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Covid-19 Series – local government

While the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting organisations across all sectors, local authorities have several specific obstacles to overcome. Providing vital public services, local government departments have had to quickly adapt their processes, despite budget and technology restraints.

However, with careful planning and the right specialist expertise, councils can continue to meet the needs of their communities, while implementing new working strategies that safeguard employee safety and wellbeing.

Modernising processes

As a provider of “key public services” set out by the Government, local councils are playing a crucial role during the current crisis. With many services experiencing an uptick in demand due to coronavirus and gaps in resources, councils may need to modernise their processes, such as IT and technology, in order to meet this growing need and protect employees.

Remote but connected working

Despite tight budgets and often limited technology infrastructure, much like many other businesses, local government are too having to implement remote working arrangements. To do so effectively, councils need to supply workers with the right technology solutions and think ahead in terms of the impacts that remote working might have on the organisation’s people, processes, systems and infrastructure

Keeping up communication

Over time, working from home may lead to a feeling of isolation. If left unsupported, employees may become disengaged and detached from their teams and the wider organisation; which could damage the overall dynamic and may lead to a dip in productivity. By maintaining an open line of communication and emphasising trust in workers to manage their workload, leaders can maintain team motivation.

Get the right expertise

The need for rapid organisational changes can cause disruption to everyday processes, however, with the right support this can be minimised, and local authorities can ensure that changes are made to last. By relying on experienced specialists, authorities can be successful in relieving short-term pressures and realising the council’s long-term goals.

Through strategic thinking and planning, councils can adapt for the “new normal” in working practices. By adapting to the emerging COVID-19 situation and modernising their processes accordingly, local authorities can emerge from this crisis as more agile organisations.

For more information on how to deliver an effective COVID-19 response, please contact Julie Smith.

Entec Si – coronavirus statement

We are taking the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak very seriously and have put in place a range of measures to help to protect our team and our clients. We’ve been following official guidance from the Government and health authorities to ensure we are minimising the risk exposure, while keeping any disruption to our service limited.

We are very much running as usual, in very unusual circumstances.

The measures we’ve put in place include:

  • Amending company ways of working – We’ve implemented new company policies and operational procedures to safeguard the health and safety of all of our teams and and clients – ensuring our ways of working limit the spread of COVID-19
  • Keeping up-to-date with guidance – Our whole team is receiving official guidance on how to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus and the steps to take if they have coronavirus symptoms
  • Home working –  We’ve always worked flexibly, but remote working has become our new norm for the time being. As some of the sectors we operate in involve key workers, we are attending site on occasions to support these areas, but only when absolutely necessary
  • Daily updates – We’re contingency and continuity planning on an ongoing basis to ensure there is no disruption to the service we provide

How can we help?

We’re in the business of change and we’re helping many to adjust to this new world. Now is the time to make change happen, not run away from it and for many businesses, there is no choice but to adapt.

Although this is unlike any usual circumstance, there are many ways in which we can support businesses through the coronavirus outbreak – get in touch for support and guidance. The areas of most interest at the moment include:

  1. Business continuity planning
  2. Implementing remote working for your staff, including fit for purpose tools and technology, processes, procedures, documents, training and support
  3. Facilitation of online meetings and documentation/online workshops/FAQs
  4. Supply chain analysis
  5. eLearning development

Five steps to managing change in the charity sector

Effective operational change can help charities to make the most of their existing resources, boost internal efficiencies and attract further support from donors. The sector’s ever-growing emphasis on ‘value for money’ and difficulties around securing funding are increasing the need for streamlined processes, which have a positive impact on public perception.

Following these five top tips can help charities to drive value from transformation projects, and benefit those in need.

Recognise red flags

Staying alert for signs that a charity is struggling to achieve its objectives can help when deciding whether to implement operational change. Warning signs might include high levels of stress or a lack of motivation amongst employees. Inefficient processes and the lack of a proactive approach within an organisation may also indicate the need for urgent improvements.

Drive forward digital transformation

Having a strong digital strategy in place is essential for enabling accountability around spending decisions and measuring the impact of a charity’s work. Other important benefits of digital solutions include:

  • Streamlined internal processes and systems
  • Enhanced communications with employees working remotely
  • Increased competitiveness

Choose a tailored change solution

Choosing a bespoke change solution, which complements a charity’s existing resources and works alongside employees, is vital. Doing so will ensure that change projects deliver long-term results. This approach provides the workforce with opportunities to upskill and boosts their sense of ownership.

Bolster employee buy-in

Investing time in internally communicating the reasons for change is vital for securing employees’ commitment to making transformation projects a success. Assessing potential impacts on the workforce, and taking steps to mitigate these in advance helps to ensure a smooth change transition.

See the bigger change picture

Strained resources, funding issues and time-poor employees may mean that charities fail to view change projects as a priority. However, when implemented effectively, organisational transformation can significantly enhance efficiencies whilst supporting long-term relationships with donors.

For more information or to discuss change management solutions further, please contact Anna Lane.

Driving value from business change in HE

Investing in up-to-date facilities and undertaking a business culture transformation could support UK universities in a number of ways. Not only can it help to maintain profitability, but it could also mitigate the impact of Brexit on overseas applications. However, the disparate nature of many institutions and difficulties in accessing funding can make business transformation challenging for the sector.

Here are five steps to drive effective business change. They will help gain the support of the entire university community and keep costs under control:

Outline business change objectives

To ensure large-scale transformation projects run smoothly, it’s essential to map out key drivers for the programme at an early stage. Undertaking a gap analysis will enable universities to consider the current outputs and actions needed to improve efficiencies. By doing this, comparisons with competitor institutions can be made.

Prioritise

Rather than attempting to handle all areas of a change project at once, institutions should divide it into specific areas. This will enable them to prioritise changes which offer the best return on investment. They can then focus on these first. For example, streamlining the supply chain can have a rapid and significant impact across different stakeholder groups

Evaluate processes and systems

Technological innovations across the sector are developing at a rapid pace. As a result, HE institutions should waste no time in a thoroughly reviewing their processes and systems. This will allow any improvements to be included in the business transformation programme. It will also help to drive efficiencies across the project.

Create a communications plan

People experience business change in different ways. For this reason, it’s important that the communications plan for large projects considers the need to communicate to a variety of stakeholders. This should be done using a range of different channels. Including an FAQ section or site can prove a useful way of anticipating stakeholders’ likely questions. It also provides them with the information they need.

Ensuring stakeholders are onboard with business changes is crucial. A successful communications plan, using honest and consistent messaging, will help win trust.

Consider external reputation

Reputation is crucial for HE institutions. Therefore it’s vital that they give thought to communicating change externally and maintaining a positive public image. During this process, universities should ensure that their external messaging aligns with what has been communicated to internal stakeholders.

For more information or to discuss change management solutions further, please contact Eman Al-Hillawi or Peter Marsden.

Three key steps to navigating the politics of change

Business politics can be one of the main challenges when looking to drive successful business change. However, the careful navigation of internal politics is a factor that is often overlooked.

Here are three ways that effective change can be achieved while ensuring that political sensitivities are managed:

1. Communicate

When faced with change, the natural reaction of most people is to consider the personal impact this will have on them. A good change programme should consider the implications of the suggested approach for each employee. Consequently it should offer support mechanisms right from the very beginning.

In turn, this will also make it easier to anticipate and mitigate any setbacks. By building in buffer time and creating a communications strategy you are able to pre-empt any issues.

2. Map out stakeholder groups

While focus is usually placed on senior stakeholders, influencers are in fact often spread across the business and may be found in many different positions. By mapping out stakeholder groups at an early stage in the change programme, it becomes far easier to determine who the true influencers are within an organisation. The easiest and most effective way to do this is by spending time with employees and gaining a better understanding of the workforce and its dynamics.

3. Review the reasons behind resistance

It can be easy to dismiss resistance as defiance when coordinating a transformation programme. However, it is important to consider whether there is an underlying reason for this behaviour. Different people have different worries and similarly respond to different methods of communication.

As such, thought should be given to how the change process can be organised. This will ensure that it reflects the needs of the majority of employees. By adopting this approach from the start, change managers can help businesses to avoid costly and time-consuming resistance throughout the project.

Five things to remember during a tender process

Avoiding disruptions to daily business processes when putting IT or other third-party services out to tender can be difficult. It’s vital that the right provider is chosen and that changes are communicated as early as possible. But how can this be done effectively?

Here are the five things that will make your tender process as seamless as possible.

Clarity

Clarity is key when putting services out to tender. Businesses should start by clearly defining the scope of their requirements. This will ensure that the third-party provider understands what is expected of them. Once this is achieved, it’s easier to gain an understanding of cost expectations and which suppliers the business should be targeting.

Find the perfect match

It’s important to assess potential service providers by their:

  • Culture
  • Capacity
  • Capability
  • Track record

Discovering whether they have experience in the relevant field and if there is a good culture fit is often a good place to start.

Compare cost and quality

Scoring potential providers against their responses to the tender requirements can help establish value for money. At this point, it’s also worth checking whether there’s scope for contract flexibility. In the long run this can save precious time and money as business requirements develop.

Communicate

The smooth onboarding of a new provider requires excellent communication. Developing a comprehensive internal communications plan keeps the current workforce up to date. However, it’s also important to ensure that third parties are making use of similar technologies. Subsequently doing this can have a huge impact on communications between the organisation and the provider as the project progresses.

Acknowledge it will not be an isolated change

Although external providers may be introduced for one specific reason, there will always be wider changes to be made. Consequently this often creates a snowball effect, with one change triggering the need for others. Being prepared for any extra alterations is an important in keeping the tender process seamless.

For more information or to discuss change management solutions further, please contact Eman Al-Hillawi or Peter Marsden.

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