Transcontinental Media used Triple Impact Coaching to transform their Human Resources Department from a technical expert to a business partner by developing their Use-of-Self in their coaching, consulting and change agent roles.
Transcontinental Media is Canada’s leading publisher of consumer magazines and the second largest publisher of local and regional newspapers. A steady stream of acquisitions throughout Canada over two decades made it the fourth largest print media group in Canada, with annual sales topping the $500 million mark. Between 1996 and 2003 Transcontinental Media grew from 250 to 2800 employees.
As a result of growth through acquisitions, the organization was made up of a number of independent units throughout Canada. Most acquired businesses retained much of their local policies, infrastructure, cultures and programs. The organization’s HR professionals tended to work in silos and were privy to little business information. They were focused mainly on local administrative issues related to recruitment, compensation and employee relations in their respective geographic areas. An internal HR audit was conducted by members of the HR team. This confirmed the need to better align the HR function, coordinate activities and standardize processes to support the organization’s growth objectives.
The following chart highlights Transcontinental’s challenges, the approach taken, the actions and results.
- The Organization had grown too large to maintain a fragmented approach to HR.
- HR needed a framework to relay the vision and specify the changes required
- Develop a Change Strategy using a collaborative change process
- Align HR’s internal partnerships
- Involve all three levels in the six phase development process
Actions & Results
Shared Vision of the Future
- Linked HR as a Business Partner to strategic priorities
- Had senior leaders champion & reinforce the vision
- Built a collaborative HR operating plan
Renewed Patience & Optimism
- Leadership demonstrated commitment to making visible signs of change e.g. celebrated and recognized quick wins, provided recognition
Collaborative Planning & Transparency
- Process created a partnership strongly rooted in a culture that values cooperation
- Strong understanding of the cultural, business, technical and individual context
- Internal ownership of change process by the organizational system, rather than by external resources
Transcontinental Media’s new Vice-President, Human Resources was Katya Laviolette. She concluded the organization had grown too large to maintain the fragmented approach to HR. To continue growing, acquiring and successfully integrating, the culture needed to shift from a collection of small businesses to a unified publishing company. As well, the future of the business would depend on superior human capital. Transcontinental Media’s HR organization would need to become a world class partner to the business in order to attract, develop and support talent. This meant expanding and growing the responsibilities of the HR professionals from a focus on the technical aspects of HR (recruitment, compensation and employee relations) to include the more strategic aspects of HR (change management, communications, organizational and leadership development).
Katya Laviolette engaged Patwell Consulting to assist in developing their change strategy. Together, and in conjunction with the HR team, they created a collaborative change process which built on the current strengths and values of the organization. This model and the transition and implementation process enabled the organization to develop competencies that would make it self-sustaining as opposed to being dependent on external consultancy. Each level of the organization that was directly or indirectly impacted by the changes was consulted and/or involved in the change process. This included the Corporate, Sector and National HR Teams.
Collaboration and coaching were the keys to the success of the project. The development process consisted of six basic phases: Understand, Assess, Develop, Test, Implement and Evaluate/Refine. This process, in turn, was used in 2 phases:
Phase 1: Understanding and Strategy Development and
Phase 2: Execution.
Coaching was provided as a support to each team as they worked on their strategy. Each cycle identified and addressed learning opportunities in the areas of the individual, team, structure, culture and organization. For a summary of the activities undertaken and the results achieved in each phase of the cycle, see the article Transcontinental Media – Evolving Towards A HR Business Partner.
The process described above helped the organization establish a shared vision for the role of HR. This vision is owned by HR professionals across the organization, championed by senior management and understood by all business partners. Professionals at the local levels are responsible and accountable for the strategic and change management aspects of HR as well the technical aspects of HR. Each HR professional developed a learning plan that incorporates the technical, strategic and change management competencies required for their success. The HR competencies have increased across the board. HR is called upon to participate in various strategic initiatives. The HR team sets their own performance measures and assesses their results. The National HR Team has quarterly meetings to review their progress and work on individual development needs. Finally, a regular annual meeting has been established to structure their HR Operating Plan and focus on continued HR Business Partner training and development.
The full Transcontinental Media story is available in the book Triple Impact Coaching.
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