Organisational Development

Working with a national organisation employing 3,500 staff that had a 60 year history but whose new strategic direction required radical change to modernise and streamline the organisation.

Working with the executive team, I designed a 5 year people plan approved by the Board that supported the new strategic direction of the organisation.  Over the next 2 years the following components were successfully implemented:

  • new HR team structure that included all the elements of a strategic HR function e.g. strategic business partners for each business stream; an organisational design and development team that includes reward, volunteering consultancy services, learning and development, policy and practices; an operational consultancy service; support services and payroll teams
  • new, modern, performance management system built upon a behaviour framework that is the foundation stone to building the new culture required to underpin the business strategy
  • new modern reward system that moves the organisation away from the outmoded system of pay for time-served to a system that recognises contribution in terms of overall performance in terms of both what has been achieved (objectives) and how it has been achieved (behaviours)
  • new pay and grading structure that groups jobs into job families and simplifies the previous 22 pay structures to 1 integrated structure with 10 grades and 3 pay scales (Services; Business Support and Teachers).  This will form a firm platform for future organisational development initiatives such as career path planning and progression; consistent developmental requirements based on grades; succession and talent management processes
  • new set of streamlined terms and conditions and standardised contracts that simplify the management of people and provided improved pension and life assurance benefits whilst reducing overtime payment to straight rate
  • new set of short, simple policies with separate ‘how to’ guides for managers enabling dealing with staffing issues fairly but quickly
  • module design of leadership and management programme that will underpin the culture and strategic direction, improve staff engagement, and improve operational effectiveness of the organisation
  • new approach to becoming an exemplar employer of disabled staff and increasing the general level of diversity within the organisation
  • a leadership and management development programme designed around a series of development days for the leadership team plus a formal modulised development programme for line management

Organisational Design - Restructuring

The Client was a national organisation employing 3,500 staff that was geographically disparate.

Working closely with the Executive Director of Services we formed a project team in June 2011 tasked with restructuring the services leadership and senior management team consisting of 60 staff.

The organisation wanted to move from being organised by specialism e.g. adult social care and young people and educational provisions to be a geographically based organisation offering services across the spectrum with a small central section that provided design and innovation; quality assurance; and a standalone director that would internally facilitate the ongoing changes required to modernise outmoded service provision.

The proposals would more closely reflect the requirements of the Local Authorities localisation agenda and enable continuity of presence with the organisation’s key clients when building business relationships.  It would also enable the organisation to break down the silos that had built up internally through the boundaries created by the previous structure.  This would enable more collaboration and support to be given across different services within the same local areas and broaden people’s horizons about what the organisation was about.

The staff population that was directly impacted by the changes was around 60 in number and because all of the roles in the new structure would be radically different from the old roles with the exception of one, the staff in that group were identified as being at risk of redundancy.

The following steps were worked through to a successful conclusion and the new structure went live five months after inception albeit with many vacant positions that were subsequently filled through new recruits:

  • Proposed structure built out sufficiently to enable high level support and approval of the executive team
  • Organisation charts and job descriptions built to form the basis of the consultation document and prose developed that described the major changes being proposed
  • Heads up given to the Works Council ensuring appropriate representatives would be available to support the change and that these representatives met the organisation’s responsibilities for collective consultation on redundancies
  • Initial group meeting with the staff directly impacted and their works council representatives
  • Series of meetings with works council representatives to undertake a meaningful group consultation process
  • Series of one to one meetings with staff to ensure they understood why they were at risk of redundancy and to explore personal aspirations within the new structure
  • Meetings with the project team on a regular basis ensured that feedback both from the group and the individual consultation meetings were recorded and considered and responses given, where appropriate, through a Q&A process
  • Final consultation close out meeting held both with the Works Council representatives and the staff group to go through the feedback received and the organisation’s responses and changes proposed
  • All new positions internally advertised to enable staff to make their applications for roles in the new structure with the new Director positions simultaneously advertised externally to minimise delay in appointing new recruits should the positions not be filled internally
  • Recruitment process to all vacant positions undertaken working from the top down to enable as many appointees as possible to be involved in recruiting their own teams
  • New structure went live five months after consultation commenced with a national conference involving all the new management team following later in November to mobilise the new team and start building new relationships and deeper understanding of the new ways of working
  • A serious of interventions followed to build the geographical and national working relationships

In conclusion, change on this scale needs to be concluded quickly enough to enable the organisation to get it over with and get on with the future but slowly enough to ensure robust consultation and processes are followed that enable the change to survive legal challenges if they are received.  This case study is an example of the optimum of that and the few tribunal cases lodged were found in the organisation’s favour including one of disability discrimination.

Reward and Harmonisation of Contractual Terms

The Client was a medium size organisation employing over 3,000 staff that had a long history and whose new strategic direction required radical change to modernise and streamline the organisation.

The organisation had grown over many years of entering new markets and through contracts being awarded involving TUPE transfers.  No work had been conducted over the past years to streamline arrangements hence there being over 20 pay structures in place utilising well over 500 job descriptions with no organised internal relationships between the many parts of the business.  Terms and conditions of employment were varied with the same types of employees being on different conditions dependent upon where they worked.

With a future business need to work as an integrated organisation that could help and support each other on a geographical basis rationalisation was urgently needed to ensure different reward arrangements didn’t become yet another obstacle to building cohesive teams.  The executive team also wanted to ensure that future salary progression rewarded high performing staff; that definitive career paths through the organisation were far more apparent to staff in the new structure than the old; and that the new arrangements were generally perceived to be fair. Achieving these objectives required a transparent approach to the development of the new pay and grading structure with the end result being visible to all employees.Led by Linda as the Director, the following plan was developed and implemented:

  • An initial report was commissioned to explore the current arrangements and interview the executive team and other key players about their understanding and perception of the existing reward system
  • A workshop was held with the Executive Team to explore the results of this work and to develop high level principles for the new system – things that were important foundation stones were identified and enshrined in the project scope
  • A project team made up of representatives from each part of the business was initiated – because of the diverse nature of the organisation this team was 20 strong but the advantages of full representation vastly outweighed the complexities caused by managing such a large team
  • A competitive tendering process was run to appoint a supplier to provide a job evaluation process that would provide a modern and flexible approach to grading jobs within job families – this would provide internal equity across the piece with easily recognisable career paths within each job family and enable access to wide ranging information on salaries that would inform the building of the new pay ranges
  • The job evaluation provider (JE provider) trained the project team on the system and 30 benchmark positions were identified to be fully evaluated to form the structure of the grading matrix
  • The job descriptions of those benchmark positions were updated and signed off by senior management ensuring they provided a balanced description that represented all roles of the same kind across the organisation
  • In a series of meetings, the project team evaluated those roles, formed the structure and once this had been completed the other roles were slotted into the draft structure
  • The system used and the resultant draft structure was presented to the Executive Team who undertook robust exploration of the results and in some cases particular positions were subject to being reanalysed until the system had been robustly challenged and the overall result accepted
  • Once the grading structure had been accepted at the executive level, the project team worked on the design of the new salary review process – in order to reinforce the required culture of the organisation a form of ‘contribution pay’ based on their values and behaviours was proposed and accepted (a separate part of the change programme was working on the development of a robust performance management system based on behaviours that would be used to support the assessment of performance and the distribution of contribution pay)
  • As a separate strand of the project all of the general terms and conditions of employment were collected into one spreadsheet and the HR team worked through a process of market analysis to recommend options that would result in a new harmonised set of conditions that would apply to everyone across the organisation with some variables that were required within a particular job family because of that particular market sector e.g. holidays for Teachers
  • These recommendations were put to the Project Team for discussion and debate and final recommendations resulting from those conversation were put to the Executive Team for their consideration
  • The principles of the new proposals (with enough detail to put the changes in context) were presented to, and approved by, the Board
  • Once approval in principle to all the elements had been achieved, a full programme of consultation was designed and implemented with all staff – building on the existing communication programme that had been put in place at the beginning of the project, this included a brochure that described all the major changes being proposed; a film that formed part of face to face briefings and enabled all staff to see the commitment of the CE and the Directors to the proposals; a two hour briefing session run across England and Wales enabling all staff to hear the proposals and to ask questions; a formal Q&A process updated regularly during the period of consultation and 1 to 1 meetings with their immediate line manager to discuss the proposals
  • The line management team were fully briefed first to enable them to have prior knowledge of the proposals, to  answer their staff’s questions and to be supportive of the changes
  • The HR team produced over 3000 new contracts of employment and distributed them to employees’ home addresses, advising their managers when they had been sent
  • A review process was put in place to address concerns about the position each individual role had achieved in the grading structure and in order to ensure this review was robustly completed the project team fully analysed a further 50 roles that had been slotted in the initial process
  • The HR team formed task teams to go into some ‘hot spots’ in the organisation to spend time supporting managers in their communications with their employees and in the undertaking of the 1 to 1 meetings and any grievances that were received
  • A robust system of resolving outstanding issues or of clearly explaining the organisation’s position achieved a positive outcome of full acceptance of the new contracts of employment including the new pay system without recourse to any legal claims. 

Whilst this example was fully successful in achieving the changes required to form a firm foundation for future organisational development initiatives together with a modern reward system based on performance that reinforced the culture being built it should not be underestimated how much time and effort is required to ensure these fundamental changes were made.  Whilst most of the detailed work was undertaken by the HR Team and the Project Team, every staff member in the organisation was impacted by the changes and every manager’s time was needed to ensure the successful outcome achieved.  Change of this scale needs to be fundamental to the organisation’s future and the impact of the decision to go ahead needs to be fully understood and actively supported by the Executive Team and the Board.