Large scale restructure program impacting more than half the company, with all staff retained

The Brief

Healthdirect Australia relieves the strain on our public health system by giving Australians free, 24/7 access to health information, advice and services on topics ranging from pregnancy through to aged care.  It also manages associated initiatives such as the National Health Services Directory, which forms part of the national digital health infrastructure.

Established by the Council of Australian Governments in 2006 as a centralised call centre network employing a few people, by 2015, Healthdirect was providing services on multiple platforms, with over 200 staff and hundreds of information and developer partners.

It had scaled up everything – staff, services, partners and customers – but not invested internally in updating its organisational structure to match, which was threatening to negatively impact productivity and employee engagement.

To address the situation, the CEO set up a Steering Committee and engaged Maximus to conduct a review and recommend the optimum structure for the agile, sustainable organisation Healthdirect aspired to be. With a deep knowledge of Healthdirect built up over many years, we were well placed to help it take this major step.

“Internally we still have work to do in further embedding the change and ensuring that all corners of our company have all the information they require and feel comfortable. Maximus have set us up well for success, and I know they are there to support us when needed”

General Manager, People and Development – Healthdirect Australia

THE SOLUTION

Maximus’ goal was to help Healthdirect transition smoothly from a suboptimal organisational structure to one that supported its desired current and future state.

After conducting comprehensive stakeholder research and benchmarking against local and global peers, we found the structure was unbalanced, misaligned and an obstacle to scaling up and effective information sharing – a critical success factor. We recommended a restructure incorporating agile and customer centric principles.

Organisational redesign is complex; it must be well-planned and coordinated, whilst supporting the continuation of business during the period of change. Maximus provided advisory and support for five project streams: project governance, defining the approach, designing a new structure, implementing the structure, and managing the associated change.

After mapping key organisational elements, Maximus proposed a new design based on customer needs rather than operational functions. It changed roles, reporting lines and responsibilities at all levels. We also developed a change management and communications plan.

It was a sweeping reorganisation, but necessary; when Maximus presented the solution to the Board, it was fully endorsed.

THE OUTCOME

“Maximus has provided insight, navigated complex stakeholder dynamics, brought in fresh thinking and delivered us an optimal result, all in a challenging timeframe.” – GM People and Development

While the overall headcount stayed the same, the organisational redesign had a big impact.

Two divisions were disbanded, three were created, the executive team was restructured and many jobs were redefined. To maximise the value of the changes, managerial review processes were updated and Communities of Practice were created so expertise, common standards and learning could be shared.

The consultation, design and board approval stages took place over four months, then followed by a three-month implementation period.   Just two months after project close, staff responses in the annual engagement survey indicated a broad acceptance of the new structure and its intended objectives, with just over 50% agreeing/strongly agreeing that the new model supported internal productivity and stakeholder expectations.

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