Large-scale organisation change by Trevor Hall, Hydro Aluminium


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This was a great presentation at the HR Leaders Resources Summit 2013. It focused on a description of the approach taken to close an aluminium smelter in a socially responsible manner

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Large-scale organisation change by Trevor Hall, Hydro Aluminium

  1. 1. Large-scale Organisation Change A description of the approach taken to close an aluminium smelter in a socially responsible manner. HR Leaders Resources Summit 2013
  2. 2. Agenda 1. The closure process 2. Managing large-scale organisation change
  3. 3. The Numbers December 2011 Reduction in support staff 50 January 2012 Curtailment of potline 1 150 May 2012 Full curtailment of plant 338 December 2012 Mothball crew remaining 12 Total affected 550
  4. 4. The Closure Process Organise Town Hall Meetings Organise Consultation Letters To Homes Organise Exit Interviews Issue Redundancy ‘Quotes’ Organise Redundancy Expos Organise Exit Medicals Conduct Phased Exit of Employees Assess Employee Assistance Needs Connect Employees With Service Providers Manage Outplacement Service Provider Issue Redundancy Letters Organise Records Archiving Notify Centre Link Organise Centrelink Financial Advice Organise Training & RPL Organise Jobs Market Organise Smelter ‘Memories’ Book Manage Media and Communication Measure & Follow-up Success Rate
  5. 5. Process Step 9 – Conduct Phased Exit of Employees Task Responsible Date Develop phased curtailment plan by employee name SMT 6 June 2012 Publish plan by department and task SMT 7 June 2012 Interview and select outplacement provider TH/CF 9 June 2012 Input termination details in EIS & SAP HR JW Commenced Input termination dates into redundancy list DS Commenced Set dates and conduct exit interviews CF/DS/BL Commenced Prepare, print & mail certificates of service records JW/RK Commenced Print training records from EIS JW/RK Commenced Report weekly on progress to SMT & PM HR Oslo DS 29 June 2012 Process salary notifications & termination notices RR/IS/JK Commenced Finalise annual leave, approved leave and LSL balances RR/IS/JK Commenced Calculate final payments and effect transfers RR/IS/JK Commenced Prepare and mail final payment details to employees RR/IS/JK Commenced Set dates and conduct exit medicals CF/RK/DV Commenced Arrange training to be completed and verified in EIS BL/DS Commenced
  6. 6. The Doom & Gloom Approach
  7. 7. The Appreciative Approach Appreciative Inquiry is the cooperative, co-evolutionary search for the best in people, their organisations and the world around them. It involves the discovery of ‘what gives life’ to a living system. The inquiry is mobilised through the crafting of the ‘unconditional positive question’. What needs to be done in order to give our people a superior exit experience, so that in the face of adversity, they’ll leave commenting on how well they’ve been treated, better than they could ever have expected?
  8. 8. Jobs Market Day  70 exhibitors  6484 genuine vacancies  650 job seekers  6000 résumés supplied  Orica 300  ResCo 300  Midal 180 15 jobs awarded on the day  792 interviews committed
  9. 9. The Cowbell & The KPI
  10. 10. The Things We Feel We Did Well (1 of 2) 1. Made repeated reminders of the importance of maintaining a focus on safety. 2. Proactively managed stakeholders – Federal & State politicians, business leaders. 3. Ran a ‘tight’, professional communication campaign to announce closure. 1. The Chairman of the Board held town hall meetings face-to-face with employees. 2. Genuine openness, honesty, empathy & respect in communication. 3. Engaged professional expertise from FCR and Oslo to manage the media. 4. Addressed employee concerns quickly, including through Redundancy Expos. 5. Provided counselling & therapy services to employees if required. 6. Created a cross-plant decision making panel to maintain consistency & fairness. 7. Provided outplacement services through Pathways. 1. Worked with TAFE to provide Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) certificates. 2. Prepared all employees to enter the jobs market professionally, and with confidence. 3. Created a ‘positions vacant’ resource centre for job seekers on-site.
  11. 11. The Things We Feel We Did Well (2 of 2) 8. Provided additional funds for re-training & re-education. 9. Organised the JMD with enthusiasm and optimism. 1. Maintained the momentum caused by the JMD, e.g., interviewing services. 2. Used professionals in event management for the JMD. 10. Despatched problem employees early, legally and professionally. 11. Gathered input for the creation of the ‘Smeltdown’ book. 12. Publicised the positive, heart-warming stories that began to emerge. 13. Interfaced with DEEWR, Centrelink, and other service providers. 14. Reviewed the phased closure plan daily to provide maximum flexibility. 15. Followed-up on the re-employment KPI. 16. In dilemma situations, used the company’s values as a guide.
  12. 12. The Things We Feel We Could Have Done Better 1. Managed expectations regarding the outplacement service. 2. Secured a full-time resource to bulk buy from training providers. 3. Managed expectations for the Jobs Market Day. 4. Defined ‘real jobs available now’ better for the Jobs Market Day. 5. Been more assertive with local firms regarding their recruitment processes. 6. Encouraged more active and positive participation from the AWU seniority.
  13. 13. A Change Management Methodology Creating the vision Making change last Making change happen Involving the right people Forming the change team Communication Leading change
  14. 14. A Theory of Resistance to Change • The source of resistance to change is human feelings – people behave bad because they feel bad – no basis in logic or rationality so don't bother looking • Change mostly makes people feel bad – negatives are much more obvious than positives • Success = Overcoming Resistance = Modifying Feelings – anticipating feelings and responses, converting attitudes • Resistance is not wicked – natural, honest, organic vs. conscious, deliberate, evil • Managing change is a misnomer – manage emotions, sell change
  15. 15. Results at the End of the Closure Period  Zero LTIs – an outstanding safety performance  Record levels of production and quality  Zero scrap at the end of production  Zero disputes, no industrial action, highest levels of cooperation ever seen  Immense pride in cleaning and preparing the plant for mothballing  225 of 323 employees had found new positions at 31st December 2012  Zero suicides, family break-ups, depression  4 instances of counselling and support, short-term
  16. 16. Comments from AWU Delegates I can honestly say I don’t hold any ill feeling towards Hydro over the closure. Common sense tells you that you can’t keep running a business that’s losing money, and keep shareholders happy at the same time. I take my hat off to the HR team for the way they handled this very tough situation, and kept the doors to the department open at all times. I have been in my new job now for two months and I am really struggling with the change – it’s just not the Hydro way! I have no choice but to deal with it and get on with my working life. Trevor Morris, Senior Delegate, Carbon Plant I was angry and disappointed at the news of the closure, and found it hard to front up for work. Hydro provided more support than most companies would, and did a good job of that, especially with the Jobs Market Day. We didn’t have enough time together to grieve as a family over the loss. People were leaving and sometimes we missed saying goodbye – it just seemed to happen so quick. If anything, I think the counsellor could have been more visible, spent more time with us in the crib rooms, providing emotional support. Warren Hanley, Senior Delegate, Potrooms
  17. 17. A Short Exercise Form small groups of two or three and discuss the following; Why is it that after a closure announcement, management and shopfloor workers lay down their swords and start to cooperate like never before? What can we do, as HR professionals, to help bring such levels of cooperation into our businesses before the worst case scenario occurs?
  18. 18. Stay In Touch! Today’s short presentation has only scratched the surface of how organisations can best deal with large-scale change. If you are interested in learning more about how to apply a change methodology in your organisation, and being trained in facilitation of the tools, please contact me at; Tel: 0417 022657 To keep in touch, follow me on; Facebook at and Twitter at
  19. 19. Questions?
  20. 20. Thank You For Listening & Participating