NRMA is an iconic Australian brand, a highly trusted mutual motoring organisation with over 2,000 employees. Aside from breakdown mechanics and automotive services, the next largest employee group consists of a mix of sales, service, corporate, back office and specialist staff based in a single suburban campus.
A previous executive team, faced with the need to relocate these employees due to the end of a lease decided to build new premises in a nearby emerging business hub suburb, Sydney Olympic Park (SOP). The original business case for the build and move was based around capital expenditure and was seen as a property project: no cultural or work practice elements were factored in to the benefit case. The choice of location, and lack of change management initially around the project created negative perceptions: employees felt they hadn’t been consulted, uninformed and had unaddressed concerns about parking, transport and services options at the new location.
Approximately 18 months before the scheduled move, a new CEO joined the organisation and over 15 months, put in place a new executive team and mostly new senior leadership team. They led significant and rapid change to the mission, strategic direction, organisational values and brand, moving from a motoring organisation to an integrated mobility business with the mission: NRMA keeps you moving. There was significant restructuring in this time and the combination of redundancies, new strategy, new values (which were in the process of being launched separately by HR) and new business targets, meant the business was suffering change fatigue, especially in middle management. The new senior leadership team was still in the early phases of forming and coming together as a unified team.
Changing the decision to move or the location was not an option as the build was far too progressed. The project had new internal sponsors and it was now seen as a way of driving a needed cultural transformation towards more agile, digital and collaborative work practices. Not all of the new executives agreed, and there was no desire or business need to push hard for a true activity based working (ABW) option. The communications team was engaged at this point to lead the people and change stream of this project alongside the property and technology streams.
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