Client Case Study

A Catalyst for Change

The Key Challenges

  • Building on an incomplete in-house HR program
  • Converting a passive business culture into a proactive one
  • Getting the right people into the right jobs
  • Streamlining management structures
  • Providing objective assessments of staff needs

Mercuri Urval’s solution

  • Tier-by-tier management assessments
  • Analysis of how individual departments functioned
  • In-depth consultation with staff to identify strengths and weaknesses
  • Advice on how to maximize staff performance; for example through job moves or fresh recruitment
  • Working with staff to develop a performance-based culture
  • Providing clear conclusions and advice to inform client decisions
  • Offering a long-term development program to ensure lasting change



In an era when business practices are manifesting radical changes, companies need to adapt more quickly or face the consequences.

In many cases, that means converting a passive business culture into one featuring a much more active, performance-oriented approach.  Needed as well is the redefining and streamlining of management structures to make them more effective.

In one European country, managers in the local operation of a global financial services company* made a start on such a program of change by altering the roles of some of its several hundred staff. But they then wanted to know how they could take the process further – that was when Mercuri Urval was chosen to help with decision-making for the next phase of change.

The key question Mercuri Urval asks on every assignment is: does the company we are advising have the right people in the right places to enable it to move forward?
That sounds simple, but it’s often very difficult for leaders to identify all the problem areas hiding within their company bureaucracy.

This financial institution knew that our expertise and objectivity would be invaluable in identifying the sort of positive changes that may not be readily apparent to those working there.

A thorough review

Mercuri Urval was able to offer the complete range of assessment tools we use to ensure that our clients understood the whole picture about their staff structure.

We first assessed the top layer of around 30 managers working in the office and then assessed a similar number of managers in the next tier down.  As a next step, we looked at particular areas where there might be problems, such as individual departments. In all cases, we needed to judge how people’s skills could be best developed, whether they should be promoted, assigned to other responsibilities or perhaps helped to find work elsewhere.

We knew it was also important to assess whether the staff – even if they were good at their jobs – had a positive attitude to the new performance-based culture, as that could make a significant difference to their careers and to the company’s development.

Clear findings

As always, Mercuri Urval provided clear and forceful conclusions, enabling the client to take decisive action.

  • We identified a number of potential staff members whose promotion would not only  reward and stimulate them but would also further the company’s change efforts. We also concluded that many employees were either in the wrong job or needed to move from the company, suggesting appropriate action in each case.
  • We also encouraged those in management positions to be more courageous in their relationships with their staff and to provide better leadership – crucial qualities if the benefits of change were to be extended into the future.      

Lasting solutions

Mercuri Urval’s intervention at the company has now yielded results that are clearly visible. Changes that were easy to implement took place within the first two months, while those that required more complex solutions took up to a year to put in place. 

One year after our evaluation, around 30 per cent of the people assessed either had a new role or were in a new job within the company, so our help had a major impact. The right people were in the right place, high potential employees had been given more responsibility and those that were not suited to working at the company had left.

Our involvement not only acted as a catalyst for the general manager to make difficult staffing decisions, but it also changed the way staff members viewed their jobs. That is because what we did was not just about assessment; it was also about coaching and challenging staff members, so that they had a much clearer idea of what they needed to achieve.

*For confidentiality reasons, Mercuri Urval cannot reveal the client’s identity.

Benefits Recognized

The financial institution praised Mercuri Urval’s input and the close working relationship it built up with us, noting in particular:

- The high quality of our consultants and methods

- The team size we were able to offer – Mercuri Urval provided two lead consultants when some consultancies would have supplied just one.

- Our ability to provide our first class service at a lower cost to the client than most of our competitors.

And Mercuri Urval did not just walk away once we had made our assessment. We set up a longer-term development program to encourage leadership, involving training, setting goals to be reached and then debriefing after a few months. This ensured that our assistance made the maximum impact.