. For instance, most governments the world over have enacted laws that ban the use of polythene bags. Consequently, organizations have faced emergent changes in their operations as they shift from packaging their products using polythene materials to materials that are more ecologically friendly. Planned change, on the other hand, is more deliberate and foreseen. For instance, a firm may decide to automate a number of its operations that were previously done manually. In such instances, the management makes careful and deliberate plans on how the various changes are supposed to be effect.
In accordance with the above understanding, it could be argued that the change at Deloitte Mauritius is both planned and emergent change. Although such an opinion may appear contradictory, there are valid reasons that support it. The change is planned in that the management deliberately caused the change in the organization and executed the change in a well structured manner. Moreover, the management had foreseen the change. However, it is plausible to posit that the change was facilitated by factors that were beyond the management’s control. Relocating to a new building was essentially driven by emergent changes that occurred in its former workplace that served to prevent it from executing its duties efficiently (Lomax, 2009).
According to the interviewer, the change intervention was highly effective and successful. The effectiveness of any project is normally evaluated based on its ability to meet its goals and objectives. The underlying motivations and hence the objectives of the change intervention included relocating to a new premise that would comfortably host the company employees comfortably and its operations, a premise that would accommodate the new technological equipment and systems, and one that would clearly reflect the firm’s image. According to the interviewee, the change intervention was extremely successful. After the change intervention, the firm has been able to experience considerable revenue growth. The firm was able to increase its staff strength from 100 to 300 making it the leading employer and being named the employer of choice. Thirdly, the firm experienced immense cost savings by shifting from rending third party locations and acquiring its own training rooms that are equipped with the latest IT equipment. Fourthly, the firm experienced savings in telecommunication costs due to relying on the latest technology that is housed at its premises. Moreover, the employee morale improved significant and consequently a decrease in staff turnover. However, the change intervention was ineffective as far as retaining all company talent within the organization as some of the employees were disgruntled with the changes and opted to leave the company.
In conclusion, the interview and change management exercise was highly informative and insightful. The interview revealed that although change may be planned, the underlying reasons for change are generally emergent in nature. The firm’s management had failed to foresee the growth in its operations and therefore plan accordingly for a larger premise. With an increased workforce and company operations, the management faced the challenges of operational inefficiencies, technological failures and decreased employee morale. The solution for these challenges involved relocating to a new premise that would house the employees comfortable and accommodate the new technological systems. Proper planning and change management was critical in ensuring that the firm was successful at shifting to the new premise and realizing the intended benefits. One of the critical activities that significantly impacted on the success of the change intervention was including a comprehensive communication plan. Effective communication ensured that all stakeholders were in timely and regularly informed on the intended change, its goals and objectives, their expected duties and roles in the change process, and other critical information. Effective communication ensured that the change process did not get the stakeholders off guard and facilitated their mental and physical preparedness. Important to point out is a critical challenge that plagued the change management team and one that is common with all other change management projects. The change management team faced the issue of resistance to change by some employees. The project team had failed to foresee the negative impact of the intended change on the transport cost of some of its employees and consequently failed to put in place the relevant arrangement at dealing with the issue. Additionally, the firm incurred financial losses due to writing off its old equipment and loss of employees who could not accommodate the change.
Although the firm was able to implement the desired changes, there are various strategies that would serve to make the change more effective and successful. The first recommended strategy is to choose the right change agents. The process of implementing change is normally very challenging and unpredictable especially during the initial stages. It is therefore critical to identify and select the appropriate change agents responsible for supporting the change process and ensure that the activity is executed in smooth manner. Some of the attributes for identifying such individuals are:
- Persons who have a stake in the end results. Such individuals would take the project serious and personally and remain committed in making a difference;
- Persons with strong collaboration, communication, and problem solving capabilities;
- Individuals with the ability to discharge their duties in a variety of situations as change management exhibits a myriad surprises;
- The capacity to remain objective, set priorities, and ensure team members are actively engaged (Conference Board, Inc., 2010).
The second recommendation is to make the change desirable. The management should communicate to all stakeholders and help them understand that the objective of the change is not merely to increase sales and profits but attuned to the well being of all stakeholders. The management should clearly explicate to all stakeholders the problems with the current system and seek advice from the stakeholders on how to make the change successful. Importantly, the stakeholder’s feedback should be recorded in the company’s records and used in enabling the company to promote the required type if change.
Thirdly, the management should strive to ensure that the change is relevant. In this case, the management should clearly state the overall objective of the change to its stakeholders and direct its efforts on change management towards achieving them. The big picture should be presented to all stakeholders by delineating the objectives and goals of the organization and outlining how the change will serve to enable the organization achieve them. All benefits that are associated with the change should be clearly explained to the employees especially those that apply to them directly. For instance, the management should explain that moving to the new building would render the working environment more comfortable while the new technology would serve to simplify their work: the sales software would serve to make it easier for the sales team to meet their targets easily and earn more commission, the auditing and accounting clerks would be able to execute their duties faster and not have to work for protracted durations and therefore able to get off work on time, while the managers would be able to access reports faster, which would further facilitate their decision making process.
Communication is critical for effective change management. Moreover, communication should be made on all levels. The Chief Executive Officer should communicate to the employees the broader impact of the change to the organization, while the managers and supervises could communicate more detailed information on how the change will impact on their team members.
The time for executing the change and when all stakeholders are informed is critical in change management. Individuals tend to resist change when it occurs abruptly and there is not enough time to adjust. Change information should be communicated to all concerned stakeholders as soon as possible while the change should be implemented in incremental phases. According to Gray 2010, change should be implemented in an organization when it is not busy and also at a time when it is not experiencing a lot of exceptional pressure.
It is also recommended that the management assesses the new premises first and tests the new system before implementation. The management should ensure that the new premises are adequate to meet both the current and future demands. Additionally, the new system should be tested rigorously before its acquisition and implementation.
Although it is prudent to consult with professional change management firms, change managers should be recruited in-house. The change ambassadors should be identified from the firm employees especially those who hold charismatic qualities and respected by their team members. The firm should then proceed to train the change ambassadors and allow them to develop a positive and motivating atmosphere while providing guidance to other employees.
The management should fully integrate the change. This could be made possibly the assisting the employees to adapt to the change faster while ensuring that the new employees understand the intended change immediately by ensuring that all material within the firm is up to date (Anderson, & Anderson, 2010).
Regular appraisal of the change process is equally important. The change management team should meet regularly to assess the progress of the change process, identify existing challenges and make the necessary corrections. The evaluation process serves as a steering aid to ensure that the project progresses as planned. The team should also strive to motivate the employees to provide feedback on the how the new system is functioning for the purposes of quickly identifying possible flaws. Upon the successful implementation of the desired change, the change management team should hold a final meeting to document the entire change process including the challenges that were faced and outcomes. This meeting should serve as a learning opportunity and the documentation for reference purposes to ensure that any changes that the firm will undergo in the future will be executed in a more efficient manner (Morrison, 2008).
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