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.
A Government Agency that specialised in training, assessment, examinations and policy was required to change purpose and become a Professional Body as part a decision to reduce quangos. The Government required the Agency to become a stand-alone Standard Setting body that would eventually evolve into a self-funded membership organisation. Merielle Ghali, now of MRG Associates, worked alongside the Chief Operating Officer (COO) to bring about the change. During the six months before the transformation, Merielle examined the legislation necessary for the new body, to implement policy and standards for national Workforce Strategy, for a wide variety of paid and volunteer staff. Merielle proactively reviewed her policy team's skill set and best fit for new roles, and identified opportunities for team members in the new organisation or negotiated with the parent department to take them, in advance of the transformation to the new organisation. The outcome was that all of Merielle's team were not put at risk of redundancy. During the transformation, Merielle was responsible for bringing in specialised change expertise, producing FAQs to hold Change team members to account, and opening up dialogue with staff through outreach activities Merielle’s efforts to drive extensive outreach activities early in the transformation were highly beneficial. She spoke with over 300 people, across the UK, acting as a conduit between the profession, staff in the body, the Change team and the Board. This gave individuals a voice to provide valuable feedback and shape what the new organisation would look like and how it would function. Facing redundancy herself, Merielle had credibility with colleagues in a similar position, some of whom had been in post for years. Merielle provided support to individuals at a very emotional time, helping them to understand what the change meant for them, and find positive opportunities during a difficult time. Staff gained confidence in the change process due to Merielle’s outreach activities. Many people said that they appreciated being able to talk with someone ‘real’ and ‘approachable’, which made them feel valued. This made a significant contribution to a new organisation based on feedback, with people bought into the change process.