Finding common ground through behaviours
In 2016, WYCA was a new organisation emerging from a combination of the Local Enterprise Partnership, and Metro, the transport authority. The organisations had different histories and governance – and very different cultures. The leadership of WYCA wanted to create one organisation aligned behind a clear vision and mission, underpinned by coherent values and consistent behaviours.
Karen was engaged by Proventure Consulting. She developed the project plan, undertook most of the research for the new values, designed interview guides, workshops and focus group processes and wrote the final recommendations for this work.
Karen’s view about values is that they are often un-named and stay in the background. What people see is the behaviours – a legitimate concern for the organisation. So rather than begin with the identification of ‘values’, questions to the management team asked:
- The purpose of the organisation and whether this was uniformly understood
- To describe the culture
- What were the strong and weak elements of the organisation
- What WCYA would need to do to achieve its objectives
The idea was to create a process where all members of the organisation had a say in the new behaviours with the values ‘emerging’ from the behaviours. Behaviours can’t be changed unless they go into a welcoming environment where mistakes are tolerated, and learning encouraged – so Karen also asked questions about the changes needed in the system if new behaviours were to ‘stick’.
Workshops with the management team presented the information from their sessions and through discussion. Karen developed an initial rough version of the behaviours and the values they implied. This was then tested through employee focus groups. Karen designed the focus group process which WYCA’s HR and marketing teams delivered through the organisation, gathering feedback from more than 70 employees (roughly 25% of the workforce).
All of the feedback, from all corners of the organisation, and including feedback from external political and commercial stakeholders, was examined, analysed and incorporated into the development of the final report.
Given the very different organisations in WYCA, we were delighted that the approval rating from employees was so high – nearly 90% of the workforce agreed that the values and behaviours were ‘right’ for WYCA.
The recommendations for the behaviours and values within WYCA were accepted and further adopted by the marketing and HR teams giving a sense of being different from the past and reflecting the change wanted and happening within WYCA.
“Thank you for conducting a highly useful workshop today, I came away from the session feeling highly motivated to enact the changes which the group discussed. I will be working with my OMT colleagues to follow this through and to make the improvements which WYCA as a whole will benefit from. It was terrific.” (Management Team Member)
“It’s a terrific piece of work.” Managing Director
Client:West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) – via Proventure Consulting
Skills: Change, employee research, facilitation, analysis and development