Training Top 125 Best Practice: Edward Jones’ Change Management Capability-Building Program
As change continues to escalate—in technology, demographics, regulation, and market forces—nimbly adapting to complex client needs is a strategic imperative for financial services firm Edward Jones. In 2018, the firm launched its Change Management Capability-Building Program to intentionally build firmwide change management capability.
The Change Management Capability-Building Program touches all associate populations:
- Home-office leaders and associates—the initial focus of formal change management training—fill all roles assigned to firmwide change projects.
- Field-based regional leaders, financial advisors, and branch office administrators receive training to manage branch-impacting change projects and act as change leaders driving success in their regions.
- The informal change management curriculum, a series of continuing education workshops, is open to all associates.
The formal comprehensive change management curriculum combines on-demand, e-learning modules and role-specific face-to-face workshops. Change practitioner certification is the pinnacle of extensive in-house training for five home-office roles:
- Certified change practitioners (13 hours): Leading large enterprise-wide or division change initiatives
- Sponsors (6 hours): Directors and principals championing change initiatives
- Project leaders (6 hours): Designing or implementing change initiatives
- Leaders (4 hours): Leading change in their area of responsibility
- Associates (4 hours): Navigating change
The program features a hub-and-spoke structure. The Change Management Capability-Building Program is the hub. The spokes are three teams (instead of one team typical at most organizations):
- Coaching: Building capabilities
- Execution: Supporting large-scale transformational change
- Integration: Surveying all changes enterprise-wide and providing insights to guide decision-making around change impacts and saturation
Twelve dedicated coaches support associates assigned firmwide change projects. The change management team holds weekly open office hours for any associates with change-related questions. They are available in person, by phone, or virtually. The self-service change management Website on JonesNet intranet contains all change management resources, including change tool user guides.
Edward Jones integrated the change process into all project timelines across the firm. For instance, a key change project initiated in 2018 aimed to increase branch capacity so branch teams can attract and deeply serve ideal clients. It included the 12-month, phased-in rollout—following the change process from start to finish—of a new Home-Office Client Service Team in which branch teams partner with home-office financial advisors to serve smaller, unengaged clients. This service model improves capacity by enhancing branch teams’ ability to deliver value and meet client needs while optimizing the client experience at the branch and home office.
A dedicated change management coach partnered with Home-Office Client Service Team change leads to facilitate training and mitigate change impacts:
- Branch-facing training was delivered through Webinars, talking points, and job aids to guide branch team-client discussions.
- Home-office training included internal “road shows” to 40 affected departments.
Through August 2019, Edward Jones recorded 987 course completions and high participant surveys resulting in an 80 percent Net Promoter Score.
In March 2019, Edward Jones conducted an audit measuring firmwide change management maturity on a 1-5 scale. As organizations move up the scale, change management occurs on more projects and initiatives and in more parts of the organization. Edward Jones put strategies in place to advance change maturity to exceed 3 out of 5 by March 2020. The firmwide change maturity score increased to 2.7 out of 5, up from 1.2 in 2017—representing significant change-capability progress in a short time period.
Through August 2019, change management training produced 355 certified change practitioners and 54 principal or division-leader sponsors. This enabled 106 firmwide change projects, with 23 completing the change.
Financial advisor adoption rates of the Home-Office Client Service Team indicate advisors understand the value of transitioning unengaged clients to grow capacity for more deeply serving clients. Through August 2019:
- 46 percent opted in to the new service, up from 26 percent in December 2018.
- 31 percent completed client transitions, up from 15 percent in December 2018.
- Adoption depth is strong at 14 percent of eligible clients transitioned, approximately 43 relationships per advisor.
In just over a year, the brand-new Home-Office Client Service Team was serving 241,055 relationships.