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Avon Products Case Study

Avon Products Case Study

Introduction 

In early 2006, Avon Products, Inc., a global consumer products company focused on the economic empowerment of women around the world, began the most radical restructuring process in its 120 – year history. Driving this effort was the belief that Avon could sustain its historically strong financial performance while building the
foundation for a larger, more globally integrated organization. The proposed changes would affect every aspect of the organization and would demand an approach to finding, building, and engaging talent that differed from anything tried before. (Excerpt)

Avon Products or GE Money America Case Study
Instructions
From the Best Practices in Talent Management textbook, select either the Avon Products (Chapter 1) or GE Money Americas (Chapter 6) case study for this assignment.
Write a 5–7 page paper in which you:
Provide a brief description of the status of the company that led to its determination that a change was necessary.
Identify the model for change theory typified in the case study of your choice. Discuss what led you to identify the model that you did.
Illustrate the types of evaluation information that were collected and how they are used to benefit the company.
Speculate about the success of the changes within the next five years and how adjustments could be made if the results become less than ideal.

Avon Products Case Study Example

Provide a brief description of the status of the company that led to its determination that a change was necessary.

In 2006, Avon Products faced various challenges, including declining profits and flattening revenues. The company attributed these problems to the fast growth that could not be supported by the current’s organization infrastructure and talent. As illustrated in the case, the current processes, human capital, and infrastructure could only support half of Avon Products’ operations and functions (Effron, 2009). Of all the issues, the talent challenge turned out as a major concern.  There were gaps in how the organization manages its current talent as well as its ability to spot and develop talents. The leading causes of poor talent acquisition and management were weak talent practices.

Avon Products presented current talent practices as opaque to managers and associates, egalitarian, complex, episodic, emotional, and meaningless. The opaque trait was used to describe that managers never knew how the current talent practices worked or what their purpose was. Egalitarianism was caused by the culture of treating all the associates the same. This led to presenting unenjoyable work experience to top performers and managing low performers ineffectively. Performance management was complex, leading to low talent practices. Talent reviews, employee surveys, development, and succession planning were episodic since they were not done at specified set times for the entire organization but based on the frequency established by the individual managers in different regions. The emotional aspect in the talent practices was fueled by individual emotion and knowledge on key talent activities, talent promotions, and movement decisions rather than factual. Finally, the talent practices were labeled as meaningless as they could not be used to solve talent management –related issues.

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Coupled with the above challenges, the Avon Products initiated a restructuring of the company. The proposed changes included switching from regional to a matrix structure. There was a plan to reduce the organization’s layers of management from fifteen to eight. The company started initiatives of investing in Executive Talent. New capabilities were developed to bring many new leaders to the company.

Identify the model for change theory typified in the case study of your choice. Discuss what led you to identify the model that you did.

Lewin’s change management model suits appropriately in Avon Product, Inc. case. The model has been voted as the best in understanding for examining and understanding the organization’s structural change (Cummings, Bridgman, & Brown, 2016). Avon anticipated achieving structural change since the current organizational structure and culture were contributing to talent management problems. As exemplified in the case, the organization’s turnaround launch focused on restructuring the organization. Avon took this approach to move from regional to a matrix structure, to reduce levels of management, to invest in executive talent, and to develop new capabilities.

Lewin’s change model presents change as a three-step process: unfreeze, change, and refreeze. The unfreeze element is the first phase and focuses on preparing people for change. The top leadership explains to the people where the change is needed for offering reasonable and valid justifications (Burnes & Cooke, 2013). This step is required to reduce or prevent resistance for change for breaking the status quo. Avon, through the leadership of the company’s CEO, offered the reasons behind the change. It was revealed that the organization was facing six weaknesses that hampered the effectiveness of talent practices. By presenting problems, the leadership provided reasons why the change was necessary as well as grounds upon which leaders could use to bargain for change. The leadership established objectives whose achievement would address the current problems. For example, the organization aimed at moving from opaque to transparent, from complex to simple, from egalitarian to differentiated, from episodic to disciplined, from emotional to factual and from meaningless to consequential talent practices. To achieve these goals, the company employed various strategies, which are one of the requirements in the unfreezing stage. During the unfreezing process, the change leader is supposed to create strategies and communicate the need for change (Cummings, Bridgman, & Brown, 2016). In the Avon scenario, the leadership has communicated change goals and objectives to people to influence people to support and participate in change. The sharing mechanism and persuasive messages used in the change objectives influence employees to be part of the change.

The unfreezing method is followed by the change stage. At this stage, the real transition takes place, and it can be accelerated by communicating the change methodology, encouraging action, and engaging people (Burnes & Cooke, 2013). Avon effected change under each objective. For example, under “from opaque to transparent,” the company used a broad-based transparency approach to improve talent processes through career development plans, development courses, and performance reviews. Avon simplified complex talent practices by improving performance management. The differentiated objective, which was based on the egalitarian challenge, was achieved by making changes in various aspects, including how communication to leadership teams was executed, investment in executive, talent management was increased, and new talent practices tools and processes were adopted. The performance reviews were transformed into more disciplined ones with consistent global tools and processes being adopted. At the end of eighteen months, Avon had already met all the change objectives.

The freezing or refreezing stage is the last phase of Lewin’s model. The stage occurs when the proposed change has already been accepted and implemented. The changes are taken in as part of the company’s culture (Cummings, Bridgman, & Brown, 2016). The acceptance of Avon’s change by the employees has been illustrated in the measurement of talent turnaround success. Based on the evaluation of the results, there was an improvement in the effectiveness of the talent practices implemented (Effron, 2009). This shows that employees have embraced new talent practices as part of the organizational culture.

Illustrate the types of evaluation information that were collected and how they are used to benefit the company.

Speculate about the success of the changes within the next five years and how adjustments could be made if the results become less than ideal.

 References

Burnes, B., & Cooke, B. (2013). Kurt Lewin’s field theory: A review and re-evaluation. International Journal of Management Reviews, 15(4), 408-425.

Cummings, S., Bridgman, T., & Brown, K. G. (2016). Unfreezing change as three steps: Rethinking Kurt Lewin’s legacy for change management. Human Relations, 69(1), 33-60. DOI:10.1177/0018726715577707

Effron, M. (2009). Avon Products, Inc. John Wiley & Sons.

Skilbeck, R. (2019, March 30). Top 5 Talent Trends For 2019. Retrieved from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/rebeccaskilbeck/2019/03/30/top-5-talent-trends-for-2019/#fe87fb6784b2

White, G., & Marcos, S. (2009). Strategic, Tactical, & Operational Management Security Model. Journal of Computer Information Systems, 71-76.

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