CSIRO Builds Organisational Change Maturity

CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) is Australia's leading multidisciplinary research organisation, with more than 5,000 people working out of 55 centres in Australia and internationally. CSIRO has a global reputation as a leading scientific researcher and it collaborates extensively with government, universities and industry to facilitate the application of its research.

1. The Challenge

In 2010, CSIRO identified the requirement to grow its organisational capability in managing change. Like most organisations at that time, it mainly used ad-hoc approaches to managing the people side of change. The result? Benefits from change projects were variable, particularly large scale whole of organisation changes, and CSIRO’s people were becoming change fatigued in an environment where change is the norm.

2. The Approach

CSIRO approached Prosci to help build its organisational change competency and one of its first initiatives was to adopt the Prosci methodology as the consistent approach for how the organisation would manage the people side of change.

“Adopting a research-based methodology made sense for us as a research organisation, because our people saw the Prosci approach as credible. That made it easier to get key decision makers and influencers on board.” explains Dr Simon Lynch, Executive Manager, Organisational Development and Change.

The first priority was to build competency in the Prosci method. Training and learning opportunities were established to provide people across the diverse areas responsible for supporting the organisation such as the Human Resources, Communications and Finance functions with the awareness, knowledge and skills needed apply the method to the change programs they supported.

Today, CSIRO has over 120 Prosci Certified Change Management practitioners across a wide range of roles, including science leaders, supporting project and BAU changes with a common approach to Change Management, to ensure impacted employees embrace, adopt and sustain change.

Prosci's partnership with CSIRO has extended beyond building capability in the Prosci methodology to include: workshop facilitation and on site consulting, coaching and mentoring for key projects.

CSIRO continues to build the change leadership capability of change Sponsors in the organisation through engagement and education. It is also focused on growing change capability in its numerous local sites. Plus it has created a dedicated Change Management team to support and advise on major organisational wide changes and to maintain the change capability developed over the last 6 years.

3. The Result

“We now have a common language for change used through the organisation, which is a key achievement for an organisation and workforce as diverse as ours“, says Dr Lynch.

“Across CSIRO, people have a greater appreciation of the important of the people side of change. This can be a challenge for many of our people, who tend to focus on the end results, rather than the process of getting there through engaging people”.

“Today, we don’t need to argue for Change Management to be applied on projects and we don’t need to explain Prosci and the ADKAR® model every time. We have a large community of change practitioners and a wide acceptance that we have an effective, world class organisational Change Management methodology. On our enterprise wider change programs, our change Sponsors expect to see Change Management plans, assessments of the impact on our people and guidance for their role in driving outcomes and results for the organisation”.

“Our senior leaders accept that Change Management is an important component in changes that impact people within the organisation, which means we have top down support to continue the journey of embedding change capability into our DNA”.