Modelling HR success for a global media business

“The business now operates in a more coherent and centralised way.”

The unique challenge

The capability to deliver a large programme of change and transformation is not something all companies possess – and there are always curveballs.

But with the right support, anything is possible.

A global media and communications business was in a period of change, moving from a generalist HR model to one of specialist expertise and strategic advice.

We helped deliver a company-wide reorganisation of resources to ensure work was centralised, there was less duplication and HR could better support the overall business.

A completely new structure was needed in order to move away from ‘administrative personnel’ and towards better expertise from fewer people who could partner with the business to drive performance and growth.

The client needed expertise and delivery support to make sure the programme was effectively planned, controlled and would deliver the required outcomes.

The reorganisation would mean there were reputational risks to manage as well as legal and compliance risks emerging from the reduction in headcount and creation of new business functions.

Tools & thinking

To support the global change programme, we worked with our client to develop a common script and coordinated the process for teams from 70 countries.

Managing the project plan and implementing project governance, United Outcomes helped to hold people accountable, managed risks, made sure they were delivering as they said they would and managed the mechanics behind the change.

It was important for United Outcomes to challenge where necessary and assure the delivery of a controlled piece of change.

Treating people with dignity and respect during the transformation was critical.

Our consultants put in the additional time when needed, applied what they know works in terms of governance and made sure the right decisions based on the right data were being made.

United Outcomes developed a business case for investing in ‘human capital management software as a service’ technology to support the new organisational structure with a degree of self-service for managers and teams.

This wasn’t just about a new model, but giving them the confidence and the practical tools to make things simpler.

Success is never a straight line

Naturally, the period of change can be fraught – and it can be unsettling.

That’s why it was so important for us to coordinate this process in its entirety, ensuring the right communications were happening at right time.

The competing functions and staffing setup within the business created duplication across the company – customers were getting multiple competing offers from a number of branches and teams within the business.

United Outcomes managed aggressive timelines to ensure that the overall changes supported the drive to reduce costs.

When it came to reorganising the roles, we discovered that data management was very poor and it was difficult for our client to identify a single source of truth when it came to baseline headcount data.

We designed and applied a process to identify and manage the reorganisation and coordinated the selection process and the creation of the new roles.

This also enabled better control and sight over capturing the programme savings.


Our clients recognised the value that the right amount of governance structure and discipline our engagement brought them – but it’s always the supportive relationships between our people and the organisation that powers the change.

One of the biggest lessons for us was to make sure we should do our own validation if we are inheriting work done previously.

It’s crucial to allow enough time in the design process to validate assumptions fully, and plan the pacing of the transformation so that process, technology and people changes are closely aligned.

At the end of our process, the business now operates in a more coherent way – across HR, finance, technology and procurement.

The entire process can often be a catalyst for wider change in the rest of the business – so it’s important for us to create a positive experience which will have real, lasting change.

That’s part of what we call good 'Business Karma’.