Case Studies

Moving an organization to new premises

A long and challenging journey through a radical change in Financial services and Banking. The ADB - African Development Bank – engaged us to design an articulate solution for a smooth and people-centric move from Tunis to Abidjan.

  • 2003

    From Abidjan to Tunis

    African Development Bank headquarters move as a result of the civil war that broke out in Cote D’Ivoire.

  • 2013

    Move back to Côte d’Ivoire

    Peace is restored and the bank decides to move its headquarters back to Abidjan in 2012/13.

The challenge

After nearly a decade in Tunisia, employees had to prepare, mentally and logistically, for their return to Abidjan. Caring for the individuals was core to the bank’s approach. It thus created a holistic structure aimed at taking care of the needs of every employee.

Why Change Management was needed

  1. The return would affect around 1,500 staff members and their families, which made a total of 5,000 people affected.

  2. Most staff members had been recruited in Tunis by the inception of the project and therefore had limited knowledge of Côte d’Ivoire.

  3. The main objective was to both try to mitigate any negative impact of the return on staff and to secure the opportunities that come from such a change.

People moved from Tunis to Abidjan

  • 1,562 Members of staff

    The organization had recruited about 70% of staff while in Tunis.

  • 3,438 Family members

    Everyone at AfDB had to move with their whole family, so we had to ensure all health and education services were guaranteed for every age group involved.

  • 45 Staff average age

    The change impacted on the organization at all levels, involving managers and employees from different cultures and religions.

Some words from our Client

“It is important for us to come home and today we are ready to do everything possible to make this happen.”

Donald Kaberuka, AfDB President

The approach

Honoring the bank’s core value and optimizing their holistic structure, we used the Prosci® Change Management methodology to focus on the key activities and behaviors required by sponsors, managers and others involved in overseeing the change.

Our activities

We agreed with the Bank that it was imperative that they were seen to be driving this change and not the “outside” consultants. Accordingly, we assisted the bank executives to sponsor and lead the change with their people.

In brief, we:

  • Equipped the sponsors and leaders to manage the change
  • Trained, coached and guided the Bank’s change consultants to fulfill their role
  • Our Deliverables included skilling up of all levels of the organization:
    • Employees
    • Managers and supervisors
    • Sponsors
    • Change consultants
  • The establishment of internal change agents was part of the program and a deliverable of the change strategy
  • We created a project support team both in Tunisia and Côte d'Ivoire; resources needed to be put in place in both countries to ensure optimum implementation and execution

We also helped the bank to:

  • Create change consultants: we assisted in helping choose the right candidates for the role and then trained them on Change Management
  • Create change agents to sustain the change at an operational level by liaison between managers, change consultants and employees
  • Plan for staff that were not going to move

Learning to deal with change

We guided AfDB through this change by training managers and employees with workshops and training programs, namely the Prosci® Practitioner Certification program and the Prosci® Coaching Program for Managers.

and Change facilitators provided coaching and advice in relation to specific challenges, such as how to tackle resistance and engage with senior leaders. Key members of the HR department and managers in charge of managing employees’ transition to new ways of working — attended a one day program.

Managers were shown how to apply the ADKAR® model to individuals undergoing change, and were supported in the development of a coaching plan for their direct reports.

Our Staff

  • Quentin Orsmond
  • Bay Jordan
  • Tom Marsicano
  • Teresa Marsicano
  • Roger Dawes
  • Deji Ishmael
  • Akinwande Mark-Obaba

The impact of our solution

We fully delivered on our aim to ensure the Bank was seen as driving the change. Executives sponsored and led the change with their people, resulting in a successful relocation. Specifically we:

  1. We equipped the sponsors and leaders to manage the change.

  2. We trained, coached and guided the Bank’s change consultants to fulfill their role.

  3. Skilled up of all levels of the organization.

  4. Established an effective team of internal change agents who helped deliver the change strategy.

  5. Created a project support team in both Tunisia and Ivory Coast as resources were needed in both countries to ensure optimum implementation and execution.

  6. Helped choose the right candidates for internal change consultant roles and then trained them on Change Management to fulfill their roles.

  7. Created change agents to sustain the change at an operational level through liaison amongst managers, change consultants and employees.

  8. Ensured there was a plan for staff who were not going to move.

  9. Provided consulting and advisory support that helped build competency and create change consultants; providing post-training support where needed to help with practical issues.

Practical application of competencies


Over an 8-month time span, we ran workshops with managers and executives to help them decide and drive key actions that would help employees and their families prepare for their changes. They also considered how technical aspects of the project (e.g. refurbishing and build buildings) would be leveraged to help people adopt the change and embrace improvements in facilities.

Access to Prosci®’s Portal was provided, with downloadable templates and assessments, eLearning modules, problem solving articles and presentations.


Prosci® Change Management Certification Program

The Practitioner Certification provided a comprehensive grounding in the method to internal consultants, project managers and senior managers. Participants were guided through the creation of a Change Management strategy for their individual projects, and shown how to apply best practice to the creation of plans covering communications, sponsorship, coaching, training, and resistance management.

Go to Program

Prosci® Change Management For Managers

The Coaching Program for Managers provided those managing change with a comprehensive grounding in the Prosci® method. We trained a range of internal consultants, project managers and senior managers, helping them position the integration program for success through effective management of the people side of the change.

Go to Program

What we have learned

Major changes of this type require senior executive support, across the entire organization. This coalition of sponsorship is essential to keep all the components of the change aligned. It’s also about building a competency in change across all levels in the organization, creating a common language of change, making communication more effective and clear, and improving the sense of purpose for the change.

Some words from our Client

“After returning to our Headquarters, the Bank has maintained an excellent financial health and robust risk-bearing capacity and has reported a 15% increase in operational outturn.”

Donald Kaberuka, AfDB President


The bank achieved its ultimate objective of moving its headquarters to Abidjan, retaining key employees and managers in the process. Simultaneously it created a cadre of change practitioners, upskilled managers and executives.

During the process of the project support structures that focused on the people side of the change were established and provided essential support to employees who moved and for those who did not move.

Although the change was carried out successfully, there was a number of employees who decided not to move and resign from their job. However, the bank was very active in helping the employees that stayed in Tunis to find alternative employments.

Solutions for Individuals and Teams