Navigating Change: Key Factors to Address While Implementing a Shared Services Model

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After careful consideration, your organization decided to move forward with implementing a shared services center. One of the most critical components of implementing any new function or operating model is the ability to manage the ripple effect known as change. Organizations often neglect planning for a transformation and focus more on the financial and tactical steps for realizing a solution. This leaves the focus on communication and people until the end of the project.

We recommend that leadership consider the following focal areas throughout the implementation of a shared services center:

1. People 

People are the heart of an organization. As humans, embracing change can sometimes cause unease, especially when moves, potential layoffs, or consolidations are underway. Conceptually, shared services provide a centralized platform to help an organization perform more effectively. But despite feeling uncertainty or angst, they must rely on its workforce to drive this change and solution. Throughout the process, involving people across the enterprise - from developing your vision through implementation of the shared service - is critical to its attainment. Ultimately, buy-in of the change by an organization’s workforce and assembling cross-functional teams outside of leadership to help with the decision-making and implementation will ensure its success.


2. Impact

In order to best prepare for change, it is critical to understand and address the impact on the people, the processes that surround them, and the technology leveraged to deliver products. Many organizations find that by implementing a shared services center, they can consolidate departments and eliminate physical workspaces. Consequently, new processes will need to be implemented to support the centralization of work, and the organization must ensure a positive response to the change to facilitate long-term success of a shared services unit. By including people as a part of the impact analysis and process redesign, you help the workforce continue to feel engaged in the solution and create positive energy.


3. Communication

When employers are transparent about change and impact, which is often the key to effective motivation and engagement, people will feel a sense of loyalty and involvement. To prepare your shared services center for maximum success, it is critical to communicate early, often, and clearly. Crafting consistent messaging that provides context for your employee base will help those who are apprehensive about the shared services migration to come on board.


4. Training

Implementing a shared services center results in a new way of operating. This not only applies to the individuals responsible for executing the functions, but to the rest of the organization that relies on the newly centralized role. It is imperative that your organization focus part of the communication effort in developing robust training materials, job aids, and a transition plan that positively reinforces the new processes, and provides your employees with a reference as they continue to manage their responsibilities. Having formal training and procedures will help reduce the uncertainty around new processing and empower people to accept the change. Leading organizations engage internal subject matter experts to train the shared services center teams in order to ensure the most effective and complete transfer of knowledge.


Undertaking the large change that comes with implementing a shared services center is not only logistically and tactically daunting, but organization leadership must also be cognizant of the impact of the adjustment. People are central to the success of an organizational change, and by involving them at all levels in the planning, communicating, and executing phases, the transformation can be managed effectively and have a positive impact.


Interested in learning more about shared services?

View our guidebook for an insight on the critical considerations and options organizations should evaluate before, during and after pursuing a shared services delivery model.

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