Change is inevitable in any business organization. In the organizations, individuals, teams or the organization undergo changes in order to become more productive in future (Grol et al., 2007, 98). Factors that necessitate changes in the organization may include the growth of the company, strategic change in service delivery, the need to adopt the new technology and the desire to change the existing state of the organization in order to get to a desired future state among others. In order to ensure that any change in the organization will be in keeping with the goals of the organization, proper change management strategies have to be adopted and implemented. Change management is an approach that is applied in moving or changing individuals, teams or the organization itself from the current operational pattern to suit the desired future level. People in the organization are the main initiators of change management because the success of the organization and the output depends on their behavior. Organizational change may take different forms including strategic changes, structural or technological changes and/or change in the attitudes and behaviors of people in the organization.
This essay affords a critical analysis and reflection on a recent change management project or strategy that has been undertaken in a health organization. The health organization discussed in this essay is BUPA international; a leading health care organization in the United Kingdom and globally renown for its excellent health care services. The specific objectives of this essay is to assess the aim this change in relation to the organization’s mission and strategic goals/objectives, the change management strategies employed, the barriers and facilitators to the success of this change and finally the change leadership interventions that would be recommendable for BUPA international.
BUPA international recent change management project or strategy
BUPA international is committed to providing excellent health care services to its clients around the globe. To deliver quality services and manage its many center worldwide, effective centralized communication is essential. This will enable the organization to coordinate its centers to ensure that they offer quality services and respond promptly to the client’s needs and the needs of the organization’s individual centers. To respond to this call, BUPA international has sought a call center support from Azzurri communications. The choice of Azzurri communications was necessitated by the need for the organization for effective global call center management for its call center that is situated at the costal city of Bridgton, the company’s headquarter in England. Azzurri communications is one of the leading ICT managed service provider and will aid BUPA in centralizing its communication and organization administration in order to ensure effective service to the clients globally. As stated by Find A Care Home, the agreement signed between BUPA international and Azzurri communications states that the choice of Azzurri communications will allow BUPA to “centralize call processing and administration, improving its flexibility by converging analogue, digital and IP devices in a single communications environment” (Find A Care Home, 2010, p.1). This strategy will offer support to over 600 BUPA employees world wide as well as initiating the use of IP to other call centers around the globe. BUPA project manager, Stuart Pennington, felt that the strategy will boost the customer service in the organization and boost the quality of services offered by the company. It was also noted that Azzurri call center solutions shines in the market and therefore it will provide BUPA with the best services in the market. Bupa will be supplied with the internet protocol (IP) based communications which will enhance lucrative network across all departments and call centers of the organization.
The aim of the change in relation to BUPA mission and strategic goals/objectives
Bupa international operates in over 190 countries in the world and serves over 800000 members around the globe. The organization is headquartered in Bridgton from where the other centers around the globe are controlled. The mission of the organization is to offer the best health care services to the clients in order to satisfy their needs. The company is dedicated in providing all forms of insurance services related to health care. The clients may contact the organization on regular basis I order to enquire about the services or complaints. The company also needs to have an emergency line of contact where the clients can call in case of emergency. This calls for an active call center through out the day. That is the clients should be able to contact the company throughout the 24 hours in a day. The selection of Azzurri communications by Bupa is important in that it will help in managing the global call center for Bupa and ensure that the clients accesses help when in need.
According to BUPA (2010, 1), the vision of the organization is to become the world leader in providing the insurance healthcare services. The company has diversified range of products that are meant to meet the needs of the organization. The company wishes to establish a system that will guarantee integration of its people, property, products and the technology in order to ensure that they work together to satisfy the needs of the people. The organization also liaises with the hospital and clinics in all countries it operates in order to better the services offered to the customers.
The company approaches the hospital and the clinics to ask them to charge its clients a fair price any time they need help from them. All this process calls for a well improved communication system that allows proper coordination of the organization and hospitals and the clinics to ensure that they work together in serving the customers. To ensure proper integration of people, properties, products and technology, there is dire need to have effective communication system. This will ensure that the right products are available to the members at the time of need. There should be people and means of delivering the products or services to the members when the need arise. For instance, in times of accidents, the organization should be set to be in place to assist and rescue the clients. The presence of a centralized call center will make all these processes possible and efficient. According to Roche (2010, 1), Azzuri communication has improved its contact center and has come up with telephony solutions to improve its communication networks. This will provide BUPA with a twenty four hours support mainly to be used in serving the company’s 600 advisors and staffs to ensure that they offer the best services to the customers. The system is said to be capable of allowing multi-channel management system for customers and capable of serving thousands of customers at the same time. This will benefit the organization in keeping in touch with its members around the globe because they have a mean of communication.
According to BUPA project manager, Stuart Pennington, as quoted by Roche, the organization has “…more than 800,000 customers around the world, all in different time zones, who can contact us at any time by phone and email” (Roche, 2010, 1). He added that there is need for an IP based communications solution that will help the organization to improve the quality of services offered to customers. Since the customer scan contact the company any time, there was a need for a call center that is active for 24 hours. The system support offered by Azzurri Communications allows a 24 hours communication line which is reliable for Bupa international. It also provides a multi-channel contact management such that thousands of customers can contact the organization at the same time. The system desired by the organization is the one that can also allow exchange of information or conversation between email and phone and according to Stuart, Azzurri has the best global experience to offer and that is in keeping with the organization’s specifications. Azzurri will, also provide intelligent solution and excellent support which will enhance customer service and other communication services.
The change is also aimed at improving the human resource management of the organization. The company employs large number of people who aid in service delivery. The organization has operates in more than 190 countries and territories in the world and in each center, the recruitment criteria has to be the same in order to comply with the company policy. To coordinate the recruitment process around the globe, there is need for effective communication across all the centers of subsidiaries of the organization. Since the global call center will be located at headquarter, the organization will also be able to coordinate the human resources management in all the centers. The other centers will communicate their staffing needs to the company headquarter with ease. It will also be easier to conduct training for the staffs across all departments because communication is enhanced (Crisp et al., 2000, 104).
The organization has an evacuation team that is active 24 hours on daily basis to handle the clients in times of distress. This team needs to have proper coordination so that they get information about the clients who might be in danger. There has to be proper communication network that will ensure that the clients in need of help of evacuation contact the evacuation team. The contact system has to be well developed such that it allows many clients to be able to contact the evacuation team. The adoption of Azzurri technology will ensure effective communication between the clients and the evacuation team. Since more than one client can be in danger and in need of contacting the evacuation team, Azzurri technology will serve better for BUPA international because it allows thousands of people to make calls at the same time. At Bupa medical center, there is a team of about 90 specialists including doctors and those take action in emergency cases commonly referred to as emergency officers. There are also specialists in evacuation exercise. All these staffs work together to ensure better services to the organization. According to BUPA (2010, 1), these officers receive over 150000 calls from the clients requesting for help every year. This shows a need to improve the call center in order to ensure tat the clients are well served and at the right time.
With the growing technology in the world today, the use of call center has become very common especially in the service industry. Most of the organizations, health care organizations and other, have embraced the technology. The competition that exists among the health service providers calls for organizations to employ the available technology to satisfy the customers. Bupa international being a health service provider deserves to have an effective call center especially if it has to maintain its position as one of the world leaders in providing health services. The customers are also looking for the health care organization that has the best technology that ensures better services. Azzurri communications is capable of offering BUPA international a first class support in enhancing its communication technology. Working with Azzurri, a globally recognized communications solutions provider offers BUPA a competitive edge in the health care industry.
One of the BUPA international members in US as noted in the company website says that Bupa is only a call away. She has been a BUPA international member for 16 years and all she had to say is that the organization is only a call away from her. This is an indication that the company members appreciate the call center services. BUPA being customer centered and having the vision of satisfying the needs of its members will be well positioned in choosing Azzurri communications for call center solutions. More and more customers will benefit and be satisfied with the new call center.
Change management strategies and processes used
The change management process is the manner by which an organization makes changes and ensures that the changes are beneficial to the organization. Every change made by an organization is meant to improve the performance of the organization. However, unless the company uses the right change management strategy, the change my not be beneficial to it. A change management strategy is different from the process. The change management strategy is basically the approach that is used in order to initiate change in an organization. One of the strategies that BUPA international used in order to manage the change to the new call center with Azzurri communication is normative-re educative strategy. This strategy suggests that change is based on the organization’s initiative to redefine the existing values and philosophy and adopting a new one with total commitment. BUPA international assessed the needs that it had and found that they could not be met via the current customer service strategies. The organization therefore resolved to apply Azzurri communications technology in order to satisfy the customers. As the strategy suggests, the organization seem to have adhere to the cultural norms and values which reflects the behavior of the people. This shows tat the organization is asocial being and ill always adapt to the cultural norms. The organization is made up of people and these people are social being and they move the organization to adopt the cultural values and norms.
To some extent, and based on the change aims mentioned above, we can also argue tat the company used a power- coercive strategy. This kind of change strategy implies that change is determined by some coercive powers or authority. If we analyze the market situation in the world today, we find that some changes are no longer a choice of the company that wants to stay in the market. BUPA international had to just employ the communication strategy of a call center because the health service market in the world today demands so. Any company that wants to survive the competition in the market is mostly compelled beyond their wish to make some changes. This is because the market demands so. An organization may not survive the market unless it moves with the changing trends of the market. The use of call center has become much used in health care service industry and BUPA had to adopt it in order to stay in the market. The company in this case is making changes based on the pressure exerted by the market. The company faced with such a situation, also makes a power- coercive change strategy that the staffs will have to adapt without questioning.
To ensure the effectiveness of the change made by Bupa, the change was made through a process. This process ensured that the change management was made according to the needs of the organization. The first step in this process was to assess the readiness of the organization to make the change. This was made through observing the needs of the organization. According to Bupa international project manager, as stated by (Roche, 2010, 1), the organization serves over 800000 clients globally and they can call the organization any time. This is an indication of a need for a call center that is active through out time.
The second step was to come up with a future vision that could be achieved through the needed change management strategy. Bupa has a multilingual team of advisors and for them to deliver quality service to the customers all time through, they require a communication solution that is integrated with internet protocol (IP). Start Pennington states that BUPA “…need to be able to deliver multi-channel or integrated contact management, so we can link phone and email conversations to individual customers. Azzurri has the experience and scale to offer the global support we need.”(Roche, 2010, 1). This shows a vision that the organization is seeking to achieve through the new call center manned by Azzurri communications.
The other process is to engage leaders or other people who will offer support to the change management project. The success of BUPA change management strategy is the effort of the whole team of leaders who were engaged. The leaders communicated the idea and vision to other staffs of the organization for acceptance. After the acceptance of the project by the all people involved, there was a plan for staff transition. This entailed a plan of positioning some staffs to work at the call center. There was no staff separation that was done but more staffs were recruited to ensure that the call center has the right group of people. There was also facilitation of individual change in order to allow people to adapt to the change. The change adaptability skills were developed that enabled people to acclimatize to change. There was also creation of organizational alignment that included the policies meant to guide the new call center and its use. All the people involved had to follow the policies. Finally, the staffs were trained in order to gain the new skills needed to operate under the new call center model. The project was finally implemented ready for use by the organization. This is the process that led to completion of new call center change management strategy. There is continuous monitoring of the project to ensure that it achieves the desired vision.
Facilitators to the success of BUPA change management strategy
There are factors that are behind the success of BUPA change management strategy. The first factor is leadership vision and commitment to the change strategy. The leaders for BUPA international dead a vision that was to be achieved through the introduction of Azzurri communication strategies. The vision was to provide the multilingual advisors of the company with a multilingual communication that will enable the team to deliver quality services to the customers on 24 hors basis. This contributed greatly to the success of the change management strategy because the organization worked towards achieving the goals of the organization. The commitment of leaders to the vision achievement was a main facilitator of the success of the change.
The Commitment of the leaders improved the speed of executing some activities relating to the change management project because of easier process of making decisions. The leaders of BUPA international remained committed to their vision which was achieved through change that occurred or selection of Azzurri communications in provision of call center communication solutions.
The other factor that facilitated the success of BUPA change management project is the acceptance and adoption of the change by the people. The project was meant to benefit the members of the organization both the staffs and the clients. Their acceptance of the project was important because they were the beneficiaries of the strategy. Acceptance of the project by the customers was indicated by the response of the customers after the implementation of the project. As one of the BUPA international member noted that BUPA is only a call away, the idea of a call center was beneficial and acceptable to the customers. The acceptance by the staffs was indicated by their commitment to the vision of the whole organization with regard to the change (Daly et al., 2006, 38). The staffs remained committed towards achieving the vision of the whole organization that was achieved through the implementation of Azzurri communications supported new call center.
Staff effectiveness also played a big role in ensuring the success of the change. The staffs were trained on the new skills associated with the change project. This made them more effective in making the project a success. According to Churchill & Wellford (2006, 24), the effectiveness of the staffs was enhanced by their commitment to the vision of the project. Their acceptance of the project was also a key drive to their effectiveness of the organizations staffs. This contributed greatly to the success of the change because the staffs were capable of serving the customers under the new communication model.
The other key drive to change success is the organizational alignment that ensures there is a policy framework guiding the change management strategy. BUPA international had to set a policy that ensured that all the stakeholders followed the same guiding principles to ensure the success of the project. This policy is to be followed by every person using the call center to ensure that the success of the project is not compromised and to avoid individual opinions influencing the functionality of the call center.
Governance readiness is another facilitator of success of BUPA change management strategy. The vision of Bupa international is to be the world’s leader in the provision of health care services. In the implementation of the change project, the organization was ready to strive to dominate or emerge supreme in the provision of the health care services by having the best customer service system. This drive is a motivation factors to other facilitators because it increases one’s effort in achieving the vision.
Barriers to the success of BUPA change management strategy
Although the strategy succeeded, there are potential barriers that could have caused the project to implement as was desired. The first barrier was general misunderstanding of the need for the change. The organization operates in more than 190 countries and territories around the globe. This hampered effective communication of the desired changes to reach all the destinations. Some staffs in some parts of the world did not get the full information concerning the change strategy. This is likely to affect the project because some staffs did not give their acceptance of the proposal. In some situations, the change was communicated when it had already been implemented especially for some centers outside UK. The other potential barrier was low tolerance to change because people were not used to change (Jepson & Eskerod 2009, 339). This can affect the effectiveness of the change in the short run before a person adopts to change.
Change leadership interventions recommendable to BUPA international
The change leadership interventions that an organization should adopt are those that will help eliminates barriers and improves the efficiency of the change project (Greenfield, D. (2007, 162). For instance, BUPA international should incorporate change in the organizational culture so that people gets used to it. When change is part of culture, it becomes easy to implement change strategies (Duckett, 2005, 207). To improve the staff effectiveness, the organization should reward those staffs that are loyal in following the change policies that are set up. This will make the staffs more aggressive in adhering to the policies and this improves the effectiveness of the project. The other intervention is to make change al inclusive such that all members in the organization are involved (Johnstone & Lloyd, 2006, 171). In this case, there should be effective communication in order to ensure that the members are aware of the changes taking place. This will increase change acceptance by the members.
Change in any organization is of paramount importance because it addresses the emerging needs of the organization. Organizations should follow the right process to ensure that change benefits the organization. The members of the organization should be involved where possible in creating change in order to avoid resistance. Change should be incorporated in the culture of the organization.
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