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Case Studies - Consultancy
Case Study 1: Diversity Leadership

Challenge:
The organisation was keen to develop its leadership capacity around diversity both within the organisation and externally with its partners and key stakeholders. The highly committed chief executive herself chaired the core value group on diversity within the organisation, and was keen to sponsor and resource a radical programme of change.


"Extremely innovative approach...focusing on the business made all the difference between sustainability and failure! Because we were able to address so many of our strategic agendas within the one programme, managers did not feel overwhelmed and were, as a consequence, hugely supportive of the changes."

ND, Executive Director.
Solution:
Rather than starting by designing a diversity programme, the consultants began by identifying a number of strands that were key to organisational success. These included performance management, efficiency; leadership and management development; customer service; workforce planning and development; employee wellbeing; partnership working; social inclusion and community engagement. Against each of these they listed the ways in which a strategic approach to diversity would contribute to success. This work then formed the basis of a business case for diversity which was presented to senior managers.

Working in collaboration with senior managers and other key stakeholders, a wide range of initiatives were then developed in order to meet both the organisation's strategic objectives and their desire to increase representation of key groups within the organisation. These initiatives included a highly innovative 'developing managers' programme; a joint diversity venture with the local health authority; a project to support local minority ethnic business leaders; a programme of leadership development; and drama-based workshops for employees to raise awareness on how diversity can enhance their relationship with customers and colleagues.

Outcome:
Through this approach, the organisation was able to implement a wide range of business focused initiatives that were designed to meet their strategic objectives and at the same time address the issue of significant under-representation within the organisation. Because this was a business-driven initiative, employees did not feel left out or marginalised, and the programmes that followed were more sustainable in the longer term and made a notable contribution to meeting the organisation's objectives.
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Case Study 2: Wellbeing

Challenge:
Having completed phase one of a radical change programme, the organisation was struggling with high levels of absence and poor morale. People were tired of the change. Furthermore, the senior management team were becoming increasingly concerned that employees' lacked the skills and personal resilience to cope with the next phase of the change process. They were also alarmed to discover that there had been a gradual haemorrhaging of their key talent over the past six months.

"After phase one of the change, we were all feeling really exhausted and overwhelmed, and some people were quite frankly struggling to cope. The thought of another 6-9 months of this made me seriously think about my future here. However, getting personally involved in the guiding coalition helped me to take some control back, and the course has taught me so much about my own ability to take responsibility for how I feel about things .. "

AS, Staff Representative.
Solution:
The consultants brought together a guiding coalition of professionals from across the organisation that had a specific interest in employee wellbeing and performance. These included representatives from the human resources team, occupational health; service functions and staff representative groups. The coalition was supported in identifying the key areas that needed to be addressed immediately and also those areas that needed to be addressed over the longer term.
Some 'quick wins' were put in place along with some longer term programmes that addressed issues of recruitment and retention of employees; flexible benefits; employee engagement; personal wellness strategies; reward and performance.

Great care was taken to position the programme so that it was not viewed with scepticism or as a token gesture. Where possible, it was shown how a specific initiative contributed to their existing service plans and individual performance objectives. As part of their strategic approach to 'organisational wellness' a wellbeing programme was put in place which was designed to both raise awareness of healthy working/living and to provide employees with the tools and techniques to take greater control of their own lives.

Outcome:
After three months, teams reported feeling more energised and motivated. There was a higher level of participation and engagement and managers felt more equipped to deal with the emotional impact of change. Whilst recognising that there was no quick fix, the senior team did feel confident that they had stopped the decline and were now looking forward to the future with heightened optimism.
Case Study 3: Education Project: employer engagement

Challenge:
The local authority had a number of disjointed initiatives aimed at providing employment opportunities for different groups e.g. young people, people with disabilities and those leaving care. In addition, they also wanted to encourage local people to apply for jobs and were interested in targeting graduate recruitment and 'modern apprenticeships'. Whilst work was already being undertaken in some of these areas, there was no overarching strategy around this nor was there any pooling of resources from within the organisation. People struggled to find out exactly what work was being undertaken and by whom in the organisation, leading to frustration and wasted resources. In the midst of all this, the organisation had been asked to take a lead in 'employer engagement' within local schools.

"I am taken aback by the progress some of the students made by having a real business input… Please pass on our most sincere thanks to everyone who contributed."

ST, 14-19 Development Manager.

Solution:
A key starting point was to explain to senior managers how all the initiatives fitted together under the overarching theme of 'workforce planning and development'. They were also shown how an employer engagement initiative could help them demonstrate their 'corporate social responsibility' within their community. It was proposed that all the interlinked initiatives be led and co-ordinated from one central point rather than from several different departments. This gave the employer engagement programme more focus and credibility and ensured that people were clearer on their intended outcomes. A pilot was established with one business and enterprise college whereby a class working on health and social care were supported in developing a wellbeing programme for the local authority. Another group studying business administration were provided with real experience in applying for jobs and were given mock interviews followed by detailed feedback. A number of taught modules were also introduced into the classroom to support the curriculum and to give the students an insight into what it would be like working within this sector.

Outcome:
An in-depth evaluation was undertaken that provided the organisation with rich feedback on how it could improve some of its core processes if it wanted to attract young people into the sector. Feedback from the students themselves indicated a high level of engagement and participation, improved confidence and an impressive rise in their end of term grades. The project was viewed very positively by the school's inspectors and the case study was subsequently written up in several publications.
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