Ambitious employee development and culture change at the Scottish Executive
In 2002, the Scottish Executive embarked on a highly ambitious change management programme. They began to restructure an entire directorate into cross-functional teams. Traditionally, their teams worked in ‘silos’ and there was very little learning and development across functions. As a result of the new structure, a large number of individuals were promoted to management and supervisory levels – representing a great opportunity for development. Any development interventions would have to have immediate and have a lasting impact- not just be a ‘quick fix’. Apana’s input Linda Doe had a meeting with the Scottish Executive Business Improvement Team and HR lead and provided a proposal for a 12-month period.
She said: “People are rarely motivated to engage in development unless they understand the reasons behind it and what is expected of them. This requires clear, assertive, sensitive and unambiguous communication from those who represent the organisation’s expectations. People need to know why and how the organisation is developing, what the implications are for them and their role.”With employee consultation, it became clear that people needed to be developed in two ways: both as teams and as individuals. Apana provided one-to-one coaching, career planning and personal development, acknowledging that people differ greatly in how they wish to develop and their confidence and desire to do so. We worked with all teams across the directorate. We worked with the Scottish Executive internal change team to ensure delivery of a clear message. We coached them as a team and 1-1 to understand their own preferred style of communication and to see their change programme as an opportunity to develop their own communication skills. Improvements in communication Communication was one of the biggest development needs across the directorate. The company reported the largest improvement in this area as typical comments from their evaluation showed greater:
- Respect for differences
- Honesty and free speech
- Views being aired
Derek MacIntosh, Service Head, said: “We have made challenges we would not have been confident to make. We listen to each other – before, we talked over each other and didn’t even notice.”Employee development Apana supported the process of organisational change through developing people. Linda said: “We do not provide training without truly understanding people’s needs. And the perspective of an outsider, working in partnership with internal change agents, is invaluable for its fresh and independent perspective. The Scottish Executive Business Team added: “Right from the onset of our Business Improvement Programme our Staff Training, Dev & Comms Strategy was expertly constructed by Linda, ensuring Management had the right focus. She kept us on track, consistently, made us question our decisions and drove the strategy forward in the nicest possible way to reach our goals. Linda and her friendly team gave total commitment to the delivery of training over a period of 15 months, were thoroughly professional and a joy to work with.” Derek MacIntosh said: “Our change programme was extremely complex. It required team members to change the way they carried out their tasks and to learn new ones – many were reluctant to do so. “The independent input from Linda Doe and her team was invaluable in helping us through the change process. Everyone, although challenged, appreciated the straight-forward and honest approach which Linda brought. “The sessions which Linda ran were universally well received and many members of the team have said to me that they were amazed at what they learnt about themselves and their colleagues.”