Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

How CEO Is Tackling Toxic Staff Culture CEO Reveals Bold Plan

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

How CEO Is Tackling Toxic Staff Culture CEO Reveals Bold Plan

Article excerpt

Byline: Jessica Grewal

THE council's new CEO is so confident toxicity in staff ranks is turning around, he's prepared to wage his six-figure salary on it.

Speaking to the Chronicle yesterday Ken Diehm outlined the drastic steps he's taking to transform the council's culture and reputation.

Mr Diehm said when he first arrived he did not believe a proposed staff restructure was enough to deal with the issues raised in a council's culture and reputation.

He said when he arrived last year he did not think a proposed restructure was enough to deal with the problems raised in a damning report.

A "polished" version, which Mr Diehm said better addressed bullying and high risk of burnout, among other things, is now under way.

More than 40 new positions have been created.

Staff are also now hired and fired based on their adherence to the new council values model known as TRAITS - Trust, Respect, Accountability, Initiative, Teamwork, Service.

Mr Diehm said he had presented the TRAITS program, touted as a "change strategy to improve engagement, productivity and efficiency" to all staff at sessions in Maryborough and Hervey Bay.

Those who were willing and able were welcomed, staff who were willing but not yet able were offered training, staff who were "neither willing or able" were told to "look for employment elsewhere".

Since then, some staff have been moved "sideways". Some, who "demonstrably failed" to uphold the TRAITS values have either "agreed to part ways" with the council or have been terminated.

One senior employee is among those to have resigned in response to the overhaul.

Another senior employee did not have their contract renewed.

"If you're going to be a values based organisation you need to make sure that you are demonstrating to your staff that values are important.," he said

"We've brought in value-based recruitment to make sure we get the right cultural fit, we're training people how to have these difficult conversations. …

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