Case Study: Hensen Associates identifies Interim HR Service Lead for World’s Largest Chemical Producer in just 23 days
In January 2017, one of the word’s largest chemical producers had re-launched a global HR transformation programme which aimed to actualise unrealised benefits from an ongoing HR change effort over the past three years. The key outcomes of the programme were as follows:
• The establishment of a more refined HR services operating model by creating a new regional HR service centre
• Implementing Workday to replace the existing SAP HR technology platform
• Launching a new HR self-service portal.
With over 20,000 employees in over 80 countries, this was a highly complex initiative, with multiple technology and consulting third parties supporting the central European and UK project team.
In order to complete it, the incumbent HR Services Workstream Lead (the stakeholder) had engaged a consultant to support her in the re-shaping of the HR service delivery model up until the end of September of 2017. However, although many of the conceptual and strategic elements had been established by this consultant, he was unable to shape the practical components relating to the HR services’ process, technology and operational components as part of the change.
With a firm go-live deadline in June 2018 for the new HR operating model, the Workstream Lead urgently required an external resource to define these practical elements, and more importantly; project manage them to completion in an autonomous, hands-on capacity.
Hensen Associates were therefore tasked with identifying a suitable interim resource with not only an operational and transformational track-record in global HR shared services functions, but also someone who accustomed to the complexity and pace of the programme as it moves toward its big-bang go-live.
Meeting with the Workstream Lead allowed Hensen Associates to examine the culture of the organisation, and crystallise the necessary workstream outcomes in detail to ensure the right match from our Interim or Associate network who could make a valuable contribution.
There were two key attributes that came to light in our discussions:
- Organisational ways of working
- The complex eco-system of the programme itself.
In essence, we uncovered that if this resource was to be truly autonomous – which was critical to protect the stakeholder’s overall outcomes – the Interim needed to be effective in navigating the compliance-led mindset of the business and influence other project stakeholders in the right manner in order to meet their deliverables. Operational expertise in HR services was also critical, as was the project management track-record of implementing case management tools such as ServiceNow and embedding new processes. They were also needed to commence the assignment on site, within just three weeks.
The requirement was challenging, not only in the often rare global HR service transformation space, but also the personal and cultural attributes which could determine the success of the whole workstream. Despite our deep network of Interim Associates acquired over ten years, the availability of the most trusted practitioners in our network simply did not match with the stakeholder’s requirements. Even recommendations at 2nd, 3rd and 4th degrees of separation proved fruitless from either an experience, availability or quality of previous delivery standpoint.
Instead, using our knowledge of which clients in the UK were conducting similar HR transformation programmes, we isolated four organisations whom we knew would have utilised a very similar type of resource in their respective programmes. We networked and leveraged relationships from each of these four organisation and created a shortlist of two highly suitable and available prospects. After interview, the stakeholder was introduced to one, along with references from previous stakeholders to verify their delivery.
A total of 23 Interim prospects were pre-interviewed for the requirement, resulting in nine detailed interviews, two finally shortlisted, and one finally introduced to the stakeholder.
This introduction was a two stage process (one telephone, one face to face) between the stakeholder and the candidate. The stakeholder felt that the candidate’s hands-on experience and ability to manoeuvre a complex programme structure (as evidenced at her role at one of the world’s biggest energy companies) would be ideally suited.
In turn, the candidate was delighted as this role would bring them back into an HR function delivering transformation, as opposed to being embedded in a programme team attempting to delivery change ‘on behalf’ of the HR function.
Hensen Associates Consultant Testimonial
“These type of narrow ‘technical’ requirements with unique cultural dynamics are difficult, but often the most satisfying due to the nature of their difficulty. Getting detailed understanding of both aspects up front turned out to be as crucially important as was our client network knowledge base – which made our search effective, targeted and painless for our stakeholder at the point of delivery.”