BCEO leveraged a move to new premises to create a contemporary workplace culture that would complement the new work environment. BCEO undertook an organisational review and set the strategic drivers for change based on the principles of: “We Are Learners, We Are Connected, We Are Agile, We Are Balanced”.
The rollout of new technologies supported a desire for an open, collaborative environment. Fully aligned training to improve performance and digital skills across BCEO was integral to the larger picture of workplace culture change.
Brisbane Catholic Education is committed to high quality teaching and learning for more than 70,000 young people in a community of 141 schools within the Archdiocese of Brisbane, one of the largest Catholic dioceses in Australia. BCEO has 430 staff in six locations across the Archdiocese, stretching from the Gold Coast to Hervey Bay.
BCEO undertook a three month staff engagement process, which “captured BCEO’s & individual staff member’s needs which were distilled into an Aspirational Brief to help us more clearly define our role in supporting schools,” says Jennifer Adams, Change Manager of the BCEO Relocation Project.
Technology was identified as a critical component in aligning the new workplace, how staff connect across multiple locations. Another priority was enabling staff to more effectively use their time.
A clear goal was to reduce email, in favour of sharing information and using online co-authoring via centralised access to single documents, and prioritising Skype over physically jumping in a car to work together. “Information is one of our greatest assets and we wanted our staff to have the skills to manage it more effectively,” Jennifer says.
BCEO rolled out new PC & Apple devices and Microsoft Office 365 (O365) to benefit from its team-focused features and cloud services. Key to the investment was the enabling power of a comprehensive training program.
All BCEO staff were initially invited to respond to the Gartner Digital Skills self-assessment. “We ended up with great data about attitudes to technology, what our people did and didn’t know, which skills the staff thought they needed and the gaps the business identified heading into the future,” Jennifer says.
BCEO brought CompNow to the O365 training conversation: “The CompNow team understood what we needed immediately. They made sure we were presenting a logical solution with aligned goals and language – and they made it easy for staff to see value in the training. It was like creating a new set of road rules so we could drive safely, and enjoy the journey without having to think about how to get there,” Jennifer says.
CompNow sat down with a group of senior leaders in an exercise to align the features in O365 with BCEO’s corporate principles. The skills mapping from the Gartner survey were synthesised into a structured program that focused on both staff role needs, as well as leveraging O365 to enable the organisation to use its resources more effectively.
The first phase of the rollout, mandatory onsite training sessions, for all staff. This included the Executive Director and the Senior Leadership Team who were determined to lead by example.
The sessions were to take communications and create-store-retrieve usage to new levels. Success would result in a common set of skills across BCEO, and for O365 to be adopted in a consistent way. BCEO then committed to a further 18 months of focussed coaching, which drilled into the functionality that would develop efficiencies in each team.
CompNow’s training made it all come together: “It was a relief to find people who listened and were single-minded in creating a bespoke training program that really worked for us. And they were very willing to listen to feedback and modify the program as we went along,” Jennifer says.
The CompNow project manager and trainers have extensive backgrounds in scoping and delivery specific to O365. Jennifer says: “They were always professional and upbeat. Their product knowledge was impressive – they delivered the courses well and answered all the questions. They were even able to incorporate the constant upgrades that occurred in O365 over the months of the program rollout.”
As a direct effect of the detailed consultative process leading to the program’s design, Jennifer says there was “very little resistance” to the technology introduction and its associated training because “staff understood the challenges and the goals”.
The training has resulted in significant improvements in collaboration and effective information sharing, as well as in how BCEO staff better exploit and manage their devices: “It’s had a great impact and is outstandingly successful from both the business and the staff perspectives,” Jennifer says.
“We’re no longer reinventing the wheel. Our people now know how to find existing resources, contact resource creators & form better professional connections as they build on existing resources where relevent.”
Training is now a constant: “We are Learners”. Staff feel supported as they have access to the latest technology and the courseware that help them maximise O365’s effectiveness. The O365 program is part of every new staff member’s induction. And any team, executive or individual can request training in new tools specific to a task or project.
“Our staff are now highly engaged, there’s no angst about technology use. Because they are doing things the same way, teams work seamlessly across the organisation. They can not only get on with their jobs but have more time for creation and innovation,” Jennifer says.