Case Study

Repositioning the Core Business

 

The Challenge

Alight’s CEO nicknamed it the “Year of Transformation.” The $2B business process outsourcer (BPO) had recently spun out from its global parent, Aon. Now a private equity-backed firm, its mandate was to change from slow growth service provider into an innovative growth leader.

The biggest move involved repositioning Alight (formerly Aon Hewitt) from being known for efficient transaction processing to a becoming a provider of high-value, data-driven advisory services. This required dramatically changing the company’s delivery model in a way that enabled more investment in innovative solutions while improving both the quality and cost effectiveness of its legacy delivery system.

The company had spent the prior two decades building its own proprietary processing operation in India. Senior leaders came to the realization that they could no longer invest in both this operation and rebalance capabilities toward advisory services. They decided to transfer the historical operation to a leading technology outsourcer who could make required investments in AI/robotics and people to service the client’s global customers.

The CEO knew this would be a monumental change for his company. Clients had confidence in his company’s India operation,  so the CEO was concerned that the change could cause disruption in key customer relationships as they worried about service level agreements, information security, and the potential loss of crucial talent.

People issues lurked as well. Key India staff members who had crucial domain expertise may reconsider their future with their new employer. North American staff and leaders would now have to work with their former colleagues in India in a vendor/client relationship where they served different stakeholders. Talent across the company would see this as a major indicator of the company’s repositioning and may start to wonder about their future with the firm.

Even within the CEO’s own team, several leaders expressed reservations about the change. But he knew this move gave the company its best chance of becoming the fast-growth competitor he envisioned. He resolved to move forward.

Given the scope of this change, our client’s CEO and senior team asked Noonday to help enroll a critical mass of its top 100 leaders in the process of leading their people through this complex change.

The goal:  implement this important change with minimal loss of clients while retaining key Indian and North American employees within a four-month timeframe.

 

The Approach

Engaged senior leaders to anticipate and address resistance in the company’s top 100 leaders.

Noonday’s surfaced and resolved misalignment among Alight’s executive team. We identified the most challenging questions the executive team needed answered and guided the CEO and deal team in getting credible responses.

Then, we engaged a team of Alight’s senior leaders to anticipate and address resistance to change in the company’s top 100 leaders. Together we designed an interactive Engagement Workshop, that addressed:

 

  • The CEO’s strategic thinking behind the change as laid out in a creative Chalk Talk
  • How leaders could address their own internal reactions to the change
  • How this group of leaders would practically work together to implement the change
  • How the leaders would guide their people through the change process in the aggressive timeframe required

Following the Indian transaction, Noonday conducted focus groups with front line managers to assess the status of the change process so the client leadership team could respond to concerns and continue the transition process.

The Result:  Shining Brighter

Our joint approach to engaging the top leaders in this key change won rave reviews from key stakeholders including the CEO, Chief of Staff, EVP of Communications, and the business lead on the deal team.

By the end of the Engagement Workshop, leaders said they felt clear on the reasoning and direction of the deal, more confident in their roles as change leaders, and more supported by their colleagues. They went from being confused and concerned to describing their view on the project as:

“Anxious but optimistic”

“Challenged but ready”

“Nervous and excited”

“Curious and ready”

Most importantly, our client navigated the transition to the new model without losing a single client and retaining 98% of their critical talent.

 

Noonday helped our leadership and organization through a transformation that went beyond just process; they helped our leaders and managers think and operate differently.  – Chief of Staff

Noonday made our plan and us better. 

CEO

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