The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a surge in digitalisation that the existing work culture at the Hamburg-Nord district office was not always able to cope with. Hierarchical barriers and silos between individual departments made collaboration increasingly difficult during the pandemic. In order to define the challenges in concrete terms, an organisational analysis was carried out in collaboration with the University of Potsdam in the form of employee surveys, which revealed, among other things, three specific questions for the work culture:
1.Appreciation: How can we create an appreciative working environment so that employees feel recognised in their work and with their skills?
2.Mindset: How can we develop a shared attitude that supports individuals and at the same time creates openness and a framework for collaborative work?
3.Communication: How can we organise communication in such a way that all employees can access and respond to the information relevant to their work?
Output: Catalogue of measures for the future
As part of a multi-stage, co-creative process, employees of the district office developed a picture of future collaboration. In the pop-up office format we developed, creative minds and stakeholders from the business world joined us to define the vision of an ideal organisation "out of the box". In the end, three approaches to an overarching vision and over 140 concrete, vision-led measures were derived and developed. The first prototypes have already been put into practice and are currently being tested in day-to-day work, including
- The creative canteen: the former canteen of the district office has been transformed into a place where the process and results (idea and process sketches, models and prototypes) of the cultural change process are on display. Regular guided tours enable all employees and managers to understand the processes and solutions.
- Open-door culture: The paradigm of the closed office door that has been practised in the administration for decades has been questioned. Visibility, dialogue and collaboration are given a new value and are actively encouraged.
- Brain food, round tables and hallway breakfasts: low-threshold learning and exchange formats are regularly offered across teams. The aim is for employees to get to know each other better, network on current topics and gain more insight into the work of their colleagues.
- Carepackage: In order to support a "culture of good discussion" and promote innovative ideas for collaboration, a care package was put together in the form of individually tested workshop utensils. It can and should be supplemented with your own ideas and methods and passed on from office to office.
Format & method
The cultural change process is a multi-stage approach that was developed individually for the Hamburg-Nord district office. The different phases and methods of the process included
1.Define Workshop (1 day) with members of the Kulturwandel AG on the results of the IST analysis and the derivation and development of the central challenges
2.Pop-up office (3.5 days) with ten participants from the district office, including members of Kulturwandel AG, as well as interested parties from the private and creative sectors. Objective: Definition of a vision for the ideal organisation and concrete measures to realise this vision.
3.Target image workshop (2 days) to define concrete target images that contribute to the organisation's new vision.
4.Self-organised test phase of the measures after the vision workshop by the participants in the district office.
5.Wrap-up workshop (1 day) to reflect on the test results, adjust the vision and measures, look ahead to the next steps.