Staff empowerment reaches new heights at Dubbo

‘Team 2000’, launched in late 1998, and now titled the ‘Continuous Improvement Program’, is an initiative of Dubbo City Council, which promotes a performance based and customer service driven culture.

The five phases of ‘Team 2000’ include development of the concept, setting direction, introduction and support, implementation and review, and stabilisation.

Council recognised the importance of involving all levels of staff throughout these phases, and giving them opportunities to make improvements to their work practices.

“If the project was going to be successful, the ongoing driving force for change and improvement would be coming from the staff,” said Mark Riley, Director Corporate Development, Dubbo City Council. “Proving that the culture had changed and staff felt more empowered to make decisions and improvements.”

A main challenge of the project was ensuring staff felt ownership and were confident in suggesting ways of improving their services to customers. Hence the strong emphasis on encouraging staff to communicate with each other at all levels within the organisation.

Extensive training of staff was a key phase, where all 265 employees attended two day workshops aimed at reinforcing their commitment to customer service and introducing them to concepts of process improvement. All new staff now receive customer service training as part of their induction to Dubbo City Council.

After Council lobbying, NSW TAFE now offers a Graduate Certificate in Change Management, available locally at the Dubbo Campus, of which nine Council staff have successfully graduated.

‘Team 2000’ resulted in an increased staff willingness to be involved in process improvement projects. Projects are now being commenced on a regular basis at the request of staff.

In 12 months, 29 major systems and processes have been reviewed, involving over 100 staff and resulting in 110 improvement options being approved. Substantial savings in time and resources have been realised, with two projects recognising savings of $100,000 annually.

Team 2000 continues with the ultimate goal of changing the organisation such that continuous improvement is a normal part of all employees’ daily work routine.

For further information, please contact Mark Riley, Director Corporate Development, Dubbo City Council, on (02) 6881 4216