Transforming Pushback Into Progress

When Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (NCBCBS) was on the verge of a major software transition (and potential employee mutiny), they realized that their old sledgehammer approach wouldn’t earn them many fans. That’s when THRIVE stepped in to temper employee pushback with a human-centered strategy.

Admitting that Change is a Scary Subject

In the past, NCBCBS applied heavy-handed directives that everyone was expected to embrace. We helped them realize that change is deeply personal, emotional and often scary. Thus, they would need to address the human side of change if they wanted to turn reluctant subjects into willing advocates.

Working a Few Days in People’s Cubes

With more than 6000 employees, NCBCBS had a hard time seeing its staff as individuals. We worked alongside employees, recording their fears, questions and emotions regarding the impending change. Then we turned 6000 workers into 6 key personas to help executives see their employees on a human level.

Tailoring the Rollout to Reach Everyone

We showed the company that change isn’t a one-way street; it’s a relationship-building exercise that doesn’t happen overnight. We then helped them use the six personas to understand what each type needed to embrace change without anxiety, laying out the entire process one employee-type at a time.

Employee Personas

Branding a Time-Based Adoption Framework

Once we knew how we wanted to engage each employee-type, we created a time-based adoption framework and communication map for each, then showed management how to engage people along the way in meaningful ways. Finally, we branded the change plan itself, creating a set strategy and processes for the transformation initiative as a whole.

Leaving a Big Brand Better Off

In the end, we set the process for an enterprise-wide, 4-year, $80,000,000 business transformation initiative that encouraged high-level peer engagement, nurtured momentum from thousands of employees around the company and empowered a workforce to become active agents during a moment of great transition. Furthermore, NCBCBS was left with actionable insights that they could use again and again to partner with their people, not impose upon them.

“These are fantastic [personas], we will be sharing these with our C-Level Executives—they will really open some eyes!”

Heidi Muller, Vice President ESP, Blue Cross Blue Shield

“I’ve never seen a process with as much rigor as this, it truly works and will inform our communications strategy tremendously.”

Keith Hayes, Director of Corporate Communications, Blue Cross Blue Shield

“This is just what we needed—the big picture. We have only been targeting two of these Personas in our change strategy: now we know who to communicate to.”

Dianne Mulcahy, Technical Project Manager ESP, Blue Cross Blue Shield

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