West Monroe partnered with this shipping company to evaluate frontline managers' effectiveness, as well as identify key challenges impacting employee retention and operational productivity.

The Challenge 

Business change and increased competitive pressures impact management effectiveness

Shifting market conditions and new government regulations pushed this shipping company to make significant investments in frontline management capacity. As the labor market tightened and employee turnover increased, managers had to take on additional responsibilities, including interviewing and training new hires. Heightened customer expectations and competitive pressures forced changes to service commitments and work days, leaving management teams extended.

As part of continuing efforts to improve, standardize, and modernize operations, they desired to gain more insight into how their management teams were spending and prioritizing their time. Their objective was to learn if these key managers had the proper direction and support to focus on value-add activities to drive team engagement, productivity, quality, development, and personal career growth, while optimizing the return of their direct labor spend.

The Solution 

Data shapes new understanding

West Monroe deployed their comprehensive Management Effectiveness Blueprint approach to capture the current state of management’s workload, mindset, training, workforce management tools, technology usage, and team engagement activities using a combination of both qualitative and quantitative data collection.

Scope included reviewing position descriptions, roles and responsibilities, and training materials for all in-scope management levels to gain understanding and alignment on the management teams’ actions and time allocation expectations. The team facilitated focused group meetings and interviews with executive leadership, corporate support functions, site management teams, and hourly employees to understand specific expectations for management. Additionally, they designed and tested observational activity studies to capture the right quantitative data via shadowing management roles across their shifts, days, and weeks. Finally, they created a representative view of the organization through studies of teams and volume levels across several facilities and geographic regions.

Armed with data insights, West Monroe created journey maps by management level depicting the observed day-in-the-life of each role, highlighting activity time allocation across a typical day and week, emotional journey experienced by each role, and key challenges. A gap analysis contrasted the differences in the organization’s documented expectations for each role, the reality of what each role was observed performing, and the desired activities/actions discussed by coworkers.

The Impact 

Closing the gap between work effort and value creation

West Monroe merged quantitative and qualitative data to provide a more insightful picture of the current state situation. 

Results of the study highlighted critical issues and distractions that were pulling managers away from their key responsibilities and reducing the time they could dedicate to team engagement. Managers only spent one third of their time running operations and engaging with their teams when organizational expectations were significantly higher. The consensus from manager interviews was that they wanted to spend more time engaging with and developing their teams.

West Monroe recommended process automation, work realignment, new communication strategies, and technology enhancements. This freed up capacity to coach and develop employees, improve consistency of the associate experience, and standardize roles and responsibilities. Ultimately, these factors will drive performance metrics, including employee engagement, turnover, and operational throughput.
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