While Keogh is usually tasked with unlocking potential for corporate businesses, when the QUT Guild needed help as a tertiary organisation run solely by university students, Keogh was able to set a clear long-term strategy with purpose and design a flourishing workplace culture that’s improved staff retention and engagement.
QUT Guild approached Keogh at the end of 2021 at a time when the Guild needed help running a young team of fairly inexperienced students tasked with great responsibility for 36,000 university students and 160 student clubs.
Consistency of purpose, vision and a long-term strategic direction had proved to be challenging for the QUT Guild, given the short 12-month tenure of the elected executive committee.
“We are a large not-for-profit organisation run by students who are primarily undergraduates who haven’t had much experience working in business or running an organisation,” QUT Guild President Oscar Davison says.
At the time, the strategic direction of the Guild was not well defined while staff were disengaged. “We thought it would be a good idea to bring in a team like Keogh to build a strategy for a young team to better run the organisation and see us do some better forward-planning to look forwards rather than looking at short one-year terms,” he says.
A new workforce of students join the Guild each year with funding coming from student amenity fees and allocations from the Government to fund academic support and student services. “The biggest piece of long-term planning for us revolved around funding because we have strict funding requirements,” Oscar explains.
The Guild needed an improved strategy that engaged and supported students while making the most of the funding. One of the challenges was improving the confidence of the employed students who are reasonably new to business processes such as workplace meetings.
“The biggest thing has been the confidence changes in the students. They are now more confident, they know their role and what to do, which is really important,” Oscar says. “It’s a big concern we hear from the university, with a young team that’s relatively inexperienced. Seeing them now, they’re confident walking into these meetings and it’s something I’m really proud of.”
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For an organisation with a unique structure unlike corporate businesses, Keogh worked with the Guild to develop a strategy that fit the short staff tenure and introduced workshops that suited the team’s needs. “Keogh met us where we’re at rather than trying to make us something we’re not. We had multiple workshops with our entire group and Keogh always made them fun,” Oscar says.
Not only has staff morale and culture improved – with an 88% drop in staff turnover – the five-year strategic plan is steering the Guild in the right direction as a new lot of committee members join each year.
“We have a new team incoming in December and they will be doing their own workshops with Keogh and I’m confident that will provide continuity and stability for the coming years as we move into 2023 and beyond to 2024 and 2025,” Oscar says.
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