You’ve been to a workshop on Capability Framework implementation, you did some great activities on understanding it, and you also appreciate what it takes to build a business case. Great! Now you’re back at work motivated to move forward.
BUT you have a million things that need your attention sitting on your desk and very little time to allocate to this project. So how can you possibly think about implementing the Capability Framework with such limited resources?
Let’s acknowledge this right up front. Implementing the Local Government NSW Capability Framework requires time and resources. However, it doesn’t all have to be done at once. You can begin implementation with limited resources.
All you need to get started is the shortest path through the Capability Framework Implementation Roadmap and some:
- patience, and
1. Make it tangible for the business
Find a high-leverage Council issue to attach the framework implementation to. What business issue would really benefit from adopting a capability and behaviour approach to managing the workforce? Improving workforce performance? Attracting or retaining talent? Culture change? Restructure? Get clear on how adopting this framework will positively impact that issue.
Identify a group of people who you know would be open to discussions. Getting awareness of the Capability Framework is the first step. When you meet with your colleagues, keep the conversation casual. Open the floor to questions and comments regardless of how basic they may be. Highlight the benefits of the Capability Framework in a practical way. A good example is converting an old position description (PD) into the new formatted one. This will illustrate what the framework will mean for the role, the person in the role, and how that impacts on your council. We call this a PD review, and INS have conducted many of these for Local Government. We have received consistent feedback that PD reviews are vital in demonstrating the Capability Framework in a tangible way.
2. Break it down into bite-size chunks
Yes, develop a grand vision BUT start with small steps.
Map out the minimum number of stakeholders whose support you would need to get a pilot going. Describe how life will be better for them after the framework is implemented. Find a supportive manager who will partner with you to pilot the framework. You will coach them into being a champion for the framework.
3. Sync your schedule
Set realistic milestones with your pilot group for tracking through the Implementation Roadmap. And set up an implementation rhythm—weekly, fortnightly, or monthly meetings to progress.
Make sure you allow yourself time and carefully look at your commitments over the next 12-18 months. It is also an idea to look at the schedules of the stakeholders you identified in Step 2. Not only will this step show respect for their priorities but you will also gain their support as they will understand the time commitments required from them. Keep in mind that you may only have a limited time period when all are available to assist, so use this time wisely.
Following on from our above example of converting a PD, you could assemble your pilot group and conduct discussions about their own PDs and how the capability framework correlates with their positions. This is a great exercise you can use to dispel myths that may have been built up. From here, you are able to look at collaborating with them and create a communications strategy so that everyone is on the same page and the messaging throughout your council is consistent.
4. Communication is key!
Capabilities are most likely a new concept for some, different from similar concepts they may be used to, like competencies and skills. You’ll need to repeatedly communicate WHY we need to adopt capabilities, WHAT’s happening, and WHO is impacted.
Following on from Tip 4, the communications strategy should include practical targeted education pieces on what the Capability Framework means. For example, you could have each member of your support group communicate to staff in those areas of your council they are familiar with. This will tailor the communication of the Capability Framework and ensure it is delivered from a trusted and esteemed employee. It’s also a good idea to tailor the content of your education pieces to your specific audiences. For example, office staff may need education on the Capability Framework from a functional and operational perspective, whereas senior staff and people managers may need this information from a strategic perspective.
5. “What’s in it for me?”—WIIFM
In order to adopt change in any organisation, people need to see a benefit. Embrace the question “what’s in it for me?” and give your stakeholders the answer, over and over again.
Getting your employees on board is critical to the success of the implementation project, so you need to communicate the positives. Every time you discuss the Capability Framework and its implementation in your council, tailor your message to your audience. What does the Capability Framework mean for their role and career development? How will it enhance their engagement and encourage their contribution to council objectives? How will the Capability Framework enhance their career? By addressing the WIIFM question, you will be able to prove to your employees that the implementation project is not just another HR initiative, but rather something that provides meaning and benefits for everyone in your council.
6. Create the proof with a pilot
Once you have widespread awareness, you will have identified the supporters and the nay-sayers. All that’s left is to show proof of concept. A great way to demonstrate this is by developing a well-positioned pilot program. We recommend recruitment as an excellent place to start. Here, you can clearly highlight the benefits of recruiting using the Capability Framework. Following this pilot, you can articulate how this recruitment process will help mould an employee’s performance and development agreements in a meaningful way.
While these tips are in no way exhaustive, they will give you a guide on how to get the Capability Framework implementation project started in your council, regardless of resource limitations. All you need is thoughtful planning that considers the council’s strategic objectives, and patience to get your employees on board. If you need help getting started, call or email INS for support on 1800 467 000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Philip John
Marketing and Service Strategist
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