Expertise

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​Expertise

We have exceptional expertise in: analysing organisational capability and identifying and acting on opportunities to improve performance at individual, team and organisational levels. Our project work often includes assessment and selection, individual and team development, performance management and appraisal design.  To find out more click on any of the articles below.

  
  
  
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Changing a 'that's the way we have always done it' culture into a 'high performance' culture
Culture change

Shropshire Council had to do more with less, they had to do it well and they needed to ensure each member of staff had the capacity and capability to help their communities.

Every day, each and everyone one of us influences and is influenced by our own performance and the performances of our colleagues. This in turn influences what we are able to achieve, in Shropshire Council's case, for the individuals and communities of Shropshire.  We worked with Shropshire Council to help them create a high performance culture; an organisation in which they supported each other to make influences on performance both positive and appropriate.  We were able to transfer our skills to the Shropshire team so that they could lead the project internally and truly own it.

 

 

The new system brought many benefits for individual Council staff:

  • a process designed to support and enhance performance
  • better identification of development needs and opportunities
  • clear sense of direction for the forthcoming year
  • action plans for development
  • better career planning
  • appraisals of performance that are fair and without surprises

and for Shropshire Council as an organisation:

  • improved performance of individuals in their current roles
  • linking individual objectives to corporate objectives
  • consistent approach across the council
  • developing potential across the council
  • clear definition of what is expected of people
  • more effective succession planning

 

 

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Helping to make change work in the NHS
Organisational development

Substantial changes have been imposed on parts of the NHS. We helped redesign a major Primary Care Trust into Commissioning and Commissioning Support Organisations.  Much of previous change in the NHS had been in name only: no real changes to the work happening on the ground.  Changes to how work is carried out would now be a fundamental change to working practices, reflecting the new purpose of these new organisations. Previously funded by the government to provide services to General Practitioners (GPs), funding was about to be given directly to GPs who could choose which providers they would buy services from. The new Commissioning Support Organisations (CSOs) would have a more commercial role than previously in the NHS and would eventually need to win business for their future survival. 

We analysed the needs of the situation by collecting views of needs and practical constraints from providers, job holders and purchasers. This information, combined with task and activity data, was used to: define new roles; establish job performance criteria; and, to identify organisational change priorities.

Job performance criteria and organisational change priorities informed our design and implementation of a bespoke suite of assessment and appraisal tools to support a new organisation capable of fulfilling its new purpose.  We also provided training and additional support, for users of these tools, to ensure new staff would match the new requirements and to help staff transferring from the old organisation to establish a personal targeted development plan to get them ready for the new challenges.

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From poor performance to prize winning excellence
Performance management

An audit report laid a substantial proportion of blame for poor service delivery on inadequate management of staff.  WHE UK was invited to help change the way in which performance was viewed and managed within the council.

Performance received very little attention beyond the purpose and tasks listed in job descriptions. This narrow view of work and performance was eroding service quality and ignoring the impact that staff had on each other and the impact of staff on service users and suppliers.

Staff needed to understand that performance was not just about what they did but also the quality of what they produced and how they went about their work, i.e. their behaviour toward each other and toward service users and suppliers. Everyone at every level in an organisation has some influence on their own and the performance of their colleagues and we set out to raise staff awareness of their influence and how to make that influence positive.

First we had to change staff perceptions of performance to include the role of behaviour in performance. This was achieved through awareness raising events and processes supported through a small team of change champions.

Next we designed and delivered a two day experiential learning programme to over 400 managers - inspiring and enabling them to make and continue to make their influences on performance positive.  Day one combined practical exercises and theory.  Day two provided opportunities to practise learning from day one with professional actors playing the roles of staff.

99% of managers attending these events thought they would use their new knowledge and skills in their work. With our focus on evidence, we did not take this for granted and assessed the real impact of the programme. Managers on these events nominated two of their team members to provide anonymous feedback on their manager's approach to performance management both before and after their manager attended an event.

310 team members completed the pre event evaluation and 270 team members completed the post event evaluation of their managers.  157 (62%) of team members reported that their managers had improved their approach to managing performance.

Differences in pre and post event behaviour of managers:

  • Better understanding of their role as manager
  • More approachable
  • Gives ownership
  • Listens more
  • More time to speak to me
  • More meetings with me
  • Asks for my opinion
  • Better planning / process
  • Recognised and dealt with outstanding issues
  • More focused

The positive impact of this programme was felt throughout the organisation. Trafford MBC made a significant investment in changing how performance is viewed and managed within the Council. Following this programme Trafford MBC won an award for excellence in the quality and its approach to service delivery.

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Helping a small charity get the right people
Selection

With a limited Lottery funded budget, it was essential that Gibran invested wisely in its recruitment. Staff needed to perform effectively using Gibran values from day one.  Mistakes could have had a significant impact both in wasted precious funds and in poor support for the charity's beneficiaries.

WHE UK worked with Gibran to clarify its values and to develop recruitment critical behavioural criteria for each role. We helped design advertisements that would attract 'Gibran people'. We developed a fair application and sifting process and we designed appropriate methods to assess job applicants. 

Throughout the work we shared our knowledge and expertise with Gibran.  This will enable their staff to manage this type of project internally and reduce costs on selection in the future.

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