Awards won for move to a new Government department
A Unit of approximately 50 people within a Government Department needed to move to a much larger Government Department within the space of two months, an unusually fast time-frame for a move of this nature.
This presented many challenges including:
Different IT platforms in the original and new Department e.g. Google to Outlook
Different pay scales and terms and conditions in the new Department
Different processes and procedures in the new Department, with a more risk adverse culture
Staff who had been through prior moves were suffering from 'move fatigue.'
Heavy high-pressure staff workloads
Requirement to minimise disruption to Ministerial support
Merielle Ghali took a leading role in co-ordinating the move. Her remit was to act as the lead representative for the unit, advising and helping them to communicate effectively, and holding them to account.
To ensure a smooth move, Merielle:
Built relationships with key members of the new Department in advance
Built change champions in each of the teams who were moving
Participated in Director General level, and Weekly Change Team meetings and cascaded information accordingly
Involved the Change Board, Change Team, IT and Facilities teams in weekly cascades to disseminate information and ensure direct two-way feedback
Acted as a conduit between the Change Team and the staff affected by the move
Tracked all aspects of the move, including FAQs, weekly updating and traffic light reporting
The Change Champions were critical to the success of the move. Champions were selected from the Directorates of the Unit and were able to use their insight and networks to help Merielle gather and share information. Champions assisted on a practical level by owning logistics on move day itself.
With an aggressive two-month time-line from announcement to move day, rapidly integrating the Unit into the culture of the new Department was it was a high priority. Merielle worked closely with staff to manage expectations, while ensuring that voices were heard, to reach sensible cost effective solutions.
The two most challenging aspects of the move were IT and HR. Both were tackled with phased moves.
The IT move happened over six months, so that staff could move to new systems gradually. Temporary wifi solutions were set up to support this, along with sessions with IT support and floorwalking. GOV.UK webpages were updated and Merille negotiated to have them set up as a stand-alone agency to future-proof the Unit for potential further moves. Unit staff were trained to upload their own content.
Staff had concerns about differences in pay grades and terms and conditions across the two Departments. Merielle arranged opportunities for individuals to speak with HR to discuss concerns and understand the new working arrangements.
Once individuals physically moved into their new office space, Merielle led on aftercare, managing queries and problems, with a list of live and often complex issues. One example was poor lighting, which required the procurement of special lighting. The Unit kept all records and logs to act as a blueprint for future moves.
Staff feedback on the move was very positive, with staff saying that they felt wanted as part of the new Department. Merielle won two awards for her work supporting the move.