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A new operating model positions a Canadian not-for-profit organisation for growth

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Our client was a C$800 million (A$895 million) turnover Canadian not-for-profit organisation that employs 11,000 staff and provides services to millions of people each year.

The organisation needed an operating model to support growth

The organisation’s services portfolio had expanded to meet diverse needs across a large area. Decentralised growth had led to inconsistent service offerings and standards – and widespread back-office duplication – contributing to confusion over roles and responsibilities. As the first phase of a multi-year transformation program, the organisation engaged Nous to develop a high-level operating model that would make delivery more effective and support functions more efficient.

Co-design created buy-in to the new operating model

Nous used our proven organisational design process to guide development of the operating model. Working closely with the client in a co-design approach we:

  1. analysed the current operating model and defined the drivers and case for change
  2. identified the new core operating model components (activities and functions that are critical to serve members)
  3. crafted design principles and evaluation criteria to assess design options
  4. identified four distinct options
  5. iterated and developed the options
  6. homed in on a preferred option.

Close collaboration between Nous and client stakeholders meant we completed the high-level design rapidly, positioning the organisation for the next development phase.

The new operating model eliminated duplication, clarified roles and delivered on strategy

Nous is working with the organisation to develop the detail of its new, fit-for-purpose way of organising and working. Key features include:

  • centrally-coordinated business support functions, which will bring consistency and efficiency to back-office functions
  • central coordination of complex, highly-specialised social services, which will deliver common, high service delivery standards
  • a geographic divisional approach to less complex social and religious service provision, which will bolster community engagement and cross-referrals between different front-line service provision teams and units.

These changes will enable the organisation to improve specialist services standards, remove duplication in back-office functions, streamline and simplify access to services for frontline workers and strengthen community engagement and holistic care through joining up the different service providers in each geographical area.

What you can learn from this organisation

High growth and widespread change means it’s the right time to review your operating model.

Sincere stakeholder engagement and effective co-design are essential to identifying the right model.

Dividing the operating model redesign into phases keeps large-scale organisational change on track.