Empowering staff helps government agency modernise and transform

casestudy-image

Empowering staff helps government agency modernise and transformcasestudy-image

We have worked with Blue Seed on an extensive change management program, supporting the complete restructure of a 1,600 FTE, 50-year-old NSW public service agency. Blue Seed has been an essential partner in this progress, helping us build the culture of a new executive team, manager team and broader leadership teams, and facilitating the development of an internal culture roadmap to guide us as we lead organisational behavioural and performance change over the next 18 months. All requirements of the project brief were delivered, and Blue Seed proved to be an excellent fit for our organisation

Program Director

Brief

Having immense clarity, support and passion for its vision and strategy wasn’t enough for one public sector division, which enlisted the help of Blue Seed Consulting when it was faced with increasing pressure to manage resources more effectively. This NSW government organisation had to modernise, with a fresh operating model aimed at ensuring:

  • Future-fitness and financial sustainability
  • Consistent structure and role standards to enable employee mobility
  • Minimised bureaucracy and middle management
  • More ‘boots on the ground’ with an expanded field workforce

This transformational reform program meant 1,600 full-time employees had to apply for new roles in an entirely new organisational structure, with the potential to lead to significant disruption and employee resistance as well as affecting a number of external stakeholders and the general public.

Solution

Blue Seed was asked to train, advise and mentor the executive team of two Executive Directors and 15 Branch Directors in what would be one of the toughest leadership challenges of their careers. They needed to maximise their change leadership performance and drive the greatest possible employee understanding, support and engagement with the program’s objectives. During this process, we identified the need to evolve the entire organisation’s culture and help newly formed management teams devise strategies to support the new operating model and drive even greater performance after the initial restructure. With so much uncertainty about how the change process would unfold and where most attention would be needed, the organisation opted for Blue Seed’s Advisory Retainer offering, giving them specialist advice, direction and support on demand but minimising costs. As new management teams were appointed in each of the 15 branches, Blue Seed set about moving the organisation past the disruptive structure change stage towards allowing everyone to play a part in defining how people would work within the new structure. This included facilitating workshops with all 15 teams to develop tailored leadership charters, analyse strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and create simple strategic action plans. We also set up a monthly culture working group with a Culture Ambassador from each branch to drive collaboration, explain their needs and champion the culture change across the business, and developed a two-year plan based around four new priorities, with a series of initiatives designed to promote these.

Results

While the restructure did mean upheaval, employees came to the consensus that it was the right thing to do. Support grew after the management team workshops that empowered team leaders to take ownership and shape the future for their staff; by the time the new priorities were introduced, there was overwhelming support. This program drew out the passion of employees for their workplace and their peers, and the key message from our Blue Seeders was that we must celebrate the existing great culture traits but constantly seek improvements that move us closer to the vision and strategic priorities.