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Supporting organizations going through change

RSA Canada logo

RSA Insurance Group

Transforming the Workplace; Remote working, shifting to an agile and flexible work culture

"Changes in the workplace due to new technology, new business processes or even new workplace environments are not always controllable. When you add all three together it can lead to substantial challenges.


Krista from Harbinger quickly demonstrated the significance of having an experienced Change Manager on the project team who could bridge the gap between the project team and the business stakeholders, driving the change to a positive end through stakeholder support, end-user training, and communication. Proper Change Management, Stakeholder Engagement, and End-user Training enabled RSA to more efficiently connect employees with their new workplace through targeted communication, learning, and tailored support where it was needed most."


Joy Avzar, Director Real Estate & Corporate Services

Today’s workplace culture is more than a physical location that employees occupy during some mandated regular office hours. Many employees want and even need to be connected and be able to work from anywhere they are.  Sometimes this blurs the lines between the physical workplace, and the remote workplace as well as the distinction between professional and personal lives.

Who is RSA Canada?

“With over 300 years of experience, RSA knows what it takes to succeed for the long term”.

When Royal Insurance first came to Canada in 1833, fire was a big threat to Canadian lives and livelihoods. Fires really impacted Montreal and Toronto and many insurance companies had to declare bankruptcy. Royal Insurance didn’t. In fact, Canadians came to know Royal Insurance for providing full and prompt payments.


Today RSA is one of Canada’s largest property & casualty insurance companies. RSA offers more products now, insuring close to a million cars and over half a million homes in Canada.

RSA has over 3,000 employees in Canada, work with over 19,000 RSA Group colleagues in over 140 countries worldwide, serving over 17 million customers around the globe.

What was the challenge?

Costly Real Estate and Antiquated Office Setup

Knowing when to shift to continue to grow and be successful, RSA Canada knew it needed to make changes to the way they do business and the way they run their operations.


It meant evolving the culture into one that fosters collaboration by changing their work environment into one that is agile and flexible, empowering employees to make decisions on where and when they work.


Analysis showed that at any given time the average employee was using their dedicated desk 63% of the time. Additionally, real estate costs in Toronto’s downtown core is some of the most expensive in Canada. To economize, the organization downsized their down-town footprint while providing a work environment that allows employees more flexibility on where and how they work.

Recognizing that this shift, even though it was favourable, would require a lot of change management, communication, and training. RSA hired Harbinger to support their people through the change to a remote workplace.

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What did we do?

RSA is no stranger to managing change.  With an internal Change Management Centre of Excellence, they manage and support many of their small to medium change initiatives themselves.  But they also know when to get help. 

We worked with the Better Ways of Working (BWOW) Project team to build a change program that was scalable to support the different needs of the many different business units within RSA.  Creating a change management execution plan based on the PROSCI ADKAR model, we supported the transition from a traditional and somewhat antiquated office environment to a new, flexible workplace.


Stakeholder Engagement and Analysis

To fully understand the various and unique stakeholder groups, Harbinger performed a comprehensive stakeholder analysis. We engaged employees in every area of the business through surveys, in-person interviews and group discussions to better understand the needs of each team, along with the commonalities and gaps between them. This included sitting down with each member of the leadership team to understand their perspectives on the challenges, and how they could best support this change initiative.

Team Building and Alignment

We assembled change champions (move champions) for each business unit that executed the day-to-day change support for their peers. We also put in place a system of Principles in the form of Team Charters which were created by the who team in the business unit, led by the leadership, and change champions of each team. The implementation of team charters allowed for discussion amongst the team and agreement on how they would work together and hold one another accountable.

Communication and Learning

Through the stakeholder assessment activities, additional opportunities were identified including a need for both general corporate-level communications and tailored business unit communications, as well as training on new technology and processes.

Working with an internal corporate communications partner and developing customized training content we provided knowledge and support for the holistic approach they needed.

What was the outcome?

Our work led to the successful transformation of RSA’s down-town office space and remote working model that was subsequently rolled out nationally.  Leaders were brought together with their teams to discuss and form principles on how they would work together to support the measurement of work output instead of attendance, the use of collaboration tools and the development of enhanced processes to support the modern workplace.  

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