These are some examples of our work with our clients.
Transformation of HR
This is a global organization that is transforming its HR organization. The shift was from a primarily transactional and traditional personnel role to the role of HR as business partners in designing and implementing HR strategy, that supports the wider business strategy. This required the HR staff to see their identity in new ways, deepen their knowledge in HR topics and develop consulting skills. Critically, this change also needed them to be confident and comfortable in pushing-back when required.
Flame Centre supported this transformation by equipping the HR practitioners in consulting skills, so that they could work with their business partners collaboratively, rather than simply as a ‘pair of hands’ or as ‘experts’.
This client wanted its support functions to work in greater partnership with line functions, so that there would be faster and better service to the end customers. Part of the need was for staff functions to understand the myriad of stakeholders, requirements of line managers, and have effective conversations with them to establish service level agreements. In addition, staff functions also needed to deal with differences and generate creative win-win solutions.
The intervention was a program with a mixture of concepts, discussions and skills practice. Participants also applied the learning back to the organization and had follow-up sessions to discuss challenges faced and reinforce the skills they had learnt.
This client organization wanted an alternative approach to engaging employees following an employee opinion survey. Typically the approach has been to find gaps and develop action plans to improve the gaps (such as supervision, communications and leadership). In this process, strengths are usually taken for granted and it becomes an almost mechanical engagement to ‘populate’ action plans.
Appreciative Inquiry was used as an alternative approach to engage the staff and leverage on strengths of the organization, as it seeks to make positive shifts in ‘weaker’ areas. Flame Centre trained a group of change agents on the concept and methodology of Appreciative Inquiry. In this process, they crafted questions and planned the subsequent engagement process with their departments. This led to more positive energy and commitment in the action steps developed within their departments.
This client organization started with the idea of conducting a series of communication sessions with employees as a way to get “buy-in” for the upcoming changes in the organization. There was uncertainty as the regional headquarter role was shifting from Singapore to Shanghai. Understandably, the management was concerned about losing talents. The purpose of these communication sessions was to tell people about the change and help them be comfortable with that.
Flame Centre was initially asked to train the facilitators of these communication sessions, but it soon become clear that the heart of the issue was engagement and the challenge was to find ways to do that. We helped by re-designing the sessions so that it was a two way session; employees were engaged in conversations with one another, they had the opportunity to raise their concerns and planned together with management on what was required for the successful transition. The key in this work was getting the question right and engaging employees with one another in honest and productive conversations.
This organization is a leading global chip making manufacturer based in Malaysia. It was expanding aggressively with many of its talents relocated in China to support the global growth strategy. Hence there was a need to build bench strength quickly. It also required the employees to do more with less. At the same time, newer employees seemed to be less committed to the organization as evident from the resignation trend. This was different from the past when employees ‘grew up’ with the organization. Part of the identified solution was for leaders at all levels to engage their staff deeper.
Flame Centre designed and facilitated a training experience for all leaders using the ideas and methodology about building commitment and accountability, so that they could engage their staff and build a more connected organization. During the session, energy levels were high as leaders across levels talked in small groups. These small groups were connected to the larger group through facilitated questions, and a leader remarked at the end of the session, “this is a time when I felt connected to the humanness in the company”.
This organization creates and sells high end luxury products. Their staff had already gone through all the customer skills training available in the market. The question they had was how to continuously sustain the high level of customer service and for boutique staff to develop their signature strengths in serving clients.
Flame Centre partnered with this organization using the Appreciative Inquiry framework to identify the strengths of individual salesperson and their peak experiences in serving their customers. The sales people were trained to interview their customers and we discovered numerous inspiring stories of excellence. The sharing of these stories illustrated to every salesperson many different ways that they could serve their customers. This is different from skills training, rather it was discovering the strengths within and facilitating everyone in the organization to learn the best from one another.
This programme focused on equipping participants with knowledge, skills and attitudes to provide customer service that exceeds customers’ expectations. Competencies were identified and a training programme was developed to train and assess the achievement of each competency. A pre and post mystery shopper audit was also conducted to measure the results of the training.