Case study – BBC Worldwide | My Assignment Tutor

Landingtransformationalchange: Closingthe gap betweentheory and practiceCase study – BBC WorldwideSeptember 2015The CIPD is the professional body for HR and peopledevelopment. The not-for-proft organisation championsbetter work and working lives and has been setting thebenchmark for excellence in people and organisationdevelopment for more than 100 years. It has 140,000members across the world, provides thought leadershipthrough independent research on the world of work, andoffers professional training and accreditation for thoseworking in HR and learning and development.1   Landing transformational change: Closing the gap between theory and practice – case studyAcknowledgementsThe report Landing TransformationalChange: Closing the gap betweentheory and practice was written byProfessor Julia Balogun, ProfessorVeronica Hope Hailey and DrImogen Cleaver, with help fromRuth Stuart, Lead Consultant forStrategic Projects at the CIPD. Wewould like to thank Julia, Veronicaand Imogen for providing such adepth of expertise on the topic.In particular we would also liketo thank the four organisationsthat participated in the report,generously sharing their time andtheir experiences. These includeBBC Worldwide, HMRC PersonalTax, News UK and Zurich UK Life.We would also like to extend ourthanks to the individuals withinthese companies who madethe research possible. At BBCWorldwide we would like to thankKirstin Furber, People Director, andNoreen Riordan for managing thearrangements. At HMRC we wouldlike to thank William Hague, ChiefPeople Officer, Caroline Murray,Head of Employee Engagement& Culture, Judy Greevy, DeputyDirector Talent, Engagement andDiversity (recently retired), GillNicholson, Deputy Director Talent,Engagement and Diversity, DebraLowery, HR Business Partner inPersonal Tax Change, and SarahJayne Williams, HR BusinessPartner. At News UK we wouldlike to thank Sophie Knight, theProgramme Director, Robert Hands,Executive Managing Editor at TheTimes and The Sunday Times, andNatalie Rider for managing thearrangements. At Zurich UK Lifewe would like to thank JamesSutherland, Head of CorporateGovernance.2   Landing transformational change: Closing the gap between theory and practice – case studyBBC Worldwide case study1 ContextBBC Worldwide is the maincommercial arm of the BBC anda wholly owned subsidiary of theBBC. BBC Worldwide exists tobuild the BBC brand around theworld, support the BBC publicservice mission and maximisereturns on its behalf while ensuringall activities are conducted ina way that is consistent withBBC standards and values. BBCWorldwide was set an ambitioustask of substantially increasingrevenue to BBC public service overfive years.BBC Worldwide employs around1,800 people and has 18 officesaround the globe. The executiveteam at BBC Worldwide are knownas WEx (Worldwide ExecutiveCommittee). The executive teamare also members of GLT (GlobalLeadership Team), a group of100 senior managers in BBCWorldwide. The BBC ExecutiveBoard has responsibility forthe overall supervision of BBCWorldwide. The two parts of theorganisation are closely aligned,with a focus on being ‘one BBC’.BBC Worldwide is a contentcompany, but the way in whichcontent is consumed has beenchanging over the last decade. Theconsumer decides what contentto consume, when and how. Newentrants have been challenging themarket. BBC Worldwide needed toadapt to be in a position to capturefuture growth opportunities aroundthe world.2 Preparation for changeBalanced regionalisation: 2012In October 2012, BBC Worldwideannounced a structuralreorganisation, which saw thebusiness reconfigured fromdivisional to geographic lines ofmanagement. Rather than beingorganised around business areas(channels, consumer products,sales and distribution, contentand production, and so on), BBCWorldwide is now structuredacross four geographical regions:the UK; North America; Australiaand New Zealand; and the restof the world, known collectivelyas global markets. Alongsidethis, there are global functionsoverseeing brands and content,with digital embedded throughoutthe company. The aim was toincrease growth from internationalmarkets and be closer tocustomers. The whole organisationhad to adapt to the new businessmodel. The restructure wasdisruptive for staff and includedsome redundancies.‘Morale across the company I thinkwas pretty low.’After the restructure there wassometimes still a tendencytowards silo working and a sensethat GLT needed to developtheir leadership skills; however,WEx appeared to the businessto be more aligned. Externally,BBC Worldwide was seeking torecruit talent in a competitiveenvironment. WEx needed to offeremployees something distinctive:an environment and a culture thatwould enable the employees to bethe best on a global platform.‘BBC Worldwide isa content company,but the way inwhich content isconsumed has beenchanging over thelast decade. Theconsumer decideswhat content toconsume, whenand how.’3   Landing transformational change: Closing the gap between theory and practice – case studyDriving clarity on strategy: 2013Tim Davie took up the post ofCEO of BBC Worldwide in April2013. One of the first things he didwas to clarify the purpose of BBCWorldwide:• first, build the reputation andbrand of the BBC• second, deliver sustainablefinancial returns• third, build a world-class mediacompany.He focused on communicatinga clear strategy of investing incontent, building global brandsand delivering digital innovation.The CEO took every opportunityto repeat that message. ‘Pulse’staff surveys were used everyfew months to measure internalunderstanding of and alignmentwith the strategy. Having a clearstrategy that focused around threekey pillars ensured everyone acrossthe business could understand thecompany’s focus:‘Even the most junior of staff cango content, brand and digital.’A WEx member describes theCEO’s role:‘He’s got us to worry about themoney, the cash flow, individualbusinesses or individual territories.His job is to be clear about thestrategy and create the best cultureand make that happen.’The CEO’s view was that day-today difficulties and lack of clarity,rather than the market challengesfor the business, could causeunhappiness. Staff wanted to havea clear story; feel their difficultieswere listened to and acted on; andthat they would be treated fairlyand included in communications.Dialling up the culture: 2014Although most people in BBCWorldwide started to experiencethe culture drive in October2014, for six months prior to thatWEx worked on the vision ofwhat that culture should be. Thepeople director took time to getWEx members on board throughindividual and team conversationsto gain input and consensus.In August 2014 a new globaldirector of organisationdevelopment started with BBCWorldwide. This was a strategichire. WEx then agreed that toachieve the culture plans inpractice, BBC Worldwide staffwould need to feel empowered toput customers and audiences firstand take smart risks.HR designed a workshop tocascade the culture drive tothe GLT, with the overall designand messaging agreed by WEx.The CEO was keen to see truealignment within WEx, not just‘Tim says this’, but was aware thatthe sessions would need to becompulsory to make sure all staffwere included.Kirstin Furber, the people director,sought to ensure WEx memberswere exhibiting the values andbehaviours needed to build thegrowth culture, so they would beauthentic in promoting the culturedrive:‘They have got to be living andbreathing [the values] and putting[them] into their day-to-daymanagement.’A WEx member describes:‘At the town hall, the last thingI said to everybody was, “If I’mconcentrating on something I’lllook like my face is thunder, butstop me. Talk to me … have a chat.”You’d be amazed at the following‘Staff wanted tohave a clear story;feel their difficultieswere listened toand acted on; andthat they wouldbe treated fairlyand included incommunications.’4   Landing transformational change: Closing the gap between theory and practice – case studyweek how many people have said,“Hello, I am… such and such.” Soyes, you do have to change yourbehaviour.’3 The change processConversation with the GLT:September 2014WEx facilitated a ‘virtual’worldwide GLT conference (whereinternational staff could dialin) and took them through theworkshop. The approach was toexplain what the business wasseeking to achieve and suggestresources leaders could useto make that happen becausesome people ‘don’t do culture …that is for the HR department’.Questions included: What dothey love about the culture atBBC Worldwide? What needs tochange? Stories were shared: amember of WEx recalls giving hispersonal story and explaining whatmatters to him. WEx talked abouttheir passions for the BBC, theirworries and what they wantedto do, drawing the GLT into theconversation.In spite of some problems with siloworking, participants described aculture in which people wanted towork together. There was an abilityto attract, motivate and retain thebest staff. However, there wereconcerns about accountability andfailing to be tough when needed. Tobe successful globally they neededto behave like a global companyand be even better at workingtogether while holding on to whatwas good about the culture.HR wanted the GLT to have thespace to think through how themessage would land, what it wouldmean for them and to allow themto translate it for their teams.WEx now had the feedback fromthe GLT, wordsmithing was nolonger adding value and it wasagreed that the key phrase aboutworking at BBC Worldwide wascoming in to ‘be part of makinghistory’. The statement was anambition which also summarisedthe culture. It was both aninvitation and a challenge to dosomething special.The people director advised:‘We have to land this now.’Worldwide workshops: October/November 2014The GLT were tasked with carryingout workshops with their teams.The purpose of the ‘WorkingTogether’ workshops was to draweveryone into the conversation, tofind out what the employees ofBBC Worldwide love about theirorganisation, if they agree with theculture ambition and to listen totheir thoughts.‘Part of it is the vision for thecompany, which is to be thepremium provider of content toaudiences globally. Part of that isabout being a company … that isadmired from the outside and lovedfrom within … “What can we do tobe admired from the outside andloved from within?”’‘It was positioned as, “we’re notstarting these discussions becauseanything is broken; we want to useculture to deliver results.”’The CEO was invaluable at thispoint, not only in fronting themessage that a conversationaround culture was importantbut also in pushing to get theoffering ‘really strong and reallytight’. Rather than dictating howthe workshops should be run, HRstipulated the outcomes to beachieved. A facilitation pack wasprovided, including a video ofthe people director interviewingthe CEO about BBC Worldwideculture, with some instructions anda deadline. Managers had room topersonalise the workshop for theirareas:‘We focused on projectsspecifically.’‘We decided not to play the reel.’‘We just sat around the table andbasically they framed it around afew key discussion points. … Wejust put lots of Post-it notes up onthe wall with all our comments andthen we went through them to getpeople’s specific examples.’Emphasis was placed duringthe workshops on the value ofpersonal stories. These were thenshared across BBC Worldwide inwriting, videos and pictures, withone employee singing their story.The managers also reported backon what could be better:‘Every Post-it note got transcribedas an appendix … we summarisedinto key themes.’To get through 1,800 people in 18offices around the world, HR hadto be robust in ensuring seniorleaders all held their sessions.The CEO pushed the messagethat culture was just as importantas everything else and hisinvolvement as champion allowedHR to be the facilitator.The workshops were on averagethree hours long. Some consistedof ten people; other leaders choseto do bigger groups with breakouttables. In the UK business, the WExmember attended the start of afew workshops to introduce themand say they were important butthen left to allow people to speaktheir minds.Within the workshops ananticipated challenge was howto respect the people who hadbeen in the organisation a long5   Landing transformational change: Closing the gap between theory and practice – case studytime. In advance of the focusgroups, the people director metwith individuals in the GLT whomight have been through cultureprogrammes before and might beless engaged:‘And they look round the room andsay, “Oh yes, we’re the oldies aren’twe?” I said: “I want to learn fromyou … so what’s your advice?”’HR was also concerned not tooverwhelm the business. It becameapparent that the rollout of theWorking Together workshopswas coming at an inappropriatetime for the US operation,because of a joint venture. WExdemonstrated flexibility by puttingthe programme on hold for the USoperation.The workshops were galvanisingfor the workforce:‘It helped me to fall back in lovewith the company I work for.’The workshops are considered agreat success. For some employeesit offered them a chance to be partof the wider conversation aboutthe culture they wanted to work infor the first time. The outcome ofthe discussions and areas wherechanges could be made had beenanticipated by WEx, but simplytelling people about that listwould not have achieved the sameimpact. A WEx member admitsthat initially the workshops ‘felt likea sheep-dip part of the process tome. Actually, I was proven wrong.’The next challenge was to considerhow best to convey the list to thebusiness.OD took the 400 pages of outputgenerated by the workshops andsynthesised them down to 11 broadthemes. While WEx were alreadyaware of many of the areas whereimprovements were required,there were some surprises. Forexample, while relationships withthe regions may have appeared tobe fine, in Australia the reality wasthe workforce regularly had workcalls between 7pm and 1am dueto time zone differences and thischallenged the value of respect.The feeling that not all successeswere celebrated and recognisedwas more of a surprise.Involving leaders in identifyingthe changes required: December2014The 11 broad themes were:• Take personal accountability.• Move away from silo working.• Work together across Londonand the regions.• Explain ‘One BBC’.• Encourage simplicity ineverything we do.• Ensure tools and resources arefit for purpose.• Improve trust and respect.• Pioneer new ways of working.• Recognise and celebrateindividual and team successes.• Connect with content.• Increase the opportunities fordevelopment.The GLT came together and thesethemes were shared with them.The conference provided anopportunity for group discussionaround key topics including, ‘Whatbehaviours do we as a leadershipteam need to demonstrate?’ Therewas also an interactive votingsystem that enabled members torank the themes. Members werethen tasked to take these themesback to the business and putthem into practice, for example,improving recognition by saying‘thank you’ more. The conferencewas a success:‘[The people director] did areally, really good job of feedingback the global picture. … It wasclearly communicated. It was wellorganised.’Following this the global directorof organisation developmentcondensed the discussions tosix behaviours. To maintainmomentum, he generated a singlepage linking the most importantthemes to the BBC Worldwide sixcompetencies – clear direction,world-class development,strong relationships, businesssuccess, innovative and creativeenvironment, and global excellence.It was delivered back to WEx andthen shared with the GLT in aconference call before Christmaswhen feedback was invited. Theserepeated interactions with the GLTsought to ensure the GLT ownedthe vision of change.Change initiatives driven from thecentre: 2014–15Meanwhile HR sought to work outon a global basis which two orthree key projects needed to be‘led’ from the centre. One of theseglobal initiatives was training.WEx had already identified theneed to provide world-classdevelopment for staff but thefeedback from the WorkingTogether workshops generatedurgency. To keep the momentum,the W:People intranet site wasrevamped to go live in December2014. It gathered together inone place all the developmentopportunities and attracted a highvolume of visitors.HR also set itself another goal:every employee should have adevelopment plan, devised withtheir manager, within a year.Training programmes such as thesales development programmewere already happening, but WExwanted the minimum developmentbar at BBC Worldwide to be higherthan the standard developmentoffering of its competitors.New offerings – such as BBCWorldwide staff being able6   Landing transformational change: Closing the gap between theory and practice – case studyto participate in the BBC ‘HotShoes’ internal work placementthat allows a person to do workexperience in a different partof the BBC – resulted in severalplacements being made for 2015but sometimes needed supportfrom team leaders to encouragestaff to take part because:‘I don’t think that it’s actually goingto be able to happen for someonelike me.’Team leaders tried to tackle this:‘I did send an email to all of myteam … but none of them came backto me … some of them are scepticalas well as to whether I would letthem go, and I said I would.’BBC Worldwide also launcheda global staff awards schemein May 2015. This not onlysought to answer the call fromthe workshops for improvedrecognition of good work, butwas also a vehicle for helping BBCWorldwide staff gain a greaterunderstanding of the companystrategy and how it translatedto their roles. During the annualresults day in July 2015, theawards were announced, offeringthe business an opportunity tocelebrate team and individualperformances which haddemonstrated ‘The Commitment’,with the hope of motivating stafffurther. The stories of the winnerswere published on the intranet.Overall, on initiatives driven fromthe centre:‘We’ve come a long, long way.I think even from the way weon-board people to the way wetrain them, the way we developthem or we think about that. Theway that we appraise, the way thatwe move people round are all muchbetter than they were.’The GLT: behaviour change anddivisional action plansHR synthesised the themesfrom the workshops into TheCommitment, a quasi-contractbetween leaders and staff, not onlysetting out what you might expectfrom a GLT member, but also whatyou would be expected to give inreturn.The headings were:• a clear direction• world-class development• strong relationships• business success• an innovative and creativeenvironment• global excellence.Under each heading was asentence or two about how theGLT should behave to achieve itand about how everyone shouldbehave to achieve it. For example,to achieve a clear direction, leaderswould communicate the strategyand live and breathe the cultureand values; the staff responsibilitywas to know the strategy and livethe culture and values. It gaveclarity on what everyone should doto boost the culture.To support GLT membersin meeting their side of TheCommitment, HR will introduce360 feedback on leadershipbehaviours. Going forward, oneWEx member commented TheCommitment would help addressthe handful of people who ‘are justnot playing the game’ by providinga framework that supportsmembers of the business tacklingbehaviours that don’t fit with theexpectations of the company.GLT members were tasked withrelaying The Commitment in away they felt would be mostappropriate to their teams, whichled to some interesting variations.One WEx member said the bestcommunicators might not sayall the words in the right orderbut would be credible about thedelivery of the message.At first glance The Commitmentmight appear not to have gainedtraction in some teams:‘They’re saying, “Well, I had aspecific thing I remember airingabout X and now you’re talking tome about Y and Z.”’The Commitment is, necessarily,quite long; it sets out how totackle the important themes. Oneleader thought their team had notexpected the next communicationto be a quasi-contract.However, leaders appeared moreengaged with The Commitment:‘I think there was a lot of time andeffort put into the GLT group. Sowe bought into it. … We had … halfa day, probably, on it.’GLT members were actively andsuccessfully making changesin their areas and to their ownbehaviour, guided by the themesfrom the workshops and TheCommitment. They were developingdivisional action plans. These wereadditional to the plan for actionsfrom the organisation centre.‘In the area that I work in there is alot of focus on collaborative effortacross different areas of finance.’‘All of our project briefs … now havea précis. … You’ve got to identifywith your line manager who’sresponsible, who’s accountable,who’s consulted, who’s informed.’Getting the more open, transparentand flexible culture while at thesame time thinking about thebusiness outputs achieved throughsystems and processes requires‘clutch control’. To be able to7   Landing transformational change: Closing the gap between theory and practice – case studyadapt initiatives to a region thereneeds to be clarity about whatis mandatory. The HR businesspartner in one division describedcreating their plan:‘I literally sat in an equivalentroom to this with my whiteboardcompletely covered, with Post-itnotes everywhere … to get thatclarity and get those … things thatare really going to work for us.’Consistent with the drive to focuson content and an inspiring,creative environment, programmetalent were invited to speak tothe UK region offsite town hall inApril 2015. In content, the chiefcontent officer is now available toeveryone at breakfast meetings,to share more knowledge and findout about different parts of thebusiness.‘It just improves interactionbetween people at all levels.’‘I feel like I say hello to more peoplein the division. … There is now arelationship or someone I couldprobably go to.’A WEx member talked aboutusing the HR business partner inhis region to give the frameworkscoming from central HR somepersonality and individuality. Forexample, to help build strongrelationships with staff, anyonewanting to access him with ideas‘Better Call Paul’, referencingthe Better Call Saul spinoff fromBreaking Bad.Now The Commitment has beendisseminated, GLT members knowtheir people will be looking forthem to meet their obligations.New office: April 2015BBC Worldwide in London movedto a new building in spring2015 and took advantage of therelocation to change the waypeople worked. The move affectedabout 1,500 of the 1,800 people inBBC Worldwide.‘We’ve deliberately used thebuilding shift as well, massively.’For a year before the move thenumber of desks in the old buildingwas gradually reduced to force newbehaviours and ways of workingbefore the move, as the new officewould be set up for hot-desking.A WEx member explained:‘This is the first time the UK regionhas been together on one floor inone building. … [Now] we wereputting everyone together in onespace, we were doing desk ratiosof 15 to 10. That would necessarilyinvolve people for the first timenot having their own desk withphotographs of the kids. … The waywe were going to use this buildingwas part of the culture that webelieved was part of the successthat was necessary for the future.’Nobody, regardless of position, hasa permanent desk now. The cleardesk policy was enforced with zerotolerance; something left on a deskwould not be there tomorrow. It’ssimilar to The Commitment: wewill give you a fabulous workspaceand in return we have highexpectations of behaviour in it.The increased presence of TVscreens made people feel morepart of a media company. Meetingrooms are themed around famouscontent, for example EastEndersand Doctor Who. The building hasalso been used to tackle specificproblems around the meetingculture. Rather than seeking tobook meeting rooms, the peopledirector now uses breakout areas.If you do book a room, you mustarrive on time and log in on thescreen outside or you lose yourbooking.‘The increasedpresence of TVscreens made peoplefeel more part of amedia company.Meeting rooms arethemed aroundfamous content, forexample EastEndersand Doctor Who.’8   Landing transformational change: Closing the gap between theory and practice – case study‘A big improvement because itmakes people stick to schedule …and it forces them out of the roomafterwards.’The building is of value to BBCWorldwide staff:‘For me it’s knowing that everyonein this building works for BBCWorldwide … because it didn’t feellike we were one company before.’And importantly for tackling theday-to-day difficulties, which Timargued were significant, tools andresources are better:‘The printers aren’t always on theblink.’CommunicationsGenerally the CEO and the peopledirector are seen as very goodat communicating vision andbringing people on a journey byusing storytelling. The CEO showsenthusiasm and authenticity. Heis a great communicator. He has acommon touch and is a straighttalker who is willing to be toughwhen needed.WEx and HR have balanced thedesire for uniform communicationversus how best to engage creativepeople. The CEO’s view is that asa leader in a creative organisation,you have to be comfortable with acertain amount of ambiguity. Thelatitude given to GLT memberson this and the other initiatives,such as how to communicate TheCommitment, appears to havehelped engage this group andsufficient consistency has beenmaintained for changes to start tobe seen.Evaluation of changeThe BBC staff survey took placein November 2014. The resultsprovided a starting position of72% engagement (top quartileof the IPSOS MORI engagementsurvey). WEx and HR want toimprove on this score. The Pulsesurvey from June 2014 providesa similar starting position onthe Pulse questions. In terms ofmeasuring progress, HR plan tocompare the results year on yearof the 360 feedback of the leadersand appraisal objectives (oncethe new Commitment behavioursare embedded in them). Whilethere are challenges aroundattribution of business results tochange programmes, the otherinitiatives running simultaneouslywith the culture change can beseen as embodiments of thetransformational change. In thatsense, if the results hit the target,success can be attributed to theoverall change drive.4 Change achievedThere were changes happening onthe ground:‘We all sit somewhere differentevery day.’‘There has been a shift in the pastsix months actually. It’s been muchmore collaborative, rather than,“You will do this.”’‘I’ve made more of a consciouseffort around dissemination ofinformation … involving my teamand making them feel that they’rereally part of and have a vestedinterest in the company as a whole.’There are local area-specific storiesof change:‘I think probably the place that’sclearest for me is in my Australianbusiness. … That business will beup 10% in revenue, about 8 or 9%in profit over each year over thelast two years. I think in the mainit’s about clarity of the overallstrategy, the move to balancedregionalisation, putting the rightleader in place, building a goodteam around him and having areally good culture through thatorganisation out there.’‘We were so dysfunctional, likewe weren’t even working with the[name of a country] team whosat beside us … so we have whatwe call a [team] mixer. It’s eithera breakfast or an afternoon thing… it was as a result of the culturalworkshops. … I feel like they’re farmore accessible.’With regards to WEx:‘She tries to come and sit downwith us at least twice a week.’‘They’re far more accessible andthey’ve got their ears to theground.’With regards to recognition bysenior leaders:‘It was really nice that somebody atthat level was actually calling outindividual names.’Overall the move to dynamicworking in the new building,balanced regionalisation, the bigculture conversation and actionplans for change have combinedto launch BBC Worldwide on ajourney of change and, while wecannot link results directly tothese changes, in 2014–15 BBCWorldwide returned a record£226.5 million to the BBC. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development151 The Broadway London SW19 1JQ United KingdomT +44 (0)20 8612 6200 F +44 (0)20 8612 6201E [email protected] W by Royal CharterRegistered as a charity in England and Wales (1079797) and Scotland (SC045154)Issued: September 2015 Reference: 7101 © CIPD 2015


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