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New approaches to managing APS performance and transformation

Earlier this week we hosted a breakfast seminar, with speakers Darren Menachemson and Lyndall Marshall, about new approaches to managing APS performance and transformation.

Darren Menachemson is the Chief for Digital Societies and a Global Partner of ThinkPlace. Darren began by sharing the difficulties of getting people to participate in a colon cancer screening process - which was free and easily accessible. Darren spoke about human centred design, placing the human at heart and finding out about what their needs are, what their pain points are, and what their barriers are.

Darren defined behaviour as

“how we give effect to values, to priorities; behaviours aren’t just actions we take, they’re an expression of our beliefs, they’re an expression of our motivations, our interests, and our fears”.

Darren spoke about three pillars for transformative design - our experience, a system, and behavioural barriers. These are strategies that we have to intervene in the behavioural side of design in the world. When we understand what drives behaviour, we can find ways to nudge that behaviour and increase performance in the workplace.

Lyndall Marshall, Assistant Director for HR at the Australian Research Council, shared her journey of transforming performance management. Like many other agencies, ARC used the standard approach to performance management - a mandated review every 12 months. This placed a great amount of stress on employees as they entered this review on whether they were meeting expectations or not. There was also a common view that development and training opportunities were reserved for high performing employees. Lyndall had a vision for change, and the team at ARC wanted to change to a BOLD structure - Building Opportunities and Leadership Development, particularly ensuring there were opportunities for leadership at all levels, continuous development, and high performing teams.

Lyndall found that PentaQuest was an excellent fit for what her and her team had in mind. Working closely together and implementing the PentaQuest approach, benefits ARC has found include:

  • Supervisor-staff member meetings happening weekly and fortnightly across the agency, rather than every 6 months

  • Access by both supervisor and employee to revisit the Performance Plan any time, and the ability to update goals and templates to individual needs

  • Ease of updating information for mobility within organisation

  • HR reporting to identify trends in L&D requirements

  • Link to other ARC activities eg mandatory eLearning, surveys, events

  • “Fun” element with gamification - accruing points and receiving rewards

Lyndall knows that culture change is hard and can take time, and she and the team at ARC are continually working to keep up the momentum of this transformation.

The final speaker for the seminar was, Dr. Kerstin Oberprieler, who spoke about the 5 steps for change and transformation in workplace culture. She started with five challenges that are faced in the workplace:

  • employee engagement

  • customer attention and retention

  • The self and well-being

  • environment and sustainability

  • and political engagement and policy making.

  • To address these challenges they need to be looked at through the lens of human behaviour.

Behavioural science gives us the structure, methodology, and vocabulary to better understand, predict, and shift behaviour.

The 5 steps

  1. Break the transformation down into behaviours

  2. The behaviour needs to be small, relevant and frequent

  3. Nudge these behaviours often

  4. Use digital implementation to ensure the change is systematic, scalable and measurable

  5. Look for both tactic (quick wins) and strategic (transformation) opportunities to apply this method

Kerstin concluded by challenging participants with reflection questions:

  • If I could create culture and engagement change at my workplace, what difference would that make?

  • If I was to be an effective change agent, how might my behaviour be different, and what would that look like?

  • How could I consistently nudge my workplace in the direction that I want?

  • What systems might I use to ensure the change is systematic, scalable, and measurable?

  • What are the tactical and strategic opportunities?

The insights shared by the three speakers were valuable and also practical. If you're looking at how to create sustainable transformation in your workplace, use these tips for your implementation. You can also get in touch by booking a call with one of our experts here:

If you missed out, you can watch the recording for the seminar here:

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