The client, an established multi-site retailer, identified the need for specialist HR and project management support for a key organisational change programme linked to its strategy regarding the disposal of 48 of its operational sites. No small feat!
Working collaboratively with the Commercial Director, the Mobius leadership team first established the objectives of the programme, the job requirements and the role specification for the three-head mobilisation team. At the same time, the existing Mobius resource, who had been working with the client for the best part of a year, were working cross-functionally with internal stakeholders to develop optimised HR, supplier and operational processes and documentation, which would support the programme of works once implemented.
The smoothest and most professional [site transitions] we have ever experienced.
Following a short, intensive and structured induction to the business, the Mobilisation Manager’s people and process skills were immediately put into practice through the staged allocation of sites to manage.
There were four main elements to the role:
- Employee relations
Some sites were to be closed down, others passed over to new operators in the same retail industry segment. Through building effective relationships with the site managers and their teams, the Mobilisation Manager completed more than 500 individual redundancy or TUPE consultations with every affected employee. Despite the nature of the task, there were no negative feedback or employment tribunal issues. In fact, new operators were engaged to support this activity to great effect. A key piece was to engage local field managers within the client business to ensure the maximum number of internal transfers for employees were secured for those employees wishing to remain within the business. Legal compliance was maintained throughout.
- Supplier management
As part of the exit process, It was necessary to remove client and third party capital equipment from each site. This was made easier by engaging the relevant account managers regarding the project plan and developing sustainable relationships that ensured compliance to that plan. Always thinking ahead, we made sure that there were contingency procedures to follow, in the event of a supplier collection failure.
- Process management
A smooth exit from each site also required the execution of numerous closedown procedures, both IT and non-IT. The Mobilisation Manager owned the plan for these, ensuring they were completed in the correct order and at the optimum time by the site teams. Any site-specific issues were managed through to completion swiftly, with all learnings captured for future site implementations. What’s more, each site had regular support visits where ‘progress versus plan’ was reviewed with objectivity, sensitivity and empathy.
The final piece of the jigsaw – the Mobilisation Manager took control of all paperwork and reporting requirements linked to these three areas, right from the initial brief through to chairing PIR conference calls.
The key to the success of the role was in the experience brought to the project by Mobius. We provided a retail project manager with strong operational and people management skills – someone with a willingness to get ‘hands on’ to support the teams. A self-motivated individual willing to take on responsibility and work autonomously to plan and execute multiple sites simultaneously, depending on their position on the countdown path.
The feedback we got was incredibly positive – board directors from the incoming operators describing the various site transitions as “the smoothest and most professional we have ever experienced.”