Business Process Outsourcing

5 mins

SYKES Embraces Change Management to Ensure Success of Vital, Large-Scale Initiatives

SYKES wanted the ability to quickly adapt to market shifts, plus needed positive outcomes on numerous global, large-scale projects. The company embarked on a multi-year journey to develop enterprise change management capabilities.

SYKES Embraces Change Management to Ensure Success of Vital, Large-Scale Initiatives

Employees receive role-based training

Satisfaction on big compliance change

Levels of growth in change maturity

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Sykes Enterprises Incorporated (SYKES) is a digital marketing and customer service global
outsourcer, providing customer-engagement services to Global 2000 companies. With global headquarters in Tampa, Florida, SYKES’ sophisticated solutions satisfy the needs of major companies around the world, primarily in the communications, financial services, technology and healthcare industries.

SYKES’ differentiated end-to-end service platform effectively engages consumers at each touchpoint in the customer lifecycle, starting from digital marketing and acquisition to customer support, technical support, upsell/cross-sell and retention. SYKES provides services through multiple communication channels encompassing phone, email, web, chat, social media and digital self-service.



Leadership at SYKES understands the swift pace of change. That, coupled with the critical need for adoption of several of its major, global-scale projects, brought about the company formally sponsoring an enterprise change management journey.

The Challenge

To build momentum for and deploy a multiyear global organizational change management journey with little initial funding and a low awareness of the need for and value of organizational change management.

I first encountered Prosci more than 15 years ago, so when we started looking for a partner in change management, I was pleased to see that Prosci was still the leader. Its reputation, global reach and focus on our success has made Prosci an ideal partner in our change management journey."

— Susan Hughes, Global Vice President, Strategic Program Management



Partner with Prosci

Chief Executive Officer and President Chuck Sykes commissioned the Global Vice President of Strategic Program Management with the task of establishing change management as an organizational competency. This leader, who has been with the company for many years and has strong relationships throughout the globe, began her search for a change management methodology, quickly identifying Prosci as a strong market leader in change management. Another important factor in choosing Prosci was that using the Prosci methodology does not require use of high-priced consultants.

The Solution

  • Engaged with a Prosci partner to win leadership support
  • Trained practitioners and leaders in change management
  • Attended the Prosci ECM Boot Camp
  • Created a multi-year roadmap for the change management deployment
  • Acquired an enterprise license to the Prosci methodology
  • Embraced change management as a core competency


SYKES has partnered with Prosci throughout the change management journey.


SYKES engaged Highlands Consulting Group, a Prosci partner, to run a Prosci Change Management Sponsor Briefing for Chuck Sykes and his direct reports in January 2015. This was well-received, because of the practicality and results-focus of the Prosci methodology, and because of the quality trainer and presentation.

Chuck Sykes, who serves as the executive sponsor, also gave a great introduction to the Sponsor Briefing, positioning change management as a key to success for these upcoming large initiatives. The program helped turn more SYKES executive team members into change management advocates.

Global practitioner training

With buy-in from leadership and a chosen methodology, SYKES offered a few initial Change Management Practitioner Programs using a Prosci training partner. As these programs were also well-received, the organization decided to invest in bringing the training in-house.

Two SYKES employees passionate about the value of change management volunteered
and went through the Prosci Train-the-Trainer Program in February 2015. This allowed SYKES to offer all Prosci role-based change management trainings, including the Practitioner Program, to employees around the globe without paying for an external consultant.

The first in-house training took place in May 2015, and by August of that year, SYKES completed multiple Practitioner Programs in the US and Latin America.

Buy-in from regional leaders

In addition to strong CEO and leadership support for change management, SYKES also
saw significant support at the regional level. After a team attended the Change Management Practitioner Program in Costa Rica, the regional head for Latin America became very passionate about change management, and lobbied both the CEO and other regional heads for more change management funding.

Enterprise Change Management Boot Camp and Investing in a Prosci Entreprise License

In the Fall of 2015, the small change management team attended the Prosci Enterprise Change Management Boot Camp, assessed the organization’s change management maturity level and created the multi-year roadmap to guide the change management deployment.

With the strong initial wins and global interest in change management growing, leadership invested in an enterprise license to the full Prosci methodology, enabling cost-effective change management training and application in every region. Within a few months, SYKES offered change management practitioner trainings in Europe and Asia in addition to several more in the US and Latin America.

In mid-2016, SYKES well-surpassed breakeven on the cost of a Prosci license as measured by cost of paying an external consultant, and by the end of 2016, SYKES surpassed breakeven on the cost of a Prosci license as measured by paying for materials for each attendee in addition to the consultant.

Success Stories

With a license to the methodology and hundreds of staff members trained as practitioners, the change management team needed to further foster interest and prove that the investment made in change management had paid off. Therefore, they began a focus on success stories to build awareness and desire for change management.

A member of the marketing department, also a passionate volunteer, helped create contests and awards that produced more than 20 internal success stories. These change management wins were then widely publicized on Yammer, the organizational internal social media platform, and in the weekly global and regional newsletters. This marketing work helped to further the interest of leaders and employees, resulting in stories gaining momentum and coming in more spontaneously and frequently.

Sponsorship from the CEO

Not only did Chuck Sykes actively participate in the change management deployment with
an early Sponsor Briefing, he also set aside time every quarter to meet with the change management leaders. During these meetings, the team reviewed the organization’s change management maturity and discussed progress on the change management roadmap.

Most recently, during a company-wide monthly meeting in March 2017, Chuck Sykes
spoke alongside the change management team, emphasizing and demonstrating how change management is helping the organization reach its strategic goals. His verbal, financial and strategic sponsorship ensures change management has attention and priority at every level.

Change management as a core competency

While the change management team had been laying the groundwork for a change
management competency since 2015, the decision to make change management a
core competency was officially recognized and announced in early 2017. With enough
pull to ensure that an investment in change management would be welcomed and put to
work, Chuck Sykes announced it as one of the three core competencies that every person in leadership at SYKES must work to acquire.

In anticipation of this, the change management team worked with Human Resources to
define full-time change management job roles and career paths, as well as adding change management competencies to all job descriptions. Change management was also incorporated into the Leadership Development program and training for managers.



In less than three years, SYKES has:

  • Increased the level of adoption and/or shortened the time to proficiency with each regional deployment of the major, global-scale projects that spurred an interest in change management
  • Increased change management maturity from 0 to more than 3.0 on a five-point scale
  • Trained more than 500 employees in change management
  • Improved sales, efficiency, and profitability in many projects thanks to change management activity

Results Highlights

  • The change management team curated more than 20 internal success stories that outlined data-specific gains, thanks to change management activity, including the following:
  • An account manager attended a Practitioner Program and recognized the need to lead his employees through a change that they had been struggling with. Within a week of having an ADKAR conversation with them, the team’s key metric was in the green for the first time in several months.
  • A team applied change management principles to a change in how certain callcenter teams closed sales. Within six weeks, they saw an 8% raise in prepaid orders and a 15% decrease in order cancellations.
  • A compliance-mandated change to 600+ USbased employees’ pay and work environment
    was implemented with more than 90% satisfaction ratings from employees, due to proactive change management activities despite its particularly high risk in both timeline and expected resistance.
  • A new 1000-person center that was experiencing growing pains significantly improved its operations, thanks to thoughtful change management activities. In just four months, absenteeism dropped 7%, attrition dropped 7% and interval schedule compliance improved 18%. These results exceeded expectations and grew the center’s customer experience scores and financial contribution to SYKES.

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