PwC with SSEN

PwC with SSEN Plc

Performance Improvement in the Private Sector

MCA Awards Finalist 2024SSEN’s electricity network plays a crucial role in the UK’s transition to Net Zero. As the country moves away from fossil fuels, the surge in demand for electricity can only be met through a more resilient and flexible energy network, and rapid improvement by SSEN would be rewarded by the regulator. A significant transformation was required, to deliver increased volumes more efficiently than ever before, but previous attempts had not yielded substantial or sustainable benefits.

Against this backdrop, SSEN sought PwC’s help to make immediate and lasting improvements to its capability, sustainability and performance, including a 15% productivity increase in some areas.
Given the need for rapid improvement, the firm focused on embedding behavioural change throughout the business, by combining top-down and bottom-up initiatives. A survey of 4,000 people across the organisation was conducted to understand its cultural strengths and challenges, from which the PwC team and SSEN’s management prioritised a “critical few” key behaviours. The survey also allowed the reticence and concerns of some staff to be heard, which provided especially valuable inputs to the process.

PwC then developed and piloted an operational excellence programme which, in several 12-week waves, empowered a pilot group of front-line team leaders, using a “see one, do one, lead one” coaching approach. They were equipped with the insight, confidence and momentum to embed new behaviours in their teams and, even in the pilot of 300 people, real performance improvements were seen in just three months.

The programme’s subsequent scaling expanded its reach to a further 700 staff over six months. Half the delivery was conducted by the SSEN team leaders who had been through the pilot stage and, as a result, the client became self-sufficient in making further performance improvements itself, without external support. Meanwhile, PwC collaborated with the client’s HR function to integrate the key behaviours into its people management process.

To ensure that the performance improvements were measurable and motivational, PwC drew on its data expertise to create a through-line from SSEN’s top line “golden metrics” down to team-level KPIs. Thanks to improved data tools and dashboards, teams are now equipped to stay focused on effective actions, while accountability has been improved across the organisation.
The programme’s results exceeded its initial objectives and expectations, and even surpassed the stretch goals within the business, by delivering a productivity improvement of 30%. SSEN’s customers now enjoy faster quotes and network connections, and the measurable performance gains have led to a regulatory
reward of £3.4m. Meanwhile, operational improvements mean that field teams can work more efficiently to increase the network’s resilience, and now have greater capacity to make longer-term network improvements.

By taking a people-centred approach, PwC has empowered SSEN to adopt a “change-fit” culture that can keep delivering change and power a sustainable future.
“I feel my team has come alive, and we have people doing things now they would have never done previously” – SSEN Manager

View the PwC profile in the MCA Members Directory.