Washington State Department of Enterprise Services

Case Study

A New Government Department Develops a Clear Sense of the Future

As part of a state-wide budget reform, Washington Legislature decided to reduce costs and streamline operations by merging five different agencies into one. Building a healthy and highly engaged culture would define the new department’s success.

Looking for a new Solution
Washington State Department of Enterprise Services (DES) was created with a single goal in mind: saving nearly $18 million in taxpayer dollars during a two-year period. This single agency’s assignments touched a diverse set of responsibilities—everything from negotiating building leases and maintaining the Capitol grounds to recruiting and training the state’s workforce and designing and printing complex publications. With its administrative functions already defined, department leadership engaged Coraggio to facilitate the human-side of the process by providing strategic planning, leadership development and process improvement support.

Transitioning five organizational cultures and unique ways of working into one cohesive department threatened to destabilize productive cultures and operations. People at all levels, from office assistants to state legislators, were deeply invested in the process and eager to know what DES—and their own roles—would look like in the future.

Listening to the Community
Fortunately, most of the government employees were eager to do their part to support the change. To build upon this energy and increase employee engagement, we conducted a comprehensive organizational assessment to understand attitudes and concerns about the transition. These insights guided our coaching and counsel work with DES’ new leadership team and set the stage for a successful agency-wide change management initiative.

We also helped DES develop a three-year strategic plan that described specific goals and the vision and values that would anchor the new agency culture.

A feel for the Future
Coraggio helped the DES leadership team as they put these broad strategic initiatives into action. We also counseled divisions in need of additional support regarding structure, business model refinement and a range of core process improvements.

By creating the space for a high-morale organizational culture to emerge, we partnered with leadership to create a mission-driven agency that would become a statewide model for excellence of efficacy. The result received buy-in from stakeholders at all levels. DES now runs successfully as a unified organization with offices across the state of Washington.

“ Coraggio kept our leaders appropriately informed throughout the project. This helped us to make timely and thoughtful decisions related to managing the significant amount of organizational change that came with consolidating five state agencies into one. ”

— Joyce Turner, Former Director