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 Washington State Department of Commerce, Housing Assistance Unit, Re-visioning of current Unit structure to support strategic goals

The Housing Assistance Unit had grown substantially in recent years, with several new staff and including a new program (the Office of Homeless Youth). The Unit was also in the process of integrating several new initiatives such as performance evaluation.  Unit leadership felt the need for system alignment in order to build on what was working there while also helping them to be more proactive and to meet their growing list of expectations.  The leadership also wanted to review current business practices and staff resources with respect to the body of work needed to accomplish the goals in the homeless strategic plan. 

The Athena Group provided facilitation and other forms of professional consultation to support the accomplishment of the following. 

  • Evaluate current business practices and staff resources with respect to both capacity (appropriate number of staff) and fit (appropriate roles, strengths, etc.);

  • Develop a new organizational chart, including reporting lines and position descriptions;

  • Outline any new resources needed to accommodate the changes; and,

  • Leadership coaching support to the Unit manager and his direct reports to help them become more responsive to the changes.  All meetings were designed and facilitated in a way that everyone was heard and with close attention to individual and group level fear of uncertainty and change.

Ultimately, the Unit has a better understanding of its current business practices and staff resources related to its goals. The Unit has a new organizational chart, including reporting lines and high-level position descriptions.  Finally, the Unit has a strengthened culture.  During the process, the staff felt genuinely heard and valued.