PROOF | change communication & employee alignment

NN Hungary
Case study

Embedding the Agile way of working

It is leading insurer NN International’s (NNI) ambition to be a respected company that truly matters in the lives of its stakeholders. With aligned employees as important enablers in bringing this ambition to life, NNI needs to transform itself and create an environment in which the right talent feels empowered to be successful. A crucial element in this transformation is to implement a new way of working, including a new mindset and behaviour.

In a rapidly changing world, companies need to innovate and adapt faster than ever if they are to continue to give customers what they want. To support this, NN Hungary was the first pilot country to implement the Agile way of working. But how do you ensure you are not just ‘pushing’ a methodology, but truly helping your people to think and behave differently? NN Hungary asked PROOF to help.

Agile is a way of working that supports speed, flexibility, personal responsibility and entrepreneurship. So the challenge was how to foster the kind of confidence and empowerment needed to achieve this, and make it easy for leaders and employees to find their own ways to change, rather than just telling them what to do differently.

101 ways to empower yourself
PROOF developed a programme of activities and initiatives that would empower and facilitate leaders and employees so they themselves could make the Agile methodology work for NN Hungary. The idea was to give them easy access to all the tools they would need to succeed and flourish in an Agile environment. All of these initiatives and activities came together in one creative concept: ‘101 ways to empower yourself’. Simply put, this meant that employees were continuously linked to simple but effective ‘tips’ and resources they could use to help them in their Agile journey.

Stimulating change
The programme incorporated initiatives from HR, Communications and more to ensure that change would be stimulated from multiple angles simultaneously. At internal events and in key messages, employees were consistently reminded of why Agile was being introduced and what was in it for them.

From an internal communications perspective, we followed two strategic frameworks to align the right talent with NN’s ambition. We used the McKinsey Influence Model as the basis for our internal alignment activities, and we designed three communications phases based on the ADKAR model for change. The impactful creative concept, ‘101 ways to empower yourself’ helped us to communicate effectively.

Using these models, leaders and employees were encouraged to act as role models, sharing not only best practices, but also ‘screw ups’ so colleagues could experience the values of learning through experimentation. Employees and managers were guided towards training that would help them develop the skills and capabilities they would need. And initiatives were taken to create an empowering environment, such as a ‘Health month’ in which employees were stimulated to look after themselves and stay in good mental and physical shape.

Ready to launch
One of the tools employees received on the day NN Hungary officially switched to Agile was a personal copy of a special employee handbook created to help them thrive in the new organisation. The book is a playful, easy-to-read guide to everything you need to know as an employee – from the company values to what Agile means for you in practice, how to use the techniques, and what you can expect in terms of career development. The book also includes an extensive notes section where employees can record their journey.

The launch was successful and an important first step in starting the transformation to the Agile way of working for NN Hungary. Many employees attended the launch and their first reactions were positive.

Inside out
While the focus was on aligning existing employees for the change, NN Hungary also wants to attract the right talent for the new organisation. PROOF therefore helped develop templates for job vacancies that can be used as part of the organisation’s employer branding efforts.

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