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Effective Shared Services Change Management and Communications

The transition to, and ongoing evolution of, Shared or Business Services comes with major challenges, including transformation related to technology, processes, and most importantly, people’s roles and responsibilities. The impact on internal and external customers, senior management, and the Shared Services team, requires a well-planned and executed change management and communications strategy to enable success.

A recent Peeriosity PeercastTM in the Shared Services Leadership research area featured a large global company operating in over 80 countries that have multi-functional shared services delivered via a combination of regional captive centers and offshore outsourced centers. The Shared Services organization has made the investment in a dedicated Change Management resource that facilitates multi-channel communications to stakeholders.

 As with all Peeriosity PeercastsTM, participants answered iPolling® questions that helped frame the discussion:


The poll results are somewhat surprising. While many companies have made significant investments in transformation efforts, 40% have not yet considered a dedicated resource related to communications.  For the 30% that have implemented, they indicate benefits related to relationships with customers and their Shared Services teams, as well as an overall benefit of consistent branded messages from Shared Services.

The PeercastTM feature company led an excellent discussion that outlined the role of the resource, communication activities, the impact communications have had, as well as shared some insights and learnings from their ongoing journey.

 Role of Change and Communications Manager

The role at our feature company is full-time and coordinates overall change management and communication activities. The majority of time is dedicated to in-process projects and the related change implications associated with those efforts. Other ongoing responsibilities include:

·         Stakeholder Analysis – including detailed “stakeholder maps” to identify Challengers, Resistors, Promoters, and Enthusiasts (and related plans for each).

·         Multi-channel Communications Development and Delivery

o   Intranet Site

o   Focus Efforts by Customer Segment

o   Brand Identity

o   Employee Engagement

o   Special Interest Topics

o   Targeted Change and Delivery Requirements


Ongoing Communication Activities

·         Feature stories for a corporate intranet site

·         Making Business Easier program (see below)

·         Communications to reinforce a brand, engender behavior change and drive engagement

·         Focused customer-related communication

·         Leadership Forums

·         Town Halls

·         Heavy use of light videos

·         Leverage social media

One of the activities emphasized was the customer-focused “Making Business Easier” program. Our feature company has taken this as an ongoing challenge to make each and every service offering easier and more effective for their customers. Our presenter went through the some of the highlights of this program:

·         A service inventory was created and assigned “service owners” within Shared Services. (70 highly-defined services at an actionable and measurable level)

·         Service inventory is prioritized, with specific customer surveys for each

·         Service owners deploy the surveys to their customers, with feedback analyzed to determine improvement opportunities

·         Service owners develop action and communication plans with customers to drive improvement

·         “Making Business Easier” program is integrated into the Continuous Improvement program

Insights and Results

The discussion progressed, with our feature company sharing insights and results from their experiences:

·         Leaders must own it – change management IS leadership and is not something that can be delegated

·         The SCARF (Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, Fairness) change model resonates with people and is an excellent skill and toolset for managing change

·         Communication must be integrated with day-to-day work and management systems, as well as be visible

·         Saying isn’t doing – be aware of passive-aggressive behavior

·         Discipline and consistency in message and messaging are critical

·         Conclusively shown that results are better when change and communication are formerly managed and measured

·         Customer satisfaction increases with properly targeted communication

·         Employee engagement increases with properly targeted communication

·         Keep reminding people of where the organization is going….and why! (The “why” behind the “what’)

The PeercastTM concluded with a discussion on collective learnings regarding change and communication. Some of the comments included:

·         Change is constant, and the magnitude and speed of change continue to escalate. This requires a more concerted effort. Dedicated experts in change and communications can make a great difference in results.

·         Shared Services leadership and project leaders require change management training and need to be equipped with simple tools and templates.

·         Strive for consistent, short, simple, and clean formats in messaging. Branding can help.

·         Use multiple channels for communicating – light short videos have a big impact.

·         Repetition of messages using various channels is very effective.

·         Respect hierarchies and leaders within the communication plan.

·         Stakeholder maps are helpful – know your Promoters and leverage them.

·         Getting feedback is not optional.  The follow-up to feedback is also not optional.

·         “Do it with them and not to them”

What is your Shared (Business) Services doing to drive effective change management and communications with your stakeholders?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?


1 “PeercastsTM” are private, professionally facilitated webcasts that feature leading member company experiences on specific topics as a catalyst for broader discussion.  Access is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from attending or accessing discussion content.  Members can see who is registered to attend in advance, with discussion recordings, supporting polls, and presentation materials online and available whenever convenient for the member.  Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, attendees can easily communicate at any time with other attending peers by selecting them from the list of registered attendees. 


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