Transforming The HR Team Of A Large Media Organisation Amidst A Public Scandal

Transforming The HR Team Of A Large Media Organisation Amidst A Public Scandal

Fri 26 Jan 2018 | Case Studies


What does it take to change HR amidst the most unstable organisational conditions imaginable?

Hensen Associates are currently working with Annie, an eminent Interim Director of HR Operations who fundamentally transformed the HR operations of a large media organisation whilst helping to steer it through one of the most publicly scrutinised crises in UK media history.

Not only did she successfully safeguard the business through this period of unprecedented pressure, she also established a remarkable high-performance culture in her HR team, delivered cost savings and cut through entrenched change resistance.


Prior to Annie’s engagement, the HR operations team was highly undervalued by the business and operated in separate silos aligned to the highly-autonomous business units. There was no focus on robust compliance – which had left the organisation exposed – and the HR function was predominantly concentrating on various piecemeal HR interventions aligned to the various business units.

Furthermore, the Executive board had mandated that the HR function were required to deliver cost savings. Amidst all this, the organisation was then suddenly thrust into the public limelight in one of the most high-profile scandals in UK media history.

Why Annie?

Annie was chosen for the assignment because of her proven leadership ability. She was able to set and implement crystal-clear objectives, mobilise teams and individuals in a compassionate way, whilst forging trusting relationships with leadership teams through delivery and engagement.

She also carried with her a successful reputation for delivering cultural change and employee engagement initiatives along with a range of HR operations improvement projects.


Annie initially shaped a long-term improvement plan (LTIP) with an objective of making the organisation fully compliant within the next five years and establishing a new HR Shared Services function. In tandem with gaining approval of the LTIP from the Group HR Director, Annie identified the key areas of business risk from a HR perspective in the context of the crisis.

She instantly repurposed the HR Service Delivery and Compliance team and created a HR Business Change function that was tasked with implementing the material changes under her leadership. This gave Annie the ability to simultaneously direct HR’s engagement with the business to help manage crisis-related activities that resulted from the scandal, ensuring that short-term risks and long-term objectives were under control.

Along with Annie’s exceptional leadership capability, this structural arrangement in HR created a high, sustained work rate which allowed the organisation to effectively resolve people-related elements during the crisis – and address aggressively shifting business demands.

Over the course of this 18-month crisis period, Annie managed to address the high-risk compliance and policy issues which had plagued the business, all whilst supporting the Group HR Director and senior stakeholders in multiple crisis related interventions – many of which were under extreme time pressure.


Annie’s leadership paved the future for this organisation by aiding them through a time of uncertainty. She ultimately succeeded in planning, implementing and leading a fully compliant, group-wide, high-performance HR Shared Services function underpinned with a standardised set of employer T&Cs, policies and processes across the group. All whilst overcoming entrenched cultural change resistance. She also delivered £400k in savings, in accordance with the LTIP.

Annie managed to successfully deliver drastic change to the HR function whilst supporting senior business leaders and the Group HR Director. She led the organisation through a unique corporate crisis which meant that detrimental financial and reputational repercussions were avoided.


• Drastically reduced the organisation’s risk profile by establishing standard employee T&Cs, policies and processes;

• Implementing the new group-wide HR service, ultimately achieving a cost saving of £400k;

• Providing accurate and timely reporting to governing bodies and law enforcement authorities during the crisis


If Annie could contribute to your organisation or if you would like to discuss how Hensen Associates can support your HR Change roadmap then contact us on +44 (0) 1189 901137



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