Engineering Employers’ Federation

As a trusted partner to businesses across Britain, EEF (Engineering Employers’ Federation) provides employment, legal and health and safety support and advice, as well as general business assistance to over 6000 manufacturing, engineering and technology companies.

The EEF comprised many regional associations across England and Wales which traditionally had operated independently of each other. EEF identified that this lack of regional integration and operational synergy was having a detrimental effect on the organisation as a whole. It was for this reason that in early 2007 EEF embarked upon a two year change management programme in order to bring the regional associations together.

Simon Charlick, Director of Finance and Administration at EEF discusses the impact this programme has had on the business both on a management and operational level. He also explains how the use of interim executives is helping to deliver the long-term business objectives.

“For many years the EEF presented itself to all its audiences as a cohesive national brand with a clear purpose but behind the scenes lurked a fractured and increasingly costly delivery mechanism. We had a number of regional associations in England and Wales which were working autonomously with their own Board of Directors, finance committees and operations. This was proving to be an inefficient way of working and a drain on the Federation’s resources, therefore the decision was made to fully integrate the associations, in order to guarantee complete alignment, resource efficiencies and a common approach."

"We recognised that this business restructure would be an extremely challenging process, and that in order to be successful it was vital specific goals were identified and agreed. The business needed the streamlined organisation to be in place within a two year timeframe which meant that aggressive targets needed to be set. In order to effectively deliver this transformation we designed a change management programme in order to help identify the critical functions that would be affected by the restructure including IT, Finance and Marketing. By working through this process, we identified that IT would be one of our biggest challenges, therefore we needed to hit the ground running in order to achieve our goals. The IT programme had a specific completion date of 18 months and the IT Director position was never planned as a permanent role so we decided that an interim placement would be the smartest way of sourcing a candidate who had high levels of experience in both IT and change management. It was at this point that we turned to fast-track headhunting company, Executives Online to help us find exactly the right candidate for the role."

"Within a matter of days the team at Executives Online was able to provide us with a short list of high quality candidates. Following interviews with our top team, Brian S was offered the position of Interim IT Director. We were confident that his level of knowledge and expertise would produce positive outcomes from day one and ensure that the IT change programme would be delivered to time as well as an improved “business as usual” service to our 600 users. Brian’s positive impact on the business became evident from the start and this continued throughout the 20 months of the contract."

"After a few weeks in the role Brian had a plan in place to deliver the key elements of the IT strategy which included: to join up all locations on a single network; to ensure every location operated from a corporate email system; to put in place the foundations for a consistent approach to an IT service, and most crucially, to provide the newly constituted business with a single membership relationship platform. Each of these goals was achieved within the required timescale, despite a number of technical and cultural challenges. Brian’s achievements are a complete vindication of using highly skilled and experienced interim professionals for comparatively short-term assignments. The engagement with Executives Online and Brian has been a total success for EEF and I commend these two parties to any organisations faced with similar change management challenges.”

"Brian’s achievements are a complete vindication of using highly skilled and experienced interim professionals for comparatively short-term assignments."

Anne Beitel, Managing Director at Executives Online explains: “By working with EEF to establish a profile of the ideal candidate in terms of abilities, skill sets and experience we were able to initiate our Fast-Track Search which allowed us to quickly respond to EEF’s requirements. Brian was well known to Executives Online as a career interim who had successfully fulfilled a number of assignments for us and had also received no less than three nominations as Interim Manager of the Year from our clients, so his track record was unquestionable.”

“It was vital for us to ensure that a succession plan was in place when the time came for Brian to complete his contract. This involved both Executives Online and Brian playing an active role in recruiting his permanent placement,” says Simon Charlick. Anne Beitel continues: “Although there is often a sense of urgency with interim placements, we apply the same unique approach to any permanent executive roles we undertake. The key is to work in partnership with the client to establish exactly the type of candidate the organisation is looking for which we do through our candidate profile and selection process.” In a matter of weeks EEF offered the position of Head of Business Systems to Andy L.

Brian S comments further: “Any seasoned interim is starting an “exit plan” from day one of the assignment and despite the challenges, EEF was no different. By closely working with myself and EEF to define the brief, Executives Online was able to align with EEF’s requirements for my permanent replacement. I have carried out a number of different interim placements with Executives Online and continue to be impressed with its rapid response and ability to match exactly the right candidate to a particular role. Unlike other agencies who may only speak to you when a position becomes available, the team at Executives Online communicate regularly and demonstrate genuine interest in finding out how everything is going for me and my established career in interim management.”

As part of the new structure of the organisation, EEF had to establish and develop its new management team, which brought to the forefront a position that needed to be filled. After agreeing the job brief with EEF, Executives Online provided a short list within a matter of weeks and John D secured the role of Financial Projects Manager in February 2009.

The rapid response coupled with Executives Online’s ability to provide high quality candidates have played an instrumental role in forming a strong partnership with EEF. “By providing us with exactly the right candidates for the required roles we are certainly well on our way to achieving our business objectives. It is for these reasons that we will continue to work with Executives Online for both permanent and interim executive placements,” says Simon Charlick.