Change Management in the Face of Adversity

July 4, 2020 Leah NacuaBrampton, Durham, GTA, Mississauga, Vaughan 656 Views

Adapting to change is the name of the game in 2020. It was certainly timely to hear our Guest Speaker, Laura Lee-Blake, VP of Human Resources Corporate Functions for Campbell Soup Company, share a very inspiring story about the wind-down of Campbell’s Toronto plant operations during our June 2020 SIG webinar “Change Management – Overcome Resistance, Build Buy-In & Get Real Results”.

The Future is VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) & The Leadership Change Challenge

Between the time that the plant closure was announced, in January 2018, to the time that the last can was produced in May 2019, how did Campbell’s preserve team morale, maintain a strong corporate culture, and ensure that operational targets were met?  How did they handle adversity, remaining as one of the GTA’s Top Employers in the face of a plant closure and loss of more than 60% of their workforce?

Application of ADKAR at Campbell’s

During the session, Laura demonstrated how the ADKAR change management methodology was applied to managing Campbell’s Toronto plant closure.  Key takeaways from the session are:

  • Awareness:  Share information on how the change will benefit employees and the organization.  Communicate proactively and consistently.  Keep it personalized, transparent and interactive. 
  • Desire:  Provide personal interactions describing “what’s-in-it-for-me” (WIIFM).  (For Campbell’s, engagement of impacted employees was done by connecting with them emotionally and instilling a “Finish with Pride” attitude, while those staying were solicited for input on decisions surrounding new ways of working in the organization.)            
  • Knowledge & Ability:  Develop people via on-the-job training and mentoring.  Empower by stretching people’s talent via promotion/advancement and give them the tools to succeed -- this prepares them for new and bigger opportunities for the future.      
  • Reinforcement:  Use private, personal recognition and rewards to show appreciation and acknowledge that adapting change is not necessarily easy.  Celebrate key milestones. 

While the change management journey at Campbell’s involved an extreme situation, most manufacturers are currently dealing with changes that involve new ways of working due to COVID-19.  As employees adjust to “new norms”, maintaining employee engagement is paramount; after all, getting stakeholder buy-in is key to successful change management.  As you reflect on how your company has adapted to change, can you think of ways how you have successfully engaged staff so that new policies are adhered to?  How would you ensure new best-practices are sustained, post-pandemic?  How has your company dealt with challenges related to managing teams who may now be working remotely from home?  What have you learned, and what would you do differently?

EMC offers several options for change management training and implementation services --from half-day introductions to multi-day leadership training.  Our preferred vendor will match you with the pathway that best meets your goals.  If you would like more info or would like to join us at a future event, please contact me at LNACUA@EMCCANADA.ORG.