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Culture by design for a local government organisation

Community | Local Government
Culture by Design

1. Overview

Building a culture for the business and people to thrive

Still emerging from COVID-19 and with a new vision and strategy, the Executive team of a large Western Australian metropolitan local government turned its attention to culture. The City wanted to get a current state of play, from which to build a culture that enabled its employees to thrive.

2. What did we help achieve?

Organisation-wide consultation and in-depth conversations around current and desired future culture which resulted in:

  • Co-created future aspirational culture statement
  • Agreed set of leadership principles
  • Refreshed set of organisational values
  • Priority culture development areas for the Executive Team to focus on
  • Culture measured and benchmarked as a baseline to assess progress
  • Commitment to pulse the culture on an ongoing basis

3. The Challenges

What was important to achieve?

The organisation’s response to COVID not only disrupted the City’s plan to implement its regular culture review, but it also created an opportunity to do more work on the culture. Many positive behaviours and ways of working were formed during the City’s response to COVID, and the organisation wanted to ensure these were embedded in the culture moving forward. Additionally, with the increase in hybrid working, the City, like many organisations, was figuring out ways to maintain connection, collaboration and knowledge sharing among its workforce.

The City wanted to build culture that would:

  • Maximise opportunities to better serve the community.
  • Drive the collaboration and empowerment of staff.
  • Reduce employees operating in silos.
  • Improve the workplace experience.
  • Enhance the overall performance of the organisation.

4. The Keogh Approach

A co-creation and partnering approach to ensure engagement and buy-in

The work was undertaken in two phases:

  • Phase one was focused on co-creating the future state culture, working closely with the Executive and HR team and supported by an enthusiastic internal team of culture champions.
  • Phase two involved the formal measurement of the City’s culture, using Keogh’s own culture survey, Cultivate. Working closely with HR and the culture champions, results were cascaded across the organisation and culture action plans were developed.

5. Summary of the Results

The City now has a clear description of the culture it needs to build that will not only help it deliver its strategy, but also help its employees to thrive, reinforced by a refreshed set of organisational values.

Additionally, leaders have a clear set of principles, behaviours and guidelines that will help them lead the culture change.

Through the Cultivate Survey, the City has a clear idea of its current culture, and the areas it needs to focus on to achieve its aspiration.

A commitment to conducting regular pulse checks will ensure the City maintains momentum and regularly receives feedback on the effectiveness of its culture action plans.