Gowling WLG is an international law firm built on the belief that the best way to serve their clients is to be in tune with their world, aligned with their opportunity and ambitious for their success. They focus on key global sectors including energy, financial services, life sciences, natural resources, infrastructure, real estate and tech. They have 1400+ legal professionals and dedicated business support teams that apply their deep sector experience to understand and support their clients’ businesses. Gowling WLG is the result of a merger of Canada-based Gowlings with UK based Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co (WLG).
Having undergone significant change in organisation, people and process in a very short period, changes were necessary to ensure the firm continued to grow their revenue streams and capitalise on market opportunities in their key international markets.
They also had to ensure business agility that would maximise commercial opportunities and drive additional revenue streams for the medium and long term. Although plans were in place to drive front line revenue generating activities, minimal review of support services had been undertaken and the firm was reviewing these to ensure that they were ‘fit for purpose’ and aligned to the wider business priorities.
During these changes, processes and HR technology had not been improved or streamlined but had changed organically as disparate processes, technology and people had come together. The firm’s HR activities had become highly manual and labour intensive and coupled with the restrictions in technology within the firm, Gowling WLG were operating inefficient HR and Payroll processes that were unwieldy, time-consuming and manual. The silos and instances of manual working that were the result of these mergers, meant that the firm had an opportunity to streamline and simplify their HR function. The challenges facing the firm were not uncommon and crop up in many organisations, large and small, across all sectors.
The key impacts:
- Disparate systems and processes meant no cohesive and accurate view of talent and capability in the firm to support its international plans.
- Back office resource was a growing cost delivering lower than anticipated business value back to the firm.
- The model and tools used in the HR function were inefficient and were impacting on the firm’s ability to quickly expand into new markets and the resulting potential of lost revenue.
- Management information was poor, impacting both operational decisions and strategic planning which impacted on the firm’s ability to exploit market opportunities.
The firm decided to deliver a programme of work to include a ‘full and robust review of the current HR Operating Model’. The programme would include 5 core workstreams: Processes, Technology, Organisation Design, Capability, Change and Communication.
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