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Organisational change through management development By Ivan Horner and Caryn Conidaris


he South African Blood Services (SANBS), South Africa’s largest supplier of blood and blood services, is rated amongst the best worldwide – renowned for their contribution to research, technical training, and high quality blood which saves lives. A number of their technical experts have climbed management ranks, regrettably not always paired with leadership skills. SANBS was formed from a merger of several regional blood services and created a vision of excellence. Organisational surveys highlighted the need to develop the impact between management and their people, so the three-year design and implementation of a multifaceted management development programme began.The Human Resource Practice was chosen as a partner in this journey – to align organisational needs, design programmes, as well as deliver and assess delegates against unit standards. The intervention was aimed at creating ‘discomfort’ in management levels, as there were various levels of engagement in the organisation. In its third year, over 195 first line supervisors/managers and nearly 30 senior managers have spent three blocks of a week being exposed to leading managerial concepts, and in turn developing themselves.The programme was aligned to the organisation’s competency model and values, or “Principles of Excellence”, consisting of courses on, for example, mindset or emotional intelligence, leadership and coaching. The delegates were from across all regions and functions. They have since completed portfolios of evidences (POEs) related to the programme content and outcomes – a demanding and stimulating programme, but responses from participants have been remarkable.“I find that the staff who attended the course had a much better understanding of their supervisory / management roles and a much better understanding of the reasons underlying my expectations of their management performance”, said one line manager. As one delegate said years later, “I would like to motivate for all SANBS employees to have the emotional intelligence training as I benefited so much from this when I did the MLP course. It served to help me in my day to day activities be it at home, work, or while I was socialising.”


People Dynamics April 2011

The programme has challenged ‘old’ organisational ways and enabled delegates to immerse themselves in the learning process, even when back at work. The programme evaluation was done along Fitzpatrick’s four levels: Level one, how participants reacted, was measured at the end of each course.The programme was constituently evaluated as good, or even better. Level two, the extent to which participants changed (attitude, knowledge, skill, etc.), was measured by the number of people found competent on their POEs, and an annual online evaluation of the programme. Over 100 people have been found competent in one or more POEs – a rate that could be improved.The annual evaluation by managers of delegates showed a strong indication of learning. Level three, change in behaviour/skill at work, was measured by a process of pre/post-self delegates’ manager’s competency evaluation (180 degree), and the annual online evaluation, which has proved an excellent application at SANBS. Level four, impact of intervention on business performance, is also evaluated by the 180 degree and annual evaluations, which have shown a desire for change in the organisation. The process of evaluation has improved over time, resulting in change within the programme, including reduced assignments, additional support, and at a higher level the restructuring of the programme. Work pressures affected people’s ability to complete POEs, although this showed in the process. The assignments forced delegates to think of improvements in their working environments from a management perspective in addition to the ‘worker’ perspective. Initiatives are being implemented to improve the rate of POE submission, and The Human Resource Practice now has a learner support person.Another initiative is to use YouTube videos as tools for additional support. Organisations are in constant flux. To become an organisation of excellence, change must happen at all levels; the management development programmes have set out to achieve these principles. Ivan Horner and Caryn Conidaris,The Human Resource Practice

PD 4 2011 April  
PD 4 2011 April  

Dynamics Labour relations and labour law Journal of the South African Institute of People Management April 2011 • Vol 29 No. 4...