The implementation of climate change initiatives


This paper will outline the activities undertaken by the group to identify, introduce and implement climate change based initiatives within an organisation. The organisation chosen by the group is "Randstad" where group member Zabi Sahid is employed as a SOMETHING. Randstad's primary business is that of recruitment and Human Resource service provision.

Five initiatives were identified as potential climate change processes with which to make a genuine effect on Randstad's environmental impact, green credentials and reduce cost. The changes proposed are realistic in nature and have substantial a long-term behavioural change component, however the group was cognisant of structural and organisational changes within Randstad, and thusly avoided areas of functional impact.

An analysis was performed of the history of the organisation incorporating management structure, the current company environment and effect of the recent acquisition on staff reaction to change.

Organisational Context

Randstad is a global Human Resource (HR) services provider; the company has a presence in 52 countries around the world controlled by the head office in Diemen, The Netherlands. The mission statement of the company is to "take the lead in shaping the world of work" as part of this mission the Australasia region is aiming to become the premier provider of HR services.

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Within the Australasian region, the company has offices in all major cities in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia; the head office operations run from the Sydney office. The infrastructure of the company such as Information Technology (IT), Payroll and corporate services operates from Sydney. The hierarchy of the company employs a flat management structure across all regions. The company is roughly divided into five different "concepts". These concepts are titled "Staffing", "Professionals", "Executive", HR solutions" and "In-house Services".

Each concept caters for different industry requirements, for example the Industrial market falls under staffing while the professionals division services the accounting market. The division of the markets and alignment with concepts is one of the key strategies of the company in working towards the mission of the overall organization.

Management Structure

Randstand as a global organization can be described as a geographic/market structure, this enables the organization to recognize the local cultures and markets where the business operates in (Standford, 2007). The Australasia presence is structured as a matrix structure; this allows for greater flexibility and allows the various divisions to be able to communicate effectively across all management levels.

Whilst Randstad is relatively flat from a management perspective, it still implements some hierarchy that is common to most business. At the top of the hierarchy is the Chief Executive Office (CEO). Reporting to the CEO is the head of the two divisions Operations and Infrastructure. This reporting line is replicated across the five concepts with State and Office Managers responsible for local management.

Organisational Environment

The environment can be best described as dynamic as the result of many internal and external influencing factors. These reasons include recent changes to the business structure due to acquisition, global economic situation and the changing Australian economy. Due to these factors it is important to consider the three dimensions of Large-Scale organisation changes (Mohrman et all 1991), the depth of change, pervasiveness of change and the size of the organization, by aligning the current organization environment with these three factors as described below it allows for a better assessment of the proposed changes to ensure that managing this large scale change across the organization is done in an effective manner focusing on the depth of change to create a paradigm shift. This shift is towards self-supporting changes as a way to push the green initiative to be embraced and then driven by the organization and its employees in the long term.


Vedior NV in 2008 the international parent company for the HR services business operating in Australia was acquired by Randstad, the Vedior acquisition resulted in a change of strategy for all Vedior organizations. On 30th March 2009, as part of the new strategy, twenty specialist recruitment and HR services brands each operating as successful brand names by individuals loyal to these brands changed to Randstad. These brands include major market players Select Appointments, Select Industrial, Select Accountancy, Clayton Ford Recruitment, Tanner Menzies, Sapphire Technologies, Clinical One, TPA and Jarrah Consulting. The integration process is an ongoing one and currently the organization is moving towards achieving standard processes and procedures, integrating all the IT systems and working towards a common platform for finance and payroll.

Economic situation

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Unfortunately the acquisition happened during a period of global economic uncertainty, this resulted in the company cutting costs and shrinking the workforce from twelve hundred employees across Australasia to seven hundred. However in recent months the company has gradually recovered and is now employing close to twelve hundred staff, back to its original size.

Given the above factors it can be said that the company is still in a change process and the current employees are familiar with change. Introducing a green initiative, so far, has been seen as a positive direction and is welcomed by the senior management

Key Stakeholders

There are five key stakeholders for Randstad and this change process. The stakeholders are the employees, the clients or customers, firm shareholders, Charities and external vendors. The employees are most involved in the early stages of the change process due to the result of the changes being directly driven by their agreement and action of the planned initiative. Clients should tangentially be involved through communication of the program promoting Randstad's environmental awareness. Shareholders, being interested mostly in short term gain, also like a company that can demonstrate socially aware policy whilst reducing costs. Charities and faith-based organisations are more likely to be associated with companies with similar social leanings. External vendors are impacted through the requirements that Randstad will make on them for greener IT equipment.

The Case for Change

History of the Change Process

Over the past two decades, a growing number of organisations have had to introduce some form of change throughout their organisations. This change is often required to make the company more effective and efficient and in many cases is ultimately necessary for that company to remain agile and competitive in today's fast pace and ever challenging business environments. Change is not a simple process and it is estimated that 70% of change initiatives fail (Beer & Nohria 2000, pp 133), therefore it is important to understand the change process and adhere to a pre-selected model before embarking on a change initiative.

From the point of view of a company understanding their 'carbon footprint' and taking steps to address these issues is something that more businesses are doing either to assist the environment, reduce costs or to enhance their branding. Regardless of the reason, to address climate change the organisation must introduce changes to its current processes and in order to be successful and ensure long lasting sustainable change, management must approach this project adhering to a pre-selected change process.

How and Why Did We Get Where We Are?

The team selected Randstad as the organisation that would be best placed to introduce and implement the selected environmental changes. Randstad is currently going through a number of changes including the rebranding of the company in this region; the consolidation of a number of offices and the company wants to be seen as a leader in this field amongst its competitors. Zabi Sahid, a member of the IT team at Randstad, is passionate about the environment, has the backing of senior management and therefore is in a position to carry out the required changes. The team reviewed these factors and felt that there was sufficient alignment between Zabi and the company's goals that would allow the team to apply the selected changes into Randstad. We deemed that the changes needed to be small but powerful enough that if executed correctly would be sustained and therefore open the way for further changes to be implemented. Based on current company habits the following changes were put forward, over the next two weeks and for the benefit of this assignment the first two changes will be implemented:

Reduce electricity usage - Throughout the organisation it has been observed that large amounts of electrical devices are left switched on after hours. Devices such as Plasmas TV, computers and projectors have been left on overnight using electricity with no-one watching. This initiative is to change the company culture so these devices are switch off.

IT recycling - Every year large quantities of computer equipment and related infrastructure are disposed of by Randstad. The disposal method of this equipment can have a negative impact on the environment if not recycled. Many companies such as SIMS Metal use various methods to recycle these devices and re-use the resultant material.

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Operating hours for Personal Computers (PCs) - In a similar vein to reducing electricity use is using technological means to enforce operating hours on computers. Using policies to enforce log off and shutdown of users can assist in energy reduction without direct employee action. The impact to the employees is training and enforcing the necessity of not leaving work open over night.

Printer cartridge recycling - One of the most prolific contributors to e-Waste is printer cartridges. Planet Ark (2010) estimates that eighteen million cartridges are used every year, with eighty percent going to landfill. They offer a service called "Cartridges 4 Planet Ark" which aims to recycle as many cartridges as possible.

Paper recycling - A long standing recycling tradition has been paper recycling. The Australian Government's Productivity Commission found that paper constitutes twenty two percent of the waste generated by business (2005, p. 19). By implementing paper bins at Randstad it is envisaged that the amount of paper recycled should approach ninety percent.

What are the Forces that Drive and Constraint Change

To be successful at implementing and managing a change project into an organisation we, as leaders, need to be cognisant of and manage the forces that drive and constraint change. This can be achieved by applying Lewin's three step model of change incorporating the three stage method of change management; unfreezing, changing and then refreezing (Robbins, p. 1996). This is designed to help us find the status quo, with which we can move to a new stage and a new set of behaviours by either increasing the driving forces and or decreasing the restraining forces enacting the unfreezing portion of the change plan.

The forces that drive and constraint change will depend on the size and nature of the change and the culture of the organisation that is been changed. Given the previous positioning of Randstad as an organisation that is accustomed to change however we must be aware of 'change fatigue' (Beaudan 2006).

Introducing the green initiatives to this organisation does not threaten employee job security but it does force employees to change certain processes or ways of doing things, therefore the restraining forces are not so severe, but we do want to ensure that change is sustainable and therefore we must understand the driving and restraining forces facing Randstad trough this change:

Driving Forces

Reducing costs - A motivator to adopt the proposed change will be driven by the reduction of costs. The company will see savings in areas such as electricity charges and by the recycling of printer and paper

Passionate Change Agent - Zabi Sahid has a passion for the environment and is committed to drive the desired change in the organisation to achieve this purpose

Corporate Social Image - Randstad wants to project an image of social conscious among its competitors within this field

Brand recognition - Ranstand is in the process of merging its 20 offices under the one brand, aiming to become a leader in their market are therefore looking to establish brand recognition in this region

Restraining Forces

Changing the current behaviours - Change is never easy and making changes which are designed to change the culture of the organisation will come with some resistant from many areas

Not wanting to lose individual brand identity - With 20 offices losing their individuality there will be some resistance to change from those employees who are not able to adapt

Afraid of becoming one large organisation - Not understanding or adjusting to the processes which a large multinational organisation such as Randstad now needs to deal with

How Urgent and deep is the Change

The topic of climate change is divisive, however more and more organisations have to address understanding that doing nothing will impact the cost of running the businesses in the long run. At a minimum being recognised as working for the environment enhances the organisation's brand. Randstad is currently in a state of change and is working towards brand awareness and company unity. Zabi has identified these drivers and recognised this as the perfect opportunity to address management and get their buy-in to adopt the green initiatives discussed above. To ensure that complacency does not creep in before these changes have been adopted and the "new way of doing things" has been implemented; Zabi needs to establish a sense of urgency which is crucial for gaining much needed co-operation to make the change process possible (Kotter, Leading Change, pp36).

Sense of urgency is ad driver for people to want to enact the required changes; it allows the changes to be adopted by all and helps us push towards total integration.

Whilst we need to identify and push for high sense of urgency, we also understand that this change is not considered a deep organizational change. We are not proposing to change the structure of the organisation nor are we proposing changes to core business processes that affect the way Randstad runs its business. We are taking some of its processes and re-educating people on better ways of doing things which have a much better affect on the environment and as an extension will bring benefits to the organisation through costs savings and brand awareness.

What are the Expected Realistic Time Frames

With a workforce of around 1200 employees across Australiasia and 20 offices, it is expected that the changes put through will be adopted initially by the Sydney office and later applied to all 20 offices. The team estimated that a realistic time frame for all changes to be applied throughout Randstad would be between 9 to 12 months. However, for the purpose of the assignment and as a proof of concept, the initial two tasks to reduce electricity usage and IT recycling within the Sydney office have commenced and will be in place within one month. The company will start to see small wins in the form of costs savings within the first three months of implementation.

Analysis of the change to date

As the first step in the Change process, a review of the Organisation's existing core processes was conducted. The Managing Organisational Change (MOC) group discussed the Motivation, Interaction, Visioning and Structure within Randstad (Barnard 1938) to better understand the constraints and opportunities for successful change.

It was identified that Green initiatives were under the sole remit of the Facilities Manager. To date no initiatives had been implemented by her, due to minimal time and focus. If not addressed appropriately it was feared that the Facilities Manager would question the motives of another party attempting to implement such initiatives and not provide any support. Zabi's initial approach had respectful of her position and not perceived to be threatening to her power base.

Another constraint taken into account was the geographical location of the Randstad offices, which were located nationally throughout Australia and several other countries. In order to drive success and maintain urgency within this constraint Kotter's (1996, p. 65) quick win approach was chosen. The initiatives were to be implemented in the head office on floor-by-floor basis, as a starting point for gaining momentum and credibility for more widely spread changes.

Taking into account the analysis of Randstad's current state, the MOC group produced a Vision statement to define and clearly articulate an achievable purpose for which all change activities related to this initiative would be aligned. Utilising this core process of visioning (Barnard 1938) serves to provide a common goal for the organisation. The Vision derived is

Achievable initiatives for promoting sustainability and green awareness

Kotter (1995 pp63) sights that change often fails due to lack of or overly complicated visions, even though detailed plans, directives and programs are in place. In this instance the Vision provided the MOC group and the Sustainability committee with a clear sense of purpose and direction from the outset.

Having defined a vision, practical examples of Green initiatives that had previously been implemented were sought from within the MOC group. As Randstad had not previously implemented any formal green initiatives, a Greenfield approach was taken. In an effort to increase the success of the change and ensure alignment with the Vision, the initiatives were selected based on cost, speed to implement, practicality and ability contribute to the sustainability of the planet. The two initiatives implemented during the timeframe of this assignment were "Reducing electricity usage" and "IT recycling".

In an effort to seek stakeholder buy-in, and having already gained the support of senior management, it was agreed that Zabi would approach the Facilities Manager informally and offer to assist her in driving Green initiatives throughout the organisation. Using persuasion, Zabi appealed to the manager's motivation by offering to take responsibility and drive the initiatives on her behalf; addressing the time constraints currently placed on her. The Facilities Manager welcomed this approach and Zabi was then asked to join the sustainability committee. This provided the opportunity to utilise another Barnard (1938) basic process of interaction.

At the first committee meeting Zabi proposed the initiatives agreed by the MOC group and articulated the impetus for change. Zabi noted the reduction in operating costs and an immediate ethical and moral duty as the case for action. As the sustainability committee had performed minimal work, for example no existing Vision or defined initiatives were being put in place; Zabi's proposal did not conflict with other priorities. His convincing and well-planned case was approved for implementation by the rest of the committee. Zabi has essentially established a 'guiding coalition' (Kotter 1995, p. 62) with which to drive these changes throughout the company.

The strength of the coalition called to action by Zabi was assessed against Kotter's findings that the most successful cases of changes are carried out by coalitions with great power based on 'titles, information and expertise, reputations and relationships' (Kotter J.P, Leading Change, pp62)

Based on these criteria, it was determined that the leadership group possessed enough power to implement the changes. The group contained respected senior managers from different areas of the business, possessing an array of expertise applicable to the change, with direct lines of communication to executive management.

Adding strength to the leadership group was the process of Selection (Barnard 1938) they conducted to identify suitable individuals including Office Managers and Executive assistants to assist in implementing the change. As part of this process the leadership group chose only individuals who were open supporters of the change.

What still needs to be done

The change undertaken to date has focused on achieving a primary quick win so as to bolster belief in the effectiveness of the change process. Kotter (1995, p. 65) identifies quick wins as a way to maintain momentum during the enacting of the longer-term change plan. In this way, if the Randstad and staff can see cost and environmentally improvement from the implementation of something as minor as simply switching off equipment outside of hours then delving deeper into green initiatives will be seen as providing even greater benefit. Due to the billing cycle and time frames associated with this section of the change measuring the results of the change is not possible. By using the Randstad electricity consumption report provided quarterly we will see a reduction in the cost and usage as a result of our change. This will then be held up as an example of positive action by the sustainability committee on which to build a consensus within the company that all staff '…agree on what they want' (Christensen et al., 2006 p. 73). Influencing and identifying the mindset of the company towards the same goal allows us to identify the appropriate co-operation tools needed to implement the remainder of the plan.

We must understand the impact of our change on Randstad. To do this we need to use the measurement tools available to identify that we have made a difference. As previously mentioned, the main measurement tool will be the electricity usage for the quarter in which the change was enacted. Presuming a favourable report, this then needs to be communicated extensively and with authority. Kotter (1995, p. 63) outlines that under-communication is major failing when implementing change in an organisation. In this case, the sustainability committee needs to email, pin up notices and "drop in" to conversations the success of the initial initiative. A senior level manager, preferably the CEO, should also publicly communicate their congratulations on the success of the change and make clear that it was only through companywide action that such a large impact was realised. They should also herald that this is the building block for the upcoming program of works by the sustainability committee. These actions legitimise the sustainability committee as a body for change and give authority to any suggestion or directions they require the company to perform.

In the measuring the success of the change it might be found from the report the electricity usage has not substantially changed or there is no clear indication that the change action has had any impact. This may be due to the report being unclear or even clearly stating that there is no improvement. In this situation the sustainability committee needs to be creative in order to continue to push for change without a quick win being available. Despite having no success to "trumpet", communication surrounding the initiative needs to continue and become even more prevalent. Ford et al. (2008, p. 368) identify the 'Existence value of Resistance' in which they identify that if people are talking about a change then at least it is still alive, the worst thing for a change is no discussion, which can indicate apathy towards co-operation. Keeping the conversation alive avoids the trap of implementing an action and then having it drop away, out of public consciousness. The communication in this instance needs to be positive for example "To date we've implemented energy efficiency initiatives that have had a visible impact on electricity and company wastage". The initial change will have modified staff behavior to be more alert of switching off monitors, computers and televisions, so in this way with staff noticing that these items are no longer left running this represents the success of the action.

It is necessary now to build on the action and start communication around the approaching initiatives to be implemented by the sustainability committee. The very first of which should be a part of the "success" communication described above. A buoyant sounding "I want to thank all staff for their involvement in making this step of the plan a success and would like to introduce the next step of the plan…" should bolster the change as a positive mission in which all the staff are involved. Consistent communication to the business should be made with weekly updates in exciting to read formats concerning the progress of the change plan and any current initiatives that are being executed. This serves as reminder to the business that the company is committed to these changes and also informs them on their required involvement.

Change Plan

Time constraints of this assignment limit the practicality of our plan, so the plan to extend our efforts to national coverage, covering all regional offices within Australia, has been planned over a timeframe of six to nine months. This section of the report will discuss the practical steps to be taken in order to achieve and efficient rollout of our 'green' change program throughout all (# of offices) regional offices within Australia. To ensure we understand our employees, and to assess whether or not they are aligned with Randstad's green vision, we plan to rollout a self-awareness campaign through the use of a staff survey which will establish a general baseline of where our employee's stand. The results of this survey will emphasise where we need to target our initiatives. The results will be aligned with the 'green' vision and published, then distributed to our employees to educate and reinforce the vision of the company. We will be using Kotter's (REFERENCE) change management framework to implement the change, but after a redesign of the framework to suit the context in which it will be implemented.

Establishing a Sense of Urgency

By now a sense of urgency is already in the minds of all employees within the Sydney Office. This has been achieved by the combined communication methods the sustainability committee has used to educate employees; both on the importance of the proposed 'green' initiatives and the benefits it will bring not only to Randstad, but to the general community. The challenge remaining is to extend the urgency out to all national offices within Australia. The plan requires gaining buy-in from people who are willing to transform and help educate our staff on the importance of aligning their behaviour with our 'green' vision.

It is essential that the management team is vocally supportive of the goals of the sustainability committee in order to promote the change. Participation of managers is key, to set example to others that the 'green' initiative is the right thing to do. Management will be more cooperative if they can see the results of the previous short-term wins (goals which were achieved during the implementation of the first two initiatives). Randstad management may consider using positive incentives in order to encourage, or influence, employees behaviour to accept the change (Clayton, Matt & Howard 2006), including awards and recognition for their achievement and commitment to the cause.

Forming a Powerful Guiding Coalition

The key transformational leaders who took part in the change program on a local scale need to champion this drive and to help motivate people to be aligned with Randstad's 'green' vision. Our first priority is to quickly establish who shares our vision and to target employees across multiple levels and functions within Randstad (John 2007). The national 'green' team will need to work together to establish a sense of trust and share a common vision.

Communicating the Vision

Our plan is to have the CEO endorse the change and the 'green' team to communicate the vision on a national scale. Our suggested method of communication is to have the CEO send out a general email explaining the 'green' initiative and what it means for Randstad employees. During this communication strategy, the 'green' team will use the SharePoint portal that was created previously to keep the national employees informed of the vision and what it means to be aligned with it. Our communication strategy is an important part in order to get all employees engaged and to be motivated to work towards the vision. If our employees don't believe in the vision, they won't work towards it. The communication strategy needs to be extended out to each of the transformational leaders who have been selected in the coalition. These individual are a key in order to promote and communicate and make meaning of the vision (Waterman, Peters & Phillips 1980) and embed the vision in the minds of our employees. Our members need to believe in the change initiative in order for Randstad 'green' vision to be effective and efficient.

All our key stakeholders, including our staff, need to assess what sustainability means to them, and be informed of the sustainability initiatives impacts to the organisation, this will help their mental models to be aligned with our vision. This can be achieved during communication of our vision using all available media, including but not limited to, email, SharePoint, team meetings and posters.

Empowering Others to Act on the Vision

Creating ownership and pride of work amongst employees will be a challenging task, but positive reinforcement and recognition is likely to encourage workers to continue to participate in 'green' activities such as daily commitment to turning off their monitors and the use of recycling paper. It would be very difficult to allocate the task of our fourth initiative, that of recycling printer cartridges to all staff. This would be more appropriate to dedicate this routine task to one or two people who will change the toner cartridges, and organising an appropriate company who provides a pick up-drop off service for recycled printer cartridges. Providing the right working environment (recycling bins and power points which are easy for staff to access and turn on/off) will easily enable staff to comply with the 'green' vision.

Another empowering device, for the sustainability committee, to help implement our green initiatives is automating the power down of computers throughout the company by using the third initiative of "operating times for computers". By using technical means of limiting the hours that groups of users can gain access to the systems we can enforce a shutdown of those machines outside of those hours.

Planning for and Creating Short-Term Wins

Short-term wins promote achievement and this inspires people to reach for bigger goals and to continue with their projects. Having goals that are measurable allows easy evaluation and publication of results. It allows the 'green' team to reward people for their efforts, through congratulations or incentives that will trigger them to promote the change through positive endorsement of the project. We are in a good position to aim for short term wins on a national spectrum, because these wins have already been achieved in the Sydney region. We can learn from previous mistakes to improve our implementation and delivery and increase efficiency and effectiveness of our implementation.

Avoiding resistance of change is an impossible feat, but implementing small changes with measurable outcomes will ensure the smooth transition of the change. This may mean that the printer cartridges are the first part of the project to be started. This will only involve a small number of people and will easily provide statistics on the success of the program. This can be promoted to other staff and hopefully the rollout will continue to run smoothly with enthusiastic staff.

All of our goals must be measurable. Methods that can be used include the monitoring of quarterly power bills, waste and recycling bills/invoices and the invoices for the cost and number of printer cartridges used. It is also important that we encourage staff to reflect on their performance and participation, so another survey administered to staff will allow the 'green ' team to observe the affect of the project on the staff and morale.

Consolidating Improvements and Producing Still More Change

The implementation of change involved a number of processes as previously discussed, including planning implementation and evaluation. Consistently re-evaluating and planning more refined changes will ensure the best possible outcomes are achieved. By reinvigorating the process by implementing new projects, offering new rewards and creating different themes to increase interest when interest levels fall.

Institutionalising New Approaches:

The processes should become routine over time, but to ensure staff don't slack off and neglect to participate, policies should be enforced which ensure staff comply to the 'green policy', this will ensure that staff will continue to be environmentally friendly even without strict monitoring and constant communication from the 'green' team. There should be designated representatives, who are responsible for monitoring progress and updating the green team on when encouragement and promotion of the program is needed due to poor staff compliance. If those representatives are on leave, there should be a replacement representative who is up to date on the project and capable of being responsible for it.

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Waterman, R.H., Peters, T.J. & Phillips, J.R. 1980, 'Structure is not organization', Business Horizons, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 14-26.

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Kotter, J.P., 1996, Leading Change, Harvard Business School Press, Boston

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