Experts in Change Adoption and Training
Program Manager, Department of Communities and Justice
Years before joining the Department of Communities and Justice, Sharleen was the program manager for the ICT Project Management Office at Boral in 2014.
And at that time, the organisation was in the process of upgrading to a new standard operating environment (SOE) system, which is the basic operating system and software application in an organisation.
If you think this sounds complicated for a huge organisation like Boral, it certainly was, with hundreds of sites to be upgraded…
…and it was made even more complicated by the fact that the upgrade had been in the process for years.
“When I started my role at Boral, the company’s SOE upgrade had been going on for five years by the time I got to it.”
When a system change takes too long, everyone becomes extremely apathetic. And there’s a sense of helplessness and thinking, “This is never going to happen.”
From the customer’s perspective, it causes a lot of confusion and anxiety about what change is coming and how it will affect them.
“For a systems upgrade that big, the communications had been deplorable.
And that’s why we decided to approach Preetie at Glass Rock Solutions – because the communications the company had started in the very beginning of the process were totally useless five years down the track.”
And of course, Preetie and her team came through for Boral, as they always do.
“Preetie helped correlate the communications and templates, and she gathered all the information about what needed to be done and by whom, ensuring everyone became properly informed.”
For the SOE upgrade at Boral, all the end-users were the employees… thousands of them.
So, all the problems with users were going to be internal.
However, that would have had a flow-on effect to the customers, so it needed to be pre-empted and avoided.
“Preetie and her team worked really hard to plan for end-user issues, and they worked with us to create all the right materials to give to our employees explanations of all the stages of the transition.
By the end, we had all the materials ready to hand out to each employee with their new kit, which made the whole process smoother. They listened to everything that was raised across the organisation.
They made recommendations for improvement, based on their background and knowledge of working with end-users and similar situations. And they had the skill set to produce the materials we required.
I definitely feel that they added value to the process.”
By the time Sharleen and Glass Rock Solutions began working together, employees at Boral had stopped actively engaging with the planned transition.
Many weren’t receptive to a new plan of a definite move, thinking it had already taken so long that it was never going to happen.
“The staff had been through such a protracted process that change fatigue had well and truly set in.
So, for them to see us talking about it again made them feel it was just another round of more information that wasn’t really going anywhere.
We also had the old-school users asking why we were changing at all, the old system was fine and so on. When Preetie and her team came on board, they were able to guide us on every aspect of the communications, the wording and the ideas for how to approach these types of people.
Glass Rock Solutions was always so professional, so warm and friendly, and they listened really well. This is what really helped us overcome the fatigue and energise the workforce.
They made people more receptive and accepting of the change.”
Sharleen had previously dealt with many other consultants and agencies, and her experience wasn’t always terrific.
“With some agencies, you find that they don’t really listen to you and what you need, or you have to repeat yourself to clarify things.
And what ends up happening is that you feel like you have to micromanage them to make sure the project stays on track.
Glass Rock Solutions was the completely opposite experience.
From the moment we started talking about the transition, they listened attentively, made clever recommendations and consulted across the business. And then they delivered everything they promised they would.
It was so refreshing to have consultants who could actually be innovative without being asked.
They were on top of new trends and communication techniques, and they picked approaches that were appropriate for my user group.”
For Sharleen, it was Glass Rock Solutions’ ability to understand the end-user’s perspective and to really look at things from that perspective that made such a huge difference to the success of the transition.
“If you’re in a technical environment, sometimes you look at things from that lens instead of a user’s perspective, and Preetie and her team were always able to bring in the user’s perspective.
They translated what we said and gave us the outcome we needed.”
When Simone Heaperman, the program manager, picked up the phone to speak with Preetie Shehkkar at Glass Rock Solutions, she had much to address and set right.
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