- When we do user research with businesses about our Services, we also talk to our staff that are delivering them.
- Just like customers, we often hear the same things from staff, over and over again, regardless of which design, platform or web page we’re testing.
- These issues are not aimed upwards at management, but represent the lived reality of everyone in the organisation, and are there for all of us to fix
Here is what they tell us:
1. Do things in smaller chunks
- Large projects get very complicated quite quickly. It is hard to manage and it takes longer to deliver anything.
- The chances of going off track, or events overtaking us are higher with big projects.
- Smaller chunks mean that people get to experience delivering something even if they are only on the project for a short time.
2. Be more transparent
- Transparency and understanding are vital to delivering good, joined up services.
- Many people do not fully understand why and when decisions are being made, and this can make decision making harder.
3. Communicate better
The focus is on better and not More.
- Staff now have so many information sources that they are drowning in information.
- 300 Page documents are no longer that useful. Staff want communication in the same way that customers do: Short and to the point.
- They like clear, simple language and bullet points.
- They hate long paragraphs and jargon. (just like our Customers)
- This covers how every staff member communicates with each other.
- Communications need to be designed for their customers needs. In this case, other staff members are usually the customers.
This also ties into the first point, with staff asking for Change to be communicated in smaller chunks, to give them time to absorb it.
Our language confuses customers and us.
- Government loves acronyms and confusing service names. It saves time if you are in the gang. It is awful if you are not
- Everybody benefits from plain English and names that say what they do.
5. Training and Preparation
Unsurprisingly having just come through Covid, staff feel that the faster rate of Service development and delivery can leave them on the back foot.
- Tight deadlines often result in lack of Training and Preparation time.
- The only suggested solution so far, is to onboard staff and train them in parallel with Service Development.
- Staff also want to be clear about Roles and Responsibilities
This then ties into the first 4 points rather well.
- We need to achieve common understanding of what we are trying to achieve (from top to bottom of the organization, using appropriate language at each)
- Vision needs to be kept simple, and also translated for each level of the organisation. Comms, Language, Transparency?
- Everyone thinks that Vision is a problem area BUT that it is someone else’s problem to fix. This suggests that Vision is viewed as something that is done to you rather than something that you are part of.
- The most successful projects that we see, have a really well understood Vision, that everyone gets. There are definite similarities with Sport Coaching on these projects with:
- Repetition of the Vision
- Showing the big picture
- Splitting it down to smaller chunks to concentrate on
- Demonstrating how these smaller chunks then fit back together to create the big picture.
You could summarise this as Vision > Outcomes > Outputs > Activity > Outputs > Outcomes > Vision and repeat.
Prioritisation needs to be Transparent and Dynamic.
- There was a lot of feedback about arbitrary deadlines, and the issues they can cause.
- This is mainly because staff do not know why they are set and how much weight to give them.
- They also don’t understand mechanisms to influence them.
8. Sustainable Pace
Projects need to find a sustainable pace that enables all the other things mentioned here, and does not push them to the end of the project.
- With faster change and more resource/program management, staff are now working in what equates to permanent project mode.
- This means that they expect projects to not burn them out.
They need to be in good shape for the next project.
- Projects now need to encapsulate all the activities that would previously have been done when staff returned to their business as usual day jobs.
We need to get better at managing Change
- Change management is viewed as inconsistent with it mostly happening in individual projects or programs
- Risks and Issues don’t escalate up or filter down between projects well.
- Staff really want to use Risk and Issue logs as a positive way of improving, rather than viewing them as a negative.
10. The Basics
There are a bunch of Basic Things that we just need to get right. No excuses.
Staff are much more aware of things like:
- Net Zero / Low Carbon
- Plain English
- Customer Experience
They expect to be involved in these and that we give them the emphasis that they deserve.
Common “Cross Cutting” Themes
It is quite obvious that a few common themes run through all of these
- Being clear about What, Why, When, How and communicating it regularly and clearly
- Staff want things in Bite Size chunks.
- This holds true for pretty much everything from Vision and Communications to Delivery and Governance
- Staff are more educated than ever
- They hold vast amounts of information about our Services and Customers
- They want to be involved in how we improve things 🙂