This paper will show an analysis of organisational change, experienced at the Trinidad and Tobago Insurance Limited (Tatil). According to Senior and Swailes (2010, p. 6) “the forces that operate to bring about change in organisations can be thought of as winds which vary from warm summer breezes that merely disturb few papers to hurricanes that cause devastation to structures and operations that require reorientation of purpose and rebuilding.
Sometimes, the winds subside to give periods of relative calm and organisational stability. ” This is most applicable to the situation at Tatil, specifically in the Client Services Department. The author of this paper is a current employee at Tatil and has first hand experience of the changes the company is currently experiencing. The change is not quite complete, but rather an ongoing change that was initiated four years ago. 1. 1 Company History Tatil was established over 40 years ago, as the first locally owned insurance company.
It has continued the business of building relationships and futures through providing insurance security to citizens of Trinidad and Tobago. Tatil remains not only a leader, but a dynamic and innovative force, with an asset base that doubled within the last five years to over $2 billion; the most expansive portfolio of General, Life and Investment related products and services available; as well as an unsurpassed ability to maintain its record of best underwriting profits with the general insurance industry.
In 2004, Tatil merged with Ansa Merchant Bank Limited resulting in the consolidation of the financial services sector on the ANSA McAL Group of Companies, one of the Caribbean’s largest conglomerates. As part of the Ansa McAl Group of Companies, Tatil remains among the top producers in the Group. Tatil considers their major strength to be their people; the team members have been the backbone of the many successes the company has had over the years and applauds their loyalty, commitment and drive to go the extra mile.
Tatil is committed to providing the highest level of quality service to their clients; providing a range of insurance-based financial solutions; building loyalty amongst the clients by being the first to recognise their needs and offer products and services that meet and exceed their expectations. Tatil’s clients have been the heart of the organisation, many of whom have been with the company since inception. This is evident in the company’s tag line “Tatil… where people are people. ” 1. 2 Current Situation
The Client Services (CS) department was originally set up with a Manager and supporting staff to facilitate frontend service to clients and backend processing of services requested for policies. This consisted of eleven persons in total. In addition to this eleven, the seven branch offices of Tatil were established under the CS portfolio, bringing the total staff to thirty-five. Over the last four years, CS has experienced drastic restructuring to discontinuous change at Tatil. Grundy (1993 as cited in Senior and Swailes, 2010, p.
35) defines discontinuous change as ‘change which is marked by rapid shifts in strategy, structure or culture, or all three’. The first major change in CS was the promotion of the longstanding Manager. This Manager was promoted to the Policy Accounting department where she supervised the procedures and processing of all client payments, and replaced the Supervisor of this same department. In the interim, an Assistant Manager (AM) position was established in CS and the supervisor of Policy Accounting was promoted to Assistant Manager of Client Services.
Two years after this initial change, Tatil decided a new Manager had to be recruited and a suitable candidate was chosen from another insurance company; but this person had no managerial experience. This fact caused some tension in CS amongst senior staff and the AM. Having little managerial experience made the job even more difficult for the new Manager, as she is expected to deal with the internal issues amongst her subordinates and lead them in a manner befitting her position, in addition to her duties as Client Services Manager.
Over the past two years, the Manager of CS and her AM were able to collaborate on a strategy to ensure the smooth running of the department and had proposed some additional changes to executive management to be approved. One of those changes included a second Assistant Manager to assist with frontend staff and branch staff of Tatil. The second AM was hired internally (she was transferred from an AM position in Marketing). She joined CS one year ago and was able to take away the responsibility of frontend and branch staff from the Manager.
There has been a high level of staff turnover in CS and branches, with staff leaving with little notice, usually right after they received training. Over the last two years, six people have left the CS department and only two of those positions have since been replaced. CS and each branch support each other by transferring staff wherever there is a major staff shortage, to ensure that clients are still being attended to and are satisfied with the service being offered.
The Manager of CS has also put forward requests to have new staff be trained before they report to work. Prior to her presence, persons were hired and were given ‘On the Job Training’ which lacked structure, standard and formality in procedures. Recently, the Manager was successful in outlining proper training procedures and system training before the new employee reports to work in CS. Needless to say, this was a positive change for the department and Tatil on the whole. 2. Cultural Aspects of Change 2. 0 The Organisational Iceberg
French and Bell (1990 as cited in Senior and Swailes 2010, p. 128) listed organisational culture and norms of behaviour as part of the ‘Informal Organisation’ in their concept of the formal and informal organisation and the metaphor of the ‘organisational iceberg’ (see Table 1). The formal organisation is the visible part of the iceberg, which comprises of the formal aspects of an organisation: issues that are based on approved, measureable outputs/outcomes relating to how well organisational objectives and goals are to be met.
The informal organisation or bottom half of the iceberg (not visible) comprises of the more clandestine aspects of an organisation: values, attitudes, beliefs and attitudes held by management and other employees, informal groupings, the norms of behaviour which are rarely discussed but influence how things are done and the politics of organisational life that drive decision actions. On the basis of recognising that the informal organisation exists and it plays an influential part in organisational activity is justification to look at how it impacts upon the level which organisations are capable of dealing with change.
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