Tasmanian Travel and Information Centre
Issues/Pain or Opportunity: Dramatic increases in visitor numbers to the Centre resulted in long queues; conversion of visitors seeking information to actually booking tours/accommodation was low; staff were often frustrated with demands and each other; financial sustainability was affected and staff reductions were necessary to stay on budget.
Reasons: Team were working with visitors one-on-one and most prior training was technical and product oriented; team leaders and manager were busy addressing key Centre issues and developing individual staff; overall team were rostered at different times and seldom met together to build teamwork and an understanding of challenging issues in service.
Capabilities needed: Teamwork and communication workshops that would bring staff together and provide practical skills while facilitating discussion within the team; follow up sessions where staff would learn from each other; procedures and approaches to work as a team for the visitor in the Centre.
We provided: Workshops in customer service and communication to support individual and group performance and enhance discussion amoung the team members; workshop the idea of “handoffs” to staff who had more experience in different travel areas; work with team leaders and management to create new procedures to manage the cues with roving staff and work as a team in the centre; follow up seminars in the centre to imbed.
Result: Staff satisfaction increased significantly and customer service improved; conversion increased (revenue) as visitors with information moved to book with other team members; casual and part-time staff turnover reduced and this improved tourism knowledge and visitor service. Teamwork also created new ideas and innovations within the travel centre and team leaders found changes in systems were well received.
Masonic Homes (Peacehaven and Fred French)
Issues/Pain or Opportunity: A variety of staff come in contact with the residents and can often focus on their tasks and not the overall needs of the residents. Nursing, cleaning, gardening/maintenance, laundry and food service staff can work on their own and by not working as a team for the resident the quality of care can be compromised. Additionally, the staff satisfaction with each other can be low. This causes excess demands on the R.N.s and higher staff turnover. Staff need to demonstrate behaviours that links to the values of the organisation.
Reasons: The culture of the organisation is focused on quality care in each area and needed to foster communication and teamwork between areas; staffs are very busy and need to react to different last minute resident demands causing little time for communication; overall staff do not get together very often to communicate about how they work together. New staff may not have been exposed to the implementation of values in their day to day work.
Capabilities needed: Orientation of new staff in the values of the organisation and how they link to daily behaviours; informal and engaging workshops that address improvements needed for the residents; facilitation to seek their ideas about teamwork; communication and internal customer service issues; a genuine understanding of Aged Care.
We provided: Small group workshop sessions (and new staff orientation) with mixed teams of staff from Masonic met for several 2 hour workshops. These workshops reviewed principles of two way communication, empathy, understanding, tolerance and internal customer service (teamwork). Facilitation opened discussions between staff from all the areas of resident service to help them understand the desired behaviours needed.
Result: Staff first enjoyed the opportunity to learn and participate in the sessions without being lectured. Their job satisfaction increased over the three months and stories emerged about staff in different areas reaching out to other staff to explain resident issues. A cultural change emerged at Masonic as the staff increasingly participated in areas outside their task focus. According to managers, staff were not only aware of behaviours but holding each other responsible for them.
Issues/Pain or Opportunity: Based on the Council’s commitment to continuous improvement, the annual employee engagement survey results illustrated some challenges in the areas of communication, teamwork and dealing with difficult people.
Reasons: The General Manager recognised that the drivers for improvements in these areas would be led by the different managers and team leaders at Council. The informal and formal conversations including meetings and memos needed to focus on appropriate collaboration and two way communication to engage and empower staff. Also the reinforcement of the rights and responsibilities of staff needed to be a manager’s focus.
Capabilities needed: Customised workshops with significant facilitation to challenge and support the Council managers in the areas of their own communication styles and approaches; an understanding of the unique environment of Local Council staff; an understanding of the culture and opportunities within Dorset Council coming from both the employee survey and improved communication with all team members.
We provided: A customised manager development program centered around improving communication within and across teams within Council; facilitation during the program required High Performance to link knowledge of the Council with the challenges that cause poor or miscommunication; a forum to establish action steps of Council manager as a result of the teamwork program.
Result: Council managers were highly engaged in the workshop and upon discussion about opportunities, a number of action steps were agreed to by the team. Follow up with the Council indicated that managers were applying different and new communication approaches that were affecting both teamwork within their departments and across Council. The next employee survey will provide a specific measure of the staff reaction to these management practices and the Senior Managers are confident that these improved approaches are already having a positive effect on Council teamwork.