Tech Talk

Tech Talk

Nov 2007 Materials and concepts used in this proposal have been reproduced with permission of the Author and Client.

BUSA 695 – Organizational Consulting Project


<<Client name, Client title>> Catalyst Paper Crofton Division, Crofton BC <<Date>> Dear <<Client name>>: Re: Human Resource People Strategies – Performance Management Consulting Project for Catalyst Paper Crofton Division Thank you for the opportunity to explore potential consulting project ideas with you for Catalyst

Paper Crofton Division. I appreciate the time you spent with me sharing information about your

organization, current situation and plans for the future. I understand the many challenges your

organization currently faces. The recent downsizing and reorganization of your management

workforce directly affects your employees and increases the risk of morale, retention and

performance issues.

Following careful consideration of our discussions and your current situation I am pleased to

submit the attached proposal to help you address challenges with your current employee

performance management program. The proposal further explains the purpose, scope, objectives

and anticipated benefits of the services I have to offer. As a human resources professional and

MBA student, I have professional experiences and interests that align with your need to improve

the performance of your staff workforce as you work through significant organizational change.

I appreciate your review and consideration of this proposal. I would welcome another opportunity

to meet with you to further discuss the details of the services I have to offer and answer any

questions you may have.

If you accept the terms and conditions presented please indicate your acceptance by signing the

OCP proposal agreement form located on the last page of the attached proposal.

Sincerely, <<Learner Name>> MBA Candidate

Nov 2007 Materials and concepts used in this proposal have been reproduced with permission of the Author and Client.

A Consulting Proposal for

Catalyst Paper Crofton Division

Human Resource People Strategies: Evaluating the use of the Performance Management Program

Submitted to:

<<Client name>> <<Client title>>

and Mr. Michele Vincenti

Organizational Consulting Project Coordinator Royal Roads University

Prepared by: <<Learner name>>


Nov 2007 Materials and concepts used in this proposal have been reproduced with permission of the Author and Client.

INTRODUCTION The pulp and paper manufacturing facility located in Crofton, BC began operations fifty years ago

as part of British Columbia Forest Products Limited (BCFP). Now owned by Catalyst Paper

Corporation, Crofton Pulp and Paper operates as one of four independent manufacturing divisions

within the company’s current structure. With five manufacturing lines, Crofton produces pulp and

paper products for global customers.

Many changes have impacted the Crofton employees over the past decade including multiple

changes in company ownership and identity. Major organizational transformations involving

restructuring took place in 1996, 1998 and again in 2001. By the end of fiscal 2006, the company

employed 768 union employees and 209 non-union management staff.

The senior management team (SMT) relies heavily on the skill and talent of its workforce to

manoeuvre through constant change and industry challenges. A performance management (PM)

program exists for non-union staff employees. According to past practice the SMT communicates

expectations to managers and employees by providing a yearly timeline for PM related tasks and

deliverables such as completion of yearly performance evaluations for employees. Unsure of the

state of the actual PM practices at Crofton, Vern Phillips, the newly appointed Director of HR

requires consulting assistance to enable a well informed and strategic decision making process for

addressing Crofton’s PM in support of the future direction of the company.

PRESENT COMPANY SITUATION Many changes have occurred within the organization over the past year:

In early 2007 a financial investment group, Third Avenue Management, purchased a large

quantity of Catalyst shares making them the company’s single largest shareholder. Declining

market prices, fiber supply challenges and a higher Canadian dollar have placed the

profitability of the business in jeopardy and company strategy has turned to cost


In August 2007, Crofton’s SMT announced and implemented a new organizational structure

involving an approximate fifteen percent downsizing of the non-union management

workforce. Some employees were terminated immediately; others were notified of their

termination with an effective date at year end. For many remaining employees, reporting

structures, home departments, job positions and responsibilities as well as future

opportunities within the company have or will change.

Nov 2007 Materials and concepts used in this proposal have been reproduced with permission of the Author and Client.

In September 2007, senior management announced changes to employee performance

contracts, a component of the performance management program, directly altering the

employee variable pay structure.

Continuous change, looming uncertainty and increasing workloads are affecting employee morale,

motivation, and retention. With a leaner management workforce any employee performance and

retention issues pose a significant threat to the business. As the SMT moves forward with plans to

reestablish Crofton Pulp and Paper as a profitable, cost effective global competitor, the HR director

is faced with the challenge of developing strategies to ensure the organization has the people

resources it needs. The current situation highlights the importance of assessing the existing PM

program to understand how it is being used and to ensure this component of the HR strategy

meets the current and future needs of the business and its employees.

Problem Definition A preliminary SWOT analysis reveals multiple challenges facing the company:

External Factors Strengthening Canadian dollar adversely impacting profits

Lower cost producers entering the market, specifically in China

Increasing raw material costs, specifically oil and gas

Internal Factors Financial:

Declining EBITDA

Weakening and extremely low share price; share price below book value

Declining availability of capital for reinvestment

Marketing: Shrinking market in North American

Customers losing confidence in products due to disruptions in fiber supply

Customers demanding guaranteed production and sourcing alternate suppliers

Operations: Aging assets without sufficient reinvestment

Union labour contracts expire in April 2008

Human Resources: Reduced workforce resulting in a loss of talent and manpower

Morale, motivation and retention issues

Lack of focus on human resources processes, specifically performance management and

training and development.

Nov 2007 Materials and concepts used in this proposal have been reproduced with permission of the Author and Client.

Technology: Increasing complexity of technology

Loss of advanced technical support due to restructure

PROJECT PURPOSE AND SCOPE Purpose The purpose of the proposed consulting project is to conduct a Performance Management

Program Evaluation that provides a narrative description of how the PM program is actually used

by employees and managers within the organization and to develop recommendations for

improvement. The project will be conducted through a research based methodology. Major project

components include: discovery based research to investigate current practices, best practices

research, gap analysis and recommendations for improvement.

Scope As currently proposed, the project involves:

Completion of one formal document, a Performance Management Program Evaluation that

will provide the information and analysis required for the HR director and SMT to understand

the current state of the PM program in order to strategically plan for the future of PM at


Recommendations for improvement based on short and long term needs of the business,

employees and managers and a proposed implementation plan for recommendations where

applicable. (Short term refers to the immediate year following the project; long term refers to

beyond the first year).

As the project progresses, depending on findings and timing, recommendations and / or

revisions to the current PM training and communication materials may be included.

The project does not involve:

Analysis of any PM type activity related to bargaining unit employees who are currently

excluded from the PM program.

Implementing recommendations or any implementation plan.

Gap analysis in comparison to best-of-class research.

Evaluation, analysis or research related to technological PM solutions.

Nov 2007 Materials and concepts used in this proposal have been reproduced with permission of the Author and Client.

APPROACH and METHODOLOGY Approach The project will be conducted according the following steps:

1. Project set up:

Develop research plan

2. Detailed SWOT analysis: A preliminary SWOT analysis was conducted in preparation of this proposal.

Conduct a thorough SWOT analysis to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and

threats impacting the business.

3. Best Practices Research Conduct secondary research to investigate PM best practices from literature.

Research will focus on PM concepts and approach, rather than technological solutions.

4. Internal Organizational Research Develop an interview instrument and submit an ethical review for research approval to the

Royal Roads University (RRU) Ethical Review Board.

Conduct primary research to investigate the current PM practices and needs at Crofton

through staff and management interviews.

5. Internal Data Gathering and Review Collect and review relevant available data on PM program related activity within the


6. Analysis

Incorporating information collected in each of the previous stages, analyze gaps between

current practices and: a) senior management expectations, b) employee and manager

expectations, c) strategic goals of the business, d) performance management best practices.

7. Recommendations and Implementation Plan

Develop recommendations for improvement based on short and long term needs of the

business, employees and managers.

Develop a recommended implementation plan moving forward based.

8. Presentation of results

Review draft with client followed by presentation of final document.

Methodology Details Develop research plan:

Determine needs and methods for gathering information relevant to existing / past

performance management program activity.

Nov 2007 Materials and concepts used in this proposal have been reproduced with permission of the Author and Client.

Primary research:

Conduct interviews with an appropriate sample of management and employee stakeholders.

Secondary research:

Literature review of performance management best practices focused on concepts and

approach not technological solutions.

PROJECT SCHEDULE and MILESTONE DATES Project work will begin following your acceptance of this proposal with completion of the final

deliverables on or before March 14, 2008. Your acceptance is required within 5 days of receiving

this proposal for the project work to be completed within this time frame.



1. Project Set Up November 30, 2007 2. SWOT Analysis November 30, 2007 3. Best Practice Research November 30, 2007 4. Internal Organizational Research December 21, 2007 5. Internal Data Gathering and Review December 31, 2007 6. Analysis January 11, 2008 8. Draft Report and Presentation February 15, 2008 9. Final Revisions February 29, 2008 8. Submit Final Report (sign off by client, advisor and RRU)

March 14, 2008

TIMING AND COST ESTIMATES The final project will be completed over a 4 month period requiring a minimum of 360 hours of

work. Final deliverables will be provided to you the client and submitted as a requirement of the

Royal Roads University MBA program and therefore offered free of consulting fees. Limited

expenses include office supplies, printing and copying costs. Royal Roads University estimates a

project value of $30,000 to the client based on scope and required hours of work.

ANTICIPATED OUTCOMES and BENEFITS The project will provide an analysis of Crofton’s performance management program that will assist

senior management in:

Understanding how the current PM program is used at Crofton.

Revising the current program to meet organizational needs and business objectives.

Setting a benchmark and measuring the success of improvement strategies implemented in

the future.

Nov 2007 Materials and concepts used in this proposal have been reproduced with permission of the Author and Client.

Enabling the organization to efficiently and effectively conduct PM activities.

Improving the PM skills and knowledge of managers.

Improving the value of PM to individual employees and their managers.

Improving motivation, morale, retention and performance of the staff workforce.

Identifying and planning for required employee development and succession planning to

meet the future needs of the organization.

SUMMARY of PROJECT DELIVERABLES Following completion of the project you will receive 2 printed copies and 1 electronic file of the

following documents:

1. Performance management program analysis document (approximately 75-100 pages plus appendices) including short and long term opportunities for improvement and applicable

recommended implementation plan.

2. Power Point Presentation summarizing findings and recommendations

CONSULTANT’S CREDENTIALS and CONTACT INFORMATION I completed a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree from the University of Waterloo in 2001 and 6

years working experience in the human resources field. I began my MBA in Executive

Management in April 2006 at Royal Roads University. To date I have successfully completed the

required course work for the program preparing me with skills and knowledge essential to working

with clients to investigate potential business concerns, diagnose issues that need to be addressed

and deliver effective solutions.

MBA course work specifically relevant to this project include: Project Management, Business

Research Methods, Consulting Skills, Change Management and Organizational Relations.

My consulting philosophy centres on client partnerships; working directly with clients to provide

tools, information and mutually developed solutions to ensure the client’s specific business needs

are addressed.

Contact information: Office: 250-246-6079 Email:

  • External Factors
    • Purpose
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