The aim of this case study is to show how an organisation used an international quality benchmark to improve its internal communications and management processes.

The Organisation

The organisation is an international charity and leading provider of First Aid training. Over 80,000 members work from 150 locations in 47 countries, supported by 100 employees at their headquarters. Their head office staff help administer income from donations and sponsorship to provide services for medical support, care in the community and personal development to young people.

The Challenges

The successful management of central support services for such a large number of regional personnel required effective planning and teamwork to make the most of their limited resources. The management team also wanted to install a sharper commercial focus without losing their internal ethos of caring for others which ultimately flows out into the community at large.

The Approach

The Executive Director and Personnel Manager agreed on the need for a framework of change which fulfilled three key criteria. It had to address their strategic challenges, win the commitment of all employees, and be practical for easy implementation.
After consultation with Clive Bonny, an externally certified management consultant they chose an international benchmark standard for organisation development. Bonny provided ample proof of it’s effectiveness as a vehicle for achieving strategic change, and submitted a route map to help them plan and manage the “Journey”. The consultant’s first step was to perform an organisation-wide survey to identify the key enablers and blockers of change, and help the managers develop a detailed action plan identifying not only timetabled outcomes but also how these were to be achieved.

The Implementation

The initial diagnostic survey identified the need for Head Office employees to perform in a wider range of roles and activities. A series of training workshops were held mixing people from different departments in a variety of teamwork activities. The consultant designed and delivered these to install standards in essential business skills including: team leading, recruitment, appraisal, coaching, project planning, marketing and managing change.
At the same time these tailored workshops were used to develop performance management systems. These included an Employee Handbook, Learning Logs to record personal development on the job, and a system to evaluate the investment and payback of training costs. The consultant supplemented these projects with one to one mentoring for project leaders to ensure task completion.
The appraisal process was redesigned to allow multi-level feedback, and the consultant facilitated a series of manager staff workshops to clarify the organisations core competencies. These were then interlinked between different grades to support succession planning, and mapped onto the points of their well known logo of the Maltese Cross. These organisation-wide competencies were then integrated into the performance management and development systems.
Bonny and the Head of Personnel also set up Project Teams comprising staff representatives at all levels to review and recommend improvements to work methods and communication channels. These ensured all employees were kept informed of progress in organisation development.

The Outcomes

Besides the establishing of clear performance standards for everyone with a structured competency framework, people at all levels more actively contribute to the organisations long term strategic plan. More effective communication channels were developed within teams and across departments to ensure consultation won commitment to change. The Head of Personnel was promoted from manager to Director as a result of these wide-ranging benefits including:

* More effective induction of staff and evaluation of the training investment;
* Integrating business plans with development plans;
* Helping managers to focus on their own role as “people developers”.

Bonny said “The project has successfully transformed the Personnel function from highly administrative to one which facilitates and enables managers to be effective business leaders”.
Their journey through these processes has produced a significant culture change to equip the organisation for meeting increased competition over the next five years.