Case Study
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Industrial manufacturer’s management team develops skills and effectively leads company through significant change management initiative.

The Client:

A century-old multinational industrial manufacturer with over 6,000 employees in more than 20 locations.

The Challenge:

Following exponential growth throughout the last half of the 20th century, the company faced an unprecedented crisis. Challenges related to environmental, health, and safety performance had created legal problems and negative publicity that included national media outlets branding the company dangerous and irresponsible. In the face of these difficulties, the company lacked the systems and mechanisms for promoting and communicating a change in its organizational culture and operations.

The Approach:

With the full support of the company’s visionary senior leader, Clarus coordinated a highly complex change management initiative. Designed to sustainably strengthen the company’s environmental, health and safety performance and positively address its public relations challenges, the initiative touched on virtually all areas of operations, including communications, employee preparedness, EHS system development, community relations and stakeholder outreach.

In conducting a thorough organizational assessment as part of the initiative, Clarus found that although managers were highly knowledgeable in their respective areas of the manufacturing process, they lacked expertise in effective management practices. Given this state of affairs, Clarus recognized that recommended improvements in operations and processes would be short-lived if the company did not better equip its managers with the skills and knowledge necessary to lead employees through the change.

Working closely with the company’s human resources team, Clarus developed and delivered a management training program to meet the specific needs identified. Through interactive training sessions, participants examined several key management topics, including communication, team building, coaching and mentoring, conflict resolution, planning and metrics, and employee feedback. By presenting these topics in the context of the company’s current environment, and with respect to the individual personalities and management styles of the company’s key managers, Clarus helped ensure that the sessions resulted in meaningful dialogue and understanding at all levels.

Equally important, the management training program served the critical purpose of promoting buy-in and developing a sense of ownership among managers for the company’s ongoing culture and operational changes. As part of the training sessions, managers discussed the company’s current management structure, identified the collective strengths of the management team, and designated specific areas for improvement.

The Result:

The company’s commitment to management training resulted in the creation of a cadre of effective managers, poised to implement and execute new systems and processes. Having played an active role in the change management process, the managers supported the changes and felt accountable for their success.

Since implementing its change management initiative, the company received numerous awards and other recognition for environmental, health and safety performance from both the public sector and environmental advocacy groups. A corporate magazine developed at the recommendation of Clarus also has won national awards.

In addition, the company has implemented an outstanding EHS software platform. Currently, six of its facilities are members of the Occupational Safety & Heath Administration’s Voluntary Protection Program, which recognizes private companies and federal agencies that have implemented effective health management systems and exceeded national standards for prevention of job-related injuries and illnesses. With the help of Clarus, the company has improved operational performance, dramatically reduced worker’s compensation costs, and built significant relationships with environmental groups locally and nationally.

Clarus continues to work with the company to ensure that its efforts in management training, communications, community relations, and stakeholder engagement are sustained over the long term.