University of Edinburgh Business School

Communications strategy, restructuring and change management

Objectives

Following a period of rapid growth at the University of Edinburgh Business School (UoEBS), the decision was taken to appoint a consultant to:

  • Review the current strategy, structure, roles and activities of the School’s professional services team;
  • To recommend appropriate restructuring and refocusing of the team; and
  • To form implementation plans in order to ensure its close alignment with the needs and strategies of the wider School and of the University.

Upon completion of a competitive tendering process, Admiral was appointed.

The project was planned in three phases:

  • Phase 1: Collection and documentation of the data which would support the recommendations;
  • Phase 2: Preparation of a substantive report, with recommendations; and
  • Phase 3: Developing and implementation of a communication and change management strategy.

Strategy

Data gathering:  The views of 58 individuals from across the Business School, wider University and International Advisory Board were initially sought to inform the process with evidence gathered via predominantly in-depth, face-to-face interviews.

Analysis:  The feedback was then analysed into key themes.  These were used to inform understanding of what was needed from the function, and what this might mean in terms of amendments required to the existing structure.

Consultation & Communication

Genuine consultation:  Two workshops were facilitated with members of the professional services team to share the initial findings.  We worked with the HR department and the unions before unveiling a draft HR structure for consultation. 

Feedback:  Detailed comment about the proposed structure was then sought via email and (for those that requested it) via face-to-face interviews.  A further 18 face-to-face meetings took place with individuals to clarify their feedback and to consider the detailed implications of the proposed restructure.

Stakeholder communications:  Admiral was also charged with on-going communications with the individuals involved, plus wider stakeholders.  A presentation to the Executive Team on several occasions to seek approval for our recommendations was part of the process.  Regular emails were distributed to employees, giving them real time up-to-date information about the process.  We presented to the Business School at its quarterly conference to explain the process and to answer questions.

HR:  11 new positions were created, 15 positions were significantly changed and 10 were tweaked.  There were no redundancies.  New job descriptions were prepared by Admiral for all members of the team, many of which had to be prepared for a grading panel for approval.

Strategic clarity through to delivery:  Admiral facilitated a full days’ strategic workshop at Edinburgh Zoo with the five newly created teams to empower them to build complimentary strategies and action plans that delivered the Business School’s overarching priorities.  Targets and outputs were also set and systems, processes and protocols agreed.

Results

  • The University of Edinburgh Business School is now structured correctly to achieve its objectives and to grow.  All employees are aware of the role they play in that success and what they need to do to help achieve it;
  • A much stricter performance management process has been introduced and new products and services are being developed and packaged for engaging with businesses, specifically in Executive Education.
  • There are now processes and systems in place that will support the Business School’s new improved business engagement activities and a focus for all team activities that are focused entirely on helping to achieve the Business School’s mission.  Central to this is the introduction of a business development team that will take an account management approach to developing relationships and opportunities with organisations at home and abroad.

“Admiral has now worked for me in two separate institutions on broadly similar assignments – undertaking critical reviews of support for engagement functions.  In the most recent work, it was the MD Georgie Cameron who took on the assignment personally, which I was most impressed by.  Admiral is a highly professional organisation, holding your hand through the whole process from the development of the brief, through to research inside the organisation, keeping colleagues on board through the process and actively leading the change management process.  What we have ended up with is a new structure that is now fully fit for purpose and aligned with our objectives, that will deliver clear benefits.  I would highly recommend the company: they will do what’s needed, faster and much, much better than you could do yourself.  A big thank you to Georgie and Admiral for a job well done!”

Dean of University of Edinburgh Business School

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