Briefly, how will you implement the change in ways that will be

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  1. Briefly, how will you implement the change in ways that will be embraced by the business?
  2. Describe in eight steps.

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Business Case Scenario – Assessment 2
Managing Culture and Change 21926, SPRING 2021

Ozfone is an Australian telecommunications and technology company, which markets voice,
mobile, internet access, pay television and other services. The company has more than 5,000
employees and has been selling services to businesses, households and individuals for over 45
years.

With COVID-19 vaccinations now underway, countries are beginning to map out their roadmap
out of lockdown. For companies, it creates important challenges and opportunities as to how
they choose to return to work. That presents an interesting new dynamic for both the employer
and the employee. In 2020, Ozfone was forced to transition its employees from being physically
present in their offices to working remotely. However, at the beginning of 2021, the company
implemented the hybrid working model – allowing employees to work both remotely and in the
office. This was supported by the CEO of the company who is aware that even if a vaccine or
effective treatment will open the possibility of a safe return to the traditional workplace, remote
work will take a permanent place in the employment mix. Hybrid working models, done right,
(1) allow organisations to better achieve innovation and attract talent, (2) lead to higher job
satisfaction and autonomy of employees, and (3) define a future of work that is more flexible,
people-oriented and sustainable.

However, the way how the company approached the hybrid working model has been causing
some serious problems. One of them is that the managers hold an unconscious bias that because
remote workers are not seen in the office they work less as those seen in the office. There is

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also the belief that showing up to work, having good attendance and putting in long hours is
more important than the results. Managers feel that they cannot trust that their working-from-
home employees are actually doing the work and as a result, the employees are feeling
micromanaged. The management by results (supporting employee autonomy on when, where
and how they do their work) in the company has been clearly not embraced by the managers.
Moreover, the conditions in the office space are not designed for a hybrid form of collaboration
due to insufficient technological support. Not all meeting rooms are connected to the video
conferencing software which causes remote workers to miss out on important information
because it was communicated in person. The other problem is that the way how meetings are
run has not changed from the pre-Covid version. For example, although most meetings are now
attended by both remote and in-person team members, activities such as brainstorming are done
on a traditional flipchart with paper post-it notes. This leaves remote workers feeling like they
are not part of the team. Apart from that, the physical separation of staff in the implemented
hybrid model makes forming working relationships between employees very difficult. Yet the
question of how staff may be supported and developed to face current and future challenges
tends to be neglected since managers are busy coordinating the work of remote employees and
those present in the office. As a result, lack of socialisation and genuine support from managers
– an essential part of office life – deteriorated the firm’s culture by creating a lack of trust and
disengagement.

In your role as the HR leadership team, you would like to contribute to an increase in
productivity through a more engaged workforce as well as making the company more attractive
to talent. To do this, it has become clear to you that the company’s approach to hybrid work is
underdeveloped and what is more, the current way of how the combination of remote and office
work is done is not effective. You are not alone in this view. In conversations with frontline
managers and employees, you have established that their feelings about the current way of
working range from resignation to downright hostility (‘toxic working environment’,
‘demotivating’, ‘too stressful’ and ‘lack of support’).

The problem is, the senior executive team is nervous about tinkering with a system that, in their
minds, has so far worked fairly well. There are a number of views in the leadership team. The
CEO is fundamentally open to change as long as it aligns with the company’s value statements
(see below) and helps increase the company’s competitive market position. In particular, his
message on the company’s website is: “For the many challenges this pandemic poses, it also
presents opportunities – new ways of thinking and working, new approaches to business and a
greater emphasis on community-focused solutions.” He is joined by the Marketing and Sales
Operating Officers who believe that the firm’s culture would benefit from becoming more
collaborative and trusting. The Divisional Leaders tend to have a more neutral position: they
are aware of frontline managers’ and staff’s disengagement with the current way of hybrid
work across all divisions, but see it as a ‘necessary evil’ since they believe there are no
alternative options and that employees just need to get used to it. The Chief Operating Officer
and Chief Financial Officer believe that the company has a solid system that everyone knows
how to use and that provides clear communication channels, so why change it?

To make matters more complex, there is a degree of change fatigue in the organisation. The
company’s approach to change has traditionally been to have experts design the change and
then tell managers to implement it. But the workforce consists predominantly of unionised,
long-time employees, so it is difficult to mandate changes if they do not like them. As one of
the frontline managers has told you: “We’ve been through different change management
programs, and the perception at the front lines is that if you duck your head, they go away.

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There is a certain amount of cynicism in the organisation.” Knowing this, you are fully aware
that the senior executive team will likely have concerns and queries around the proposed
change in regards to the hybrid working model, e.g.:

– What are the key benefits for the firm? Is it really worth the effort?

– What will make this change initiative successful, as opposed to other failed change
initiatives by external consultancies that they have endorsed in the past?

– How does your proposed change initiative align with the company’s current value
statements and external market drivers?

– What is the business case for it, compared to the status quo in how hybrid work is
currently handled by the firm?

– How will staff and frontline managers be involved in the process so that the initiative
does not end up being undermined, as has been the case with previous (top-down)
driven change efforts?

Ozfone’s value statement

1. We strive for excellence in what we do. We are committed to the continuous
improvement of our services, and we achieve this by continuously developing and
deepening our knowledge of our people, our customers, and our business.

2. We lead in ways that provide recognition, motivation, and empowerment – by listening,
seeking feedback, and working with our staff on the attainment of shared goals.

3. We encourage accountability and ownership across divisions and roles, and we strive
for a culture of empowerment.

4. We treat each other with respect. We embrace diverse communities, cultures and points
of view. We understand how we differ and how we are similar.

5. We work together as one team. To collaborate well, we trust each other and work
together towards shared goals because we know that this is how we can offer our
customers the best service.

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