Entry received from: Whakatāne District Council
Category: Excellence in Organisation and People Development

In 2020, Whakatāne District Council began an intentional journey of transforming its organisational culture and leadership capability. This led to staff developing and owning their vision and values and working towards being 'better together'.

A baseline survey highlighted where Council was doing well, and where improvements were needed. The People First Programme was established to make these improvements.

A principle fundamental to its success was that the vision and values would be developed through an employee-led and leadership-supported process. This would also be an ongoing programme enabling long-term improvements in leadership, communication and culture.

Through careful planning and resourcing, the People First Programme has:

  • Developed and embedded a new vision and set of values that guide how staff work
  • Improved leadership capability and communication through leadership development
  • Supported the Executive Leadership Team to develop a culture of trust and visibility

A repeat survey carried out in 2022 showed not only a direct correlation in lifting performance in the areas of leadership, culture and communication; there was a notable lift in all category scores across Council.

The programme approach worked. It can easily be replicated by other councils wanting to make lasting and meaningful improvements to culture and leadership.

Thank you to our category sponsor