UK Insurance.

Case study

Establishing a new culture and identity following an IPO

The challenge

UK Insurance was established in the late 1980s, and known as one of the UK’s leading insurance companies which specialise in selling insurance and other financial services directly to consumers through a variety of channels. With just under 14,000 employees and a presence in the UK, Italy and Germany, the organisation owns several of the region’s most recognisable insurance brands. Emerging from a robust history as pioneers of direct motor insurance and telephone insurance sales, the organisation divested from its parent group and successfully completed an IPO.

Whilst completing their divestment from their parent company, the organisation set about to recreate the entrepreneurial spirit that enabled them to revolutionise their industry in the past. The case for re-invention took centre stage as increased competition threatened their dominant position.

Specifically they needed to:

  • Create a culture that was nimble and able to react to the niche players.
  • Be lean and cost-conscious so they could respond to the conditions created by the introduction of cost-comparison websites.
  • Implement group-wide values and culture, yet recognise the uniqueness of multiple brands.
  • Get back to being the innovative leading player they have been known for.

The approach

Walking the Talk was chosen out of a selection of consultants, because our culture management and leadership methodology showed the end-toend solution needed to successfully change the organisations culture.

The first phase of work focussed on four streams:

UK Insurance - streams

Stream 1: Target Culture Development

Our approach started by defining with the Executive Team the Business Imperatives for which culture would be the essential enabler. Through a series of interviews and our Target Archetype process, which includes an interactive online voting process, we defined the target culture.

Stream 2 Executive Team Alignment

We undertook a 9-month process with the Executive Team, ensuring their alignment to the target culture and igniting their understanding of what it would take to lead their chosen target culture. We used the LSI 360 degree instrument in conjunction with one-on-one coaching. Coaching was instrumental in helping executives realise the impact their own behaviours had on leading the organisation.

Stream 3: Current Culture Assessment

Our Culture Capabilities Index (survey) was used to reach the top 2,200 people in the organisation in order to assess what the target culture was and how aligned the team were to reach this target. Our Discover deep dive qualitative methodology found the drivers of the current culture and enabled the Executive Team to pinpoint priorities. Through the process of identifying their own organisation’s current culture archetype mix and the discussion of where this might need to change, the Executives Team became very quickly aligned as a leadership team.

Stream 4: Culture Planning

Our Pathfinder culture planning process was used to bring together a group of culture leaders to champion the change process. A project team was selected out of this group who would be responsible for creating the culture plan - the roadmap the organisation would be using to change the culture and align their 14,000 employees to the vision and direction needed. The process allowed the selection of the critical behaviours and mindsets for year 1 focus, and resulted in a list of initiatives chosen for their ability to deliver the best return on investment.

The results

  • The Executive Team have changed their own team culture, and are fully aligned with a knowledge of the organisation they want the company to become after a challenging process.
  • Changes in Executive Team behaviour have been noticed by others - they are walking their talk - and this has given credibility to the culture change process.
  • The Organisation has an assessment against which they can measure change.
  • Culture plan has provided a framework for initiative implementation.
  • The organisation’s Culture Champions and Planning Team are confident they can implement the plan. Internal capability has been lifted through knowledge transfer.
  • The Executive Team are now confident and prepared to engage the next levels of management.
  • Immediate quick wins from the Culture Plan, including a significant investment in Celebrating Success signed off by the Board, are demonstrating commitment to the change process.
  • The Organisation has just joined the ranks of the FTS100 and continues to show strong performance.


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