Case Study – Goulburn Valley Water
A Case Study on Performance Management & Policy Management
“Manual processes and forms provided little visibility of employee and organisational objectives, whilst also making the coordination of Learning and Development a real challenge.”
Formed in 1994, Goulburn Valley Water (GVW) provides urban water and wastewater services to a population of nearly 129,000, servicing 57,596 properties in 54 towns, spanning the outskirts of Melbourne, Victoria. The Corporation directly employs around 180 people, in operational, engineering, financial and administrative roles. This workforce is complemented by partnerships with consultants and contractors to undertake a range of business, technical and operational functions.
GVW is a Statutory Corporation responsible to the Minister for Water and is governed by a Board of Directors. GVW has key obligations for the provision of water-related services and standards that are reported quarterly to the Government on performance targets set.
GVW had many manual processes to manage their Human Resources functions including performance appraisals, learning and skills training. Two years earlier, GVW adopted a new performance review form that aimed to address coaching and incremental concerns previously raised by employees and managers. As a result of this manual process, employees and managers had the arduous task to manually assess individual’s objectives, provide a final rating and subsequently then spend hours per employee putting together the new document for the next 12-month cycle. Salary increments linked to objectives were often unclear and subjective which made the review process for each manager a real challenge to handle feedback from their direct reports.
Without adequate systems, it was difficult to align any objectives to the Corporate Strategic Plan, as well as reporting on any information gathered from the appraisals. As a result of this misalignment, progress was slowed, strategic achievements suffered, projects were delayed and operational performance increased at a slower rate than expected.
These manual processes also brought about a higher level of risk for GVW. As a Statutory Utilities Corporation, all GVW employees and managers are required to have current policies, training and competencies completed periodically. For example, it was difficult and time-consuming to identify who had read, understood and signed off policies due to the inability to produce reports on policy compliance for managers, the risk team and an external auditor.
As a result of engaging Ascender, the following priorities were identified:
- Mitigate risk through systematic tracking of policies, training and competencies;
- Reduce subjectivity and bring in a more objective view of performance;
- Improve customer services and productivity;
- Align all employees to GVW’s three-year Strategy Plan;
- Create a culture of development and continuous learning.
Successfully implementing change is a daunting task, if the frequently quoted failure rate of 70% is to be avoided. The ‘why’ is often forgotten when implementing technology and features and functions often take the forefront. Ascender was selected by GVW based on their change management approach and performance education training, in conjunction with their intuitive, easy-to-use system.