Boosting Morale with Interim Management at an Arts Organisation
Working with an arts organisation based in the Wales Millennium Centre that engages with multiple disabilities group.
Touch Trust is an arts organisation based in the Wales Millennium Centre that engages multiple disabilities and learning disabilities including the Autism spectrum. A loss of core funding from the Arts Council and the fast-approaching departure of the CEO meant that the charity was struggling to sustain itself. Moreover, a recent restructure had left staff with low morale and a lack of a sense of team. Despite these difficult circumstances, the staff continued to provide a high-quality service to their guests and were seeking an interim solution.
The Female Alchemist was invited to provide interim CEO duties, whilst also seeking to stabilise the organisation financially and rebuild team morale. This required a change management process to develop a positive culture and a restructuring of the organisation to make it more sustainable.
The first step in the process was to meet with the staff individually and collectively to understand the team dynamics and give them space to voice their concerns.
We combined this consultancy process with HR issues generated by staff that had recently left the organisation to compile a feedback register that was a true reflection of the organisation. The Female Alchemist came to find that the founder of Touch Trust had been a charismatic leader who had pioneered for people with multiple disabilities however this top-down approach had created a hierarchy where staff were not encouraged to act on their own initiative. The result was a committed and creative staff that were underutilised.
Creating a senior management team that supported our change process was critical in developing distinct areas of responsibility for managers. Through this process, we were able to foster a culture of responsibility and initiative-taking. All staff were encouraged to develop skills such as health and safety with full training offered. Furthermore, the implementation of a retainer model reduced the impact of multiple absences and enabled better income and resource predictions.
The Female Alchemist implemented thorough project management protocols and therefore, ensured funded projects were properly monitored and that restricted funds were accounted for. In turn, this meant that during the pandemic, the charity survived with ongoing grant applications activity which has continued through to present day.
In addition to this, staff have been encouraged to participate in their own CPD with managers studying ILM Level 5 Management and PGCE. The outcome is that the organisation has carried the team though the pandemic; they support each other; they work magnificently as a team; they contribute new ideas and strategies; and they have all grown in skills and confidence.
During this phase of interim management, The Female Alchemist has introduced new ways of working which have broadened the organisation’s customer base whilst continuing to deliver innovative and exciting new arts projects in collaboration with high calibre arts organisations. With a highly skilled board and our support, the charity is now in a position to recruit for a full time CEO.
“The first step in the process was to meet with the staff individually and collectively to understand the team dynamics and give them space to voice their concerns.”