Large-scale organisation change by Trevor Hall, Hydro Aluminium
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
1. The closure process
2. Managing large-scale organisation change
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
The Closure Process
Letters To Homes
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
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?
Jobs Market Day
6484 genuine vacancies
650 job seekers
6000 résumés supplied
15 jobs awarded on the day
792 interviews committed
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.
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.
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.
A Change Management
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
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
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
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
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?
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 www.facebook.com/trevor.hall.351756?ref=tn_tnmn
and Twitter at https://twitter.com/AcuateHR