Change Toolkit Evaluation and Feedback

One of the catalysts for change at Wakefield Council was the relocation of over 1,000 staff to a purpose built building called Wakefield One. Service Managers preparing 23 teams for relocation used elements of this Change Toolkit and their evaluation is summarised here.

Change Toolkit Exercise - Mad, Sad, Glad


ne of the catalysts for change at Wakefield Council was the relocation of over 1,000 staff to the purpose built Wakefield One building.

Service Managers preparing 23 teams for relocation came together in a forum and used the Mad, Sad, Glad exercise highlighted below.

As part of the comprehensive employee engagement programme, following tours of the newly built Wakefield One building by teams, the tool provided an opportunity for Service Managers to identify how teams and individuals felt about different aspects of the change and consider support currently in place or required.

Wakefield One Building - Relocation Project

Tool: Mad, Sad, Glad Exercise

Mad, Sad, Glad is an interactive exercise designed to help people understand and acknowledge the feelings that they have about change and about specific parts of a change.

Exercise 1 – Part 1

Mixed feelings were identified during the group workshop sessions by Service Managers – these include:

  • Finance/Revenue and Benefits staff are looking forward to moving into a modern building with good heating, no drafts and blinds that actually work.
  • Schools, Organisational and Information Team in Family Services the majority of the team have a gradual acceptance and are moving forward – feeling is Glad.
  • Staff in Finance and in Revenue and Benefits are glad about the move as they will be encouraged to dress smarter when working in the new professional environment.
  • Real positivity around having the opportunity to work together with other services and across the Service from Finance. This is challenging at the moment as seating arrangements mean that staff are located in different rooms.
  • Opportunity to be seen as ‘Working for the Council’ instead of just the Service area.
  • Licensing/Public Health/Environmental Health and Sport and Active Lifestyles Managers felt there was a general feeling following the tours that staff are starting to get excited about he moves.
  • Licensing, Public Health, Environmental Health, Sport and Active Lifestyle collectively felt that there were concerns in their teams as to seating arrangements in the new building (Where am I going to sit – was still a big issue affecting staff).
  • Public Health have moved from feelings of negativity about the move to starting to collectively think of solutions within their teams. A staff transformation group has been set up.
  • Regeneration feel disengaged from the process – during the workshop individuals from the Building Implementation team agreed to provide further engagement opportunities and to visit Regeneration and update them in relation to occupancy.
  • Some staff in Finance had highlighted that they felt that the move to Wakefield One was a move too many.
  • Revenue and Benefits staff have highlighted that the moves will incur costs e.g. – travel, car parking, project cost, increased travel time, building policies and space limitation.
  • Issues and concerns were also raised in Revenue and Benefits around paper disposal – as well as delivering their day job.
  • Licensing, Public Health, Environmental Health, Sport and Active Lifestyle Managers highlighted issues in their teams relating to parking, this included the cost to staff, the need for clear communication, parking for those with disabilities. An evaluation from their staff of the effectiveness of the Travel and Transport Group highlighted the need to review the current arrangements and in particular the need for clear messages about parking to only be cascaded once approved and agreed to reduce rumour and unnecessary worrying.

Service Manager solutions in response to those teams/individuals currently Mad include:

  • Communicate regularly with teams. Important too is communication between Service Managers. The tours have moved more people towards being Glad about the move
  • The establishment of task and finish groups to identify joint solutions to common issues has been really positive with staff at all levels taking ownership and being involved in shaping new ways of working.
  • Occupancy Champions are leading by example and are an excellent point of contact for two way communication, promoting occupancy principles and new ways of working. This is especially effective in relation to the use of new technology in the new building and in strengthening the One Council approach.
  • Promoting the positives at team meetings and providing an opportunity to discuss any issues with teams and individuals during team meetings and one to ones.
  • Review operational processes and have action plan/timescale for change
  • Challenge negativity (Managers and staff)
  • Bring teams together now to enhance working relationships and strengthen the One Council approach and Wakefield One ‘community’
  • Empower staff to find solutions together (across teams/services) for example by providing opportunities for individuals to be representatives on task and finish groups.

Exercise 1 – Part 2

Week One – Day One for Managers
Managers were asked to repeat the exercise above, but say how they felt that they would feel week one day one of occupancy of the new building. In addition, identify the solutions and strategies that they were putting in place to deal with any issues. A summary of these is highlighted below:

Service Manager Family Services (MAD) – some of the teams I manage are moving in, however, I will not be going into the building and have concerns in relation to not being close to the team to understand and help with any occupancy issues. The move could also put a barrier in place in terms of the wider transformational agenda.

Team Manager – Finance (GLAD) – however, slightly worried about the impact from other people’s issues e.g. trying to sort them out.

Service Manager – Finance (GLAD) – I have moved from feeling Mad – it will help to progress some current issues sooner rather than later. Eg Epost, Corporate Systems, Cash Strategy etc.

Team Manager – Planning Services (GLAD) – this is a fresh start, new building and new ways of working welcomed.

A number of Service Managers identified the need for IT Floor Walkers to compliment the work of the IT Champions but to assist in the early stages with some of the big technical issues and ‘turning on equipment week one’. Status would be Glad if this was the case.

Service Manager – Public Health (GLAD) – I am glad to have the opportunity to work as part of the Council and moving out of current old premises.

Service Team – Culture (GLAD) – and looking forward to move, a lot of work has been put in place to manage occupancy. Team have discussed seating arrangements and have in place a strategy for each team to move and where they will be located etc. (Status will move to Sad – if this doesn’t work as a great deal of effort has been put into this.)

A number of Managers highlighted that they are Glad team will be together and the new building provides an opportunity to strengthen the one Council approach as this removes the feeling of isolation. Managers during this session discussed their collective worries which included:

  • Problems relating to noise in the open plan environment, particularly around lunchtime periods.
  • Some Managers feared how teams would work alongside each other in the open plan environment – perceptions were that some would work in silence eg accountants and others would be more vocal.
  • Confidentiality issues were highlighted, however, it was really positive that a task and finish group had been established to identify and address any issues along with the development of solutions.
  • Public Health highlighted the need to put in place a plan for Public Access during move. This would be discussed in the Customer Access Point group.
  • Worries re the available space for each Service to work in.
  • Technology – will it work from day one (will everyone be able to use the new Software). New technologies in the building working on day one is key to success as is reliability.

Managers agreed during the session that they would take away the Mad/Sad/Glad tool and use it within their own team meetings the results of this would be shared at the next Change Forum. It was suggested by Revenue and Benefits that the next Change forum would be an opportunity for everyone to share where there teams are on the change curve and individual experiences, strategies/solutions.