Education & Training

Culture Change Program to Increasing Customer Satisfaction & Staff Engagement


A University business department managing $3 billion in replacement asset values & $500 million a year in projects was facing significant criticism from clients. Service to customers & the quality of teamwork within the business needed to improve.


In 2009-10 the Executive Director of this business department turned to Karen Delvin, SG Team Leader – Effectiveness Consulting for assistance to help him engage staff, lift performance & regain credibility within the institution. Karen & a highly skilled team of Effectiveness Consultants worked with the Senior Management Team to develop a comprehensive & ‘human-centred’ Cultural Change Program. Taking a systems view of the organisation, work focused on the critical areas of leadership development, customer satisfaction, communication & cross-unit cooperation. A strategic framework was developed to target strategic property decisions & service to clients. Specific skills development occurred in achievement thinking, problem-solving, customer service, & coaching skills. The cultural diagnostic tool used was Human Synergistics’s Organisational Culture Inventory (OCI)™ provided a profile of the organisation’s operating culture revealing the behaviours that members believe are required to ‘fit in & meet expectations’. The 2010 OCI survey showed that the department was a long way from the culture everyone said they wanted. There was limited accountability. Staff were avoiding making mistakes or taking responsibility & tended to look to others to make decisions. This benchmark survey was used to test progress in 2011 & 2014.


A university-wide staff engagement survey in 2013 revealed large improvements, of more than 20%, in change & innovation, followed by staff wellness & organisation processes. In 2014, the OCI re-test confirmed the transformation. In 2014, the Executive Director proudly accepted a National industry award for an increase in staff engagement because of the culture change initiative. He pointed to the massive improvements in the organisational culture & said this had been noted by senior management & staff across the institution. The department had dramatically improved its service to clients & arguably was managing expectations very well in a tough environment where you can’t always say ‘yes’. After accepting the industry award, the Executive Director said: “It could only have happened under the high-quality guidance & professional support that Karen & her team of high-quality Consultants have provided.” Importantly, he also recently stated that his staff are now better placed to deal with the widespread & complex change taking place within the broader institution.

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