Management and project leadership training improves morale and attitudes to change
A Stockholm-based client company was dissatisfied with the HR policies of one of its subsidiaries, where staff were very unhappy with the management of the concern and employee turnover was substantial.
The problem was particularly apparent during projects, when omissions in documentation, monitoring and coordination were frequent.
The subsidiary’s HR managers needed training in project management, as well as guidance on how to improve their managerial performance.
What we did
We carried out a thorough analysis of the subsidiary company, and drew two main conclusions:
- There were problems at management and executive levels, and managers were experiencing difficulties in directing projects.
- A regressive culture was prevalent within the company. Many operatives displayed a very cautious attitude to change, and a bias toward elements of change that favoured the staff themselves rather than the company. They also perceived a lack of appreciation on the part of management.
The degree of willingness to accept change was lowest among managers. They were prepared to admit that problems existed, but in their own view they were nevertheless delivering.
Employees were more dissatisfied with their work. ”If we had better quality management, we could double our turnover” was a constantly recurring comment.
When we presented our findings, we stressed that a management programme alone would not solve the problems in the long term. Given the loss of revenue caused by poor project management and staff attitudes, the client decided to extend our brief to include a project leadership component.
An in-depth examination helped us to get to the heart and soul of both the company and its subsidiary, and strengthened our ties with both.
We created good working alliances with managers, and made the subsidiary’s MD the “head coach” for the project. This enabled us to implement crucial changes.
The key to changing employee attitudes was to link individual, measurable earnings to performance with business value, so that all operatives would know when they had achieved the results expected of them, and would be aware of the rewards.
We trained the managers in these methods in group meetings and in individual sessions with specific key managers. We completed this training element in twelve months, and continued with various coaching inputs for a further eight months.
By the end of our assignment, the subsidiary’s managers had the tools they needed to devise solutions to the problems they owned. We had also helped them to recognise and accept that many elements they considered unsatisfactory were actually outside their own areas of responsibility.