Interview: Hilary Sinclair, Director, Business Transformation, SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts
I have been with SilverBirch for two years. My role is to ensure the success of Project Fusion, a major Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) project. Project Fusion is a multi-phase strategic initiative that aims to establish SilverBirch as a process-driven, technologically sophisticated company dedicated to operational excellence. In an effort to improve how we do business, enhance collaboration, support and sustain the organization’s future growth, the company is implementing new systems and processes for Finance & Accounting, Human Resources and Payroll including scheduling, time & attendance, as well as asset management and capital planning tools for our large portfolio of hotels across Canada.
SBHR: You recently won the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Gold Quill Award of Excellence for Change Communication for the employee communications strategy for Project Fusion (congratulations!) what “value” would you say contributed most to your achievement?
HS: Thanks! The Gold Quill Awards program recognizes business communication excellence globally, and is acknowledged as one of the most prestigious awards programs. We were so excited to be recognized for our change communication efforts. We developed and implemented a robust internal communication and change management plan aimed at engaging employees, increasing project awareness and understanding and incorporating the project into our organizational narrative.
The value that most contributed to our achievement was engagement. Caring was integral to the promise that we made to all employees during the Project Fusion implementation. The communication strategy we developed revolved around our dedication to consistent, constant, conversational and clear communication to help us fulfill our four project promises: (1) we will communicate, (2) we will train, (3) we will address issues, and (4) we will answer questions and provide support.
SBHR: In your role you are interacting with many departments and associates. What SilverBirch value assists you most with these interactions?
HS: The value that most contributed to this achievement is performance. At SilverBirch, we work every day to become better at what we do. Project Fusion has very clearly defined goals to standardize processes and implement new technology to support these processes. The project team follows a systematic approach to enable us to meet our goal of operational excellence:
- Creating “Personas” to bring our users to life by fully understanding how they would use the system to help guide our decisions about functionality and design. We use these personas to design processes and create testing scenarios which ultimately ensures a high quality implementation.
- Creating communications and training plans that integrate with overall project plans to keep us on track and ensure we are focused on meeting our project goals every day.
- Developing and delivering training so that all associates learn how to use our new systems and processes.
This systematic approach not only ensures project success but creates organizational knowledge that can be applied to other projects across the company.
SBHR: Of all of our values, which one influences your day to day activities the most?
HS: Our Project Fusion team operates with a high level of integrity. At SilverBirch, we proudly stand behind all we do and say. This applies not only to the guest experience we deliver, but also how we operate as a company. The changes associated with Project Fusion impacted over 2,000 employees. A robust internal communication strategy was needed to ensure everyone was informed, aligned and engaged in the project. For this change to be successful, our corporate and hotel employees needed to not only understand what changes were happening and why, but also see themselves as a valued part of the project.
SBHR: What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
HS: I love to fish. I grew up salmon fishing on the west coast and fly fishing for rainbow trout on BC lakes and rivers.
SBHR: If you had one day off with unlimited money to spend, what would your dream day consist of?
HS: I would go fly fishing on the central coast of BC. There are beautiful resorts in this area that will fly their guests into remote rivers by helicopter. A day of fishing is definitely a dream day for me.