The X Factor: How the Experience Changed Everything

Amanda Hume

Head of Change Management Experience at HP

Learning Objectives

Change happens every day at HP. And, it's critical to our survival. With over a decade of change behind us, and a digital transformation underway, we know that how we manage change makes a difference to the speed and success of the change itself. At HP we have an approach that captures best practices and lessons learned in how to drive successful change for our employees and HP. We'd like to share that approach with you so that you can design change programs that accelerate business outcomes and drive applied engagement.

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn how putting the employee at the center of what you do is critical to setting the right tone and pace for change

  • Learn why experience-based objectives are central to delivering a change program that is relevant and effective

  • Learn how HP designs and builds its change programs using experience journey mapping

"There's more to change than just the destination. In fact, what we've learned is that the journey for change starts way before we get to that destination."

Amanda Hume

Head of Change Management Experience at HP


Hi, I’m Matthew and I’m the head of change at HP. Welcome to The X Factor of change, it’s great to have this opportunity to share some of our learnings around how we manage change at HP. Does anyone know where this is? Well, it’s princess streets in Edinburgh. And it was the walk that I made every day for about two years to get from Waverly train station to my job. And it was my very first job straight out of school at the age of 17. Working for a home appliance retailer called Scottish Power. And I was straight out of school and straight into the sales job on the floor selling home good appliances, anything from ovens, to televisions, to washing machines, to kettles, and even hair dryers. Now as his Scottish tradition, we always go to our grandparents for dinner, once a week. So near the end of my very first week, I was at my grandparents house for dinner. And my grandfather, Jimmy sein, who was a retired CEO, asked about my very first week on the job. And I told him with all the enthusiasm of a 17 year old that it was just amazing. And then I remember telling him that when I grow up, I want to be a store manager. And I remember also asking him, Papa, what do I need to do to be a manager? And I will never forget his answer. He said, It’s not rocket science. It’s 80% people skills and 20% common sense. And this piece of wisdom has never left me. And it has served me very well throughout my career. So why am I starting a conversation about managing change by telling you the story? Well, because what I’m about to share with you over the next 20 minutes or so, it’s not rocket science, it’s mostly common sense and people skills, and I hope there will not be many huge surprises. But here’s the thing that I’ve learned as I’ve led change management over over a decade at HP, in times of great change, common sense often goes out the window, and efforts around connecting and communicating with employees as we move through change. Unfortunately, they often decrease in worst case, they can disappear. So I have to admit, this was a rather tough session to design, my first reaction was 20 minutes, oh, gosh, could talk about change, and our experiences for many, many hours, but I can’t. So I thought the best way to talk about change would be to tell you a story about one of the most important aha moments that has subsequently influenced how we design build and deliver change at HP. And there’s been a lot of it over the last decade, and with those 10 years has come a lot of experience designing and building and deploying change experience programs for some of the biggest and the most complex in the world, like our separation. And at the time, our deployment of our HR system workday through to some of the smallest of changes, like updates to our payroll systems, small but super important change. And over the years, we’ve learned a lot. And we’ve learned what works really well. And we’ve built best practices from this. And we’ve learned what doesn’t work. And we’ve changed our approaches because of that. And we’ve been really fortunate to lead a lot of that change ourselves. So we’ve learned we’ve got a lot of practical hands on experience, from design, to build to delivery, and then wrapping it up to capture all these great lessons learned and best practices. And from all of this, we built a change framework that’s really focused on what we believe, is really needed to create an situation and experience that moves our people positively through change, and all with the minimal disruption to our business. And that’s what you really want through change. Even worse off today, because unlike environments of yesterday years, many of us are in the midst of transformations, or we’ve got lots and lots of change happening at the same time. And it’s these changes that all have their future states and they all have their starting points. So a to be on this slide. And these changes are happening across multiple audiences some of the same time some at different points in time. And when you piece all of that together, it looks kind of like this. And that’s why change feels complex. It’s because many of us are not experiencing just one change. We may have many changes going on all at one time or at different times and change today is all around us. It’s ongoing and it’s only getting faster and if we are to continue to grow and maintain our respective markets, then we need that change. Now, if I put my formal change hat on just for a moment,

this is a framework that we are all familiar with. It’s the Kubler Ross framework. And it’s a great model. And it shows you how people move through change. But as great as it is, I’m not sure that it really truly shows us what happens when you have to change. Let me show you what I mean. This is our version of the change curve. And when I first came across all these years ago, well, I have to be honest, it was love at first sight, not because the journey is radically different to the Kubler Ross curve. But because the bottom part of the curve really spoke to me and how I think we all feel as we move through change, we have good days, and we have bad days. And it’s that zigzag motion, that really reminds us that this is actual reality, right? moving through change is not always a smooth journey. And I know for sure, that’s how I can feel some weeks, some days, some hours, some minutes, Everything’s under control. And then No, it’s not. And then Okay, I got it back. And then I’ll know there it goes again. And if you go back to the conversation that we just had about how much change is actually underway, and how it’s all around us. It’s not just one change journey that we’re all traveling, there may be instances or rather, I know there are instances where we ourselves are on many change journeys, and all of our employees are on these journeys to and these changes don’t all necessarily need to be work related, right? We’re all experiencing changes in our lives because of the environment that we live in today. So for the remainder of this session, I thought I would tell you a story that I hope will help you better manage your teams through the ups and downs of change. And the story that I want to share with you is how all these years ago, we became pioneers of the employee experience, which we often refer to as the X Factor of change. So when I joined HP, many, many years ago, first of all, I couldn’t believe I had this amazing opportunity to work for this iconic brand. I’m originally from a small town in Scotland called larbert, where back in the day, we would leave our front doors unlocked. If we popped out to the local shop just in case our friends came around to visit and they could let themselves and and if I ever got into trouble as a teenager, then guaranteed my parents would know real fast because everyone knew everybody’s business. So here I am, in my first role, about 18 months when I got this amazing opportunity to transition to the global HR team to head of HR communications. And it was at that time that Meg Whitman joined HP as our CEO. And we actually took the first step in our turnaround journey. So I’m asked to go to our headquarters in Palo Alto where I’ve never been before. And I was going to be briefed on a project, which was actually the announcement of significant changes to the organization. And a big part of that announcement was a reduction in our workforce. I always remember that the meeting took place in the executive suite, which I have to be honest with somewhat intimidating. And my role on the project was to leave communications for this first announcement. And as we were wrapping up the meeting, I’ll never forget Tracy Keough, our fearless HR leader, looking at me in the eye, and saying, this has to feel different to what we’ve done in the past. And I’ll also never forget how I feel is I left a meeting because I’m thinking to myself, Oh, my goodness, I’m not going to be in the show for much longer. How can you make a workforce reduction feel different? So I went back to the hotel and over dinner with my best friend who was the head of engagement, the time we talked about how we would make this feel different. And we started just as you would expect, by brainstorming tactics. Should we do a video number like now we’ve done that before? Should we do a meeting with all of our managers? And we’re like, Well, we’ve done that before. And we just kept going through all these tactics until eventually one of us we’re not really sure which one of us asked the question. One of us asked the question, we’ll have we get it right. What will our employee See? And we said, well, if we get it right, employees are impacted by the announcement, we’ll say, Gosh, this sucks. I’m sad. I’m sad that my role has been impacted. I know why HP is doing that. But it still sucks, right? But also say, my manager. My colleagues have been really supportive throughout this time. And if I was given the opportunity, I will come back to hp. And that was the moment when the concept of the employee experience was born all these years ago. And it was at that exact moment that we stopped thinking about tactics in the program. And we started to think about our employees and that’s an important point that I want you to think about. Because often when

we go through times of uncertainty and change, we have this tendency to think about all of the different programs or meetings or communications or training that we can send to our employees. Did this article go to this meeting? What about this training in in our rush to support our employees, we fail to stop for a minute and think, what does our employee really need. And one other important point, when you think about a change initiative, typically the focus of the program team is on the success of the program, through the eyes of the program teams, so value creation, cost savings, change and process a new system deployed. So success could be the system went live on time, or the new process was activated, and it’s running, or reimplemented, the new policy, or we closed the acquisition deal on time. But that doesn’t always indicate true success. In fact, we know it from all that we read about acquisitions, right, just because you closed the deal, it doesn’t mean that that acquisition is going to be long term successful. And if I remember correctly, I think the latest stat was between 70 to 90%, of mergers and acquisitions fail. So just because you deployed that new system, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be used. So it’s not enough to think about success only by the program metrics, a deployed system, a closed acquisition deal, because we missed the one important factor that is critical to the success of all change the people behind our employees. And then we’ve learned through experience that when you start with the experience Top of Mind, it really is the X Factor to driving successful change. So let’s talk about how we create experience centered change and get back to our story. We asked the question, if we get it right, what will unemploy say. And this is an experience statement we created for a recent system deployment. If we get it right, we want employees to say we’re alive. And I’m excited to get started. There has changed leaders, most of the change frameworks that are out there, including HPS, very own change framework starts with defining that end state we often refer to that as our destination. And it’s a great place to start. So first lesson learned, though, is don’t define the end state as the programs and define the end state with the words you want your employees to say. But what we’ve learned over time, is that that’s not enough. There’s more to change than just the destination. In fact, what we’ve learned is that the journey for change starts way before we get to that destination. And in fact,

it often continues for the period after the change itself. So if we stay with the example of the deployment of the system, you can see here that going live is just another milestone in the journey to ultimately get to the end state experience, which for us is, this was the right thing for HP to do. Or even better, this has made a huge difference to how I do my role and in a good way. And more often than not the bulk of our work and change really is prior to the go live again, you can see how we map out the journey from the point in time where we have noticed a change, and what that means to an employee who will be impacted by the change and every step of the way we map out the journey through the eyes of the employee, what is the change? How is that impacting me? How am I going to learn about the change? How does this change work? And in the case of a new system, even down to what’s my security access. And if you’re wondering how we do that, we do it through what we call a walk the walk session. And this is actually a picture from a session that we conducted as part of our Samsung printing acquisition where we genuinely we didn’t have many walls with a lot of windows and every step of our journey, we mapped out what we wanted the employee experience to be throughout that journey. And then if you’re wondering how did we take that and then present it back to our senior executives, we take all of that and we put it into a timeline that looks something like you see on the screen right now. Okay, so now you have your experience statements mapped out for your change journey. What do you do next? experiences that you want to create, and you work backwards. So in essence, a little bit of reverse engineering. So you ask yourself, what do you need to do to create this experience, and in this case, this was an experience that we wanted to hear from employees as part of our separation. So as my manager talked to me about the separation, this is the right thing to do for HP. So we know that the manager would have to host some kind of meeting and that they would need to be in a position to talk confidently about the change. So then we ask ourselves the question of how do we make that happen? Well, we need To make sure that the managers informed of the change and that they themselves have had time to digest and discuss the change, because managers are also humans and they react to and that’s a whole different session, then we need to make sure that they’re equipped to talk to their team, and importantly, that they understand what their role and change is. So we keep going until we get to tactics. So in this case, we determined that we would need to host a manager webcast prior to the main announcement to employees. So you can also do that remember, immediately following an event where the time and doesn’t allow for a pre brief to managers, we would then provide managers with talking points with a team three things to think, a PowerPoint presentation with speaker notes, and FAQs, so that there’s consistent messaging to share with their teams. And then we have to make sure that managers have an opportunity to talk about the changes with their or managers. So when you put all of that together, it starts to look a little bit like a change experience plan. So you can see how overtaken all of these activities, and we build them into a plan. And we do that for every single one of our statements. And then we build our holistic change experience plan across the periods of the change journey. So I’m going to stop there. So what can you do immediately leaving this session? Well, for your change initiatives, you can immediately ask the team, if we get it right, what will our employee stay? And remember, not just the end state experience, what you want is what we want to hear is what will your employee say about their experience at every single step of the journey. And once you have these experiences, then take some time to do a little reverse engineering to determine what activities are essential to driving the experience into building your X Factor

change plan. So to wrap up, as I said earlier, it’s not rocket science, mostly common sense and logic. But thinking about the experience in the beginning of any change initiative has really proven to be the X Factor in all of our own change experience plans. And how do you know when you get it right? Well, you can measure the experience statements using a survey and ask employees to rate the experience that you your desired experience that you created. But the best moments when you know you got it right is when you hear a leader or an employee firsthand, especially our leaders talk about employee sharing their experiences and in the exact words that you use to write your intended experience. And that brings me to the end of the story that I started with. So it’s about four months after HP announces the first step in his turnaround journey. And our CEO, Meg Whitman, is that our HR all hands meeting, and she’s talking about the last few months, and how many employees have reached out to her personally by email. And she tells us this, the number of emails I’ve received from employees that have told me that they were leaving, told me that they were sad to leave. But thanks to me, and our leaders and managers for the support, and the way that they’ve been treated through the process. And they all said and they finished off their emails with we would come back to HP in a heartbeat if we had an opportunity. And I always remember looking at my colleagues and saying, Wow, that was almost to the words as if we get it right statement that we’d written all these months ago as our North Star. Thanks for tuning in. I hope you enjoyed the session and remember, if we get it right, what will our employees say? Is the question that you want to ask when you think about your next change journey.

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