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Systems thinking.001

Crawford & Company, the world’s largest insurance claims management company, was in a challenging situation—it was losing market share, losing clients, and both staff retention and engagement were low. Recognizing this, the UK CEO asked the HR team to conduct an organizational transformation project, using an approach called “systems thinking.”

According to Pauline Holroyd, previously EVP Human Resources at Crawford & Company and now Managing Partner at Quo-change Consulting Ltd., “Systems thinking looks at and changes the customer journey based on what really matters to the customer. It focuses on having the right expertise at the right place at the right time.” For a company like Crawford, whose workforce is dedicated to helping people, this was the perfect approach, as it put the focus where it needed to be to achieve its mission and purpose.

The outcome of the project has been the creation of jobs designed to align with the new customer journey, achieving a wide range of positive results. These include reduced operating costs by eliminating activity that adds no value to the customer, decreased settlement times, as well as increased employee and customer satisfaction.


The Play

The “systems thinking” method Holroyd and team used throughout the project includes four key steps, the 4Ds:

  1. Diagnose. Work with key leaders to understand the current situation, looking at potential opportunities and agreeing the way forward.
  2. Design. Analyze cases and data, both historical and current, along with observations to thoroughly understand performance in service and financial terms. Develop and test versions of the new work design, looking for step-change improvements.
  3. Deploy. Roll out a new operating model to include workflows, tasks and roles.
  4. Develop. Implement ways to sustain the new model and embed change, which includes building measures that help leaders understand how their service is performing so they know where to action to fix problems and drive continuous improvements.

The results achieved by using this method across the business were absolutely staggering. From a  company perspective, customer satisfaction increased by 70% due to settlement times reducing by 40%, and settlement resolutions increasing by 25%.

From an employee perspective, job satisfaction increased as work was now more interesting and employees were having more positive interactions with customers. This led to reduced absences, decreased attrition and employee engagement increasing from 40% to 80%. These results show the transformation achieved through this strategic approach to job design.

In Practice

  • Make sure your jobs are designed to align with your company’s mission and purpose, driving performance in the right way to achieve this.
  • Ask yourself, are your jobs focusing time and energy in the right
    areas? If not, review them, borrowing from the 4D method
    described in this play.
Find more plays like this one in "The Rebel Playbook" 


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