Why culture matters

We all want to be our best and deliver great outcomes for Victorians. To be more connected, agile and responsive to community. But how do we get there?

23/08/19 13.00pm

Meet Franco Greco. He is driving One VPS work around Culture.

Smiling One VPS team member Franco Greco

'We are facing a number of internal and external challenges in the VPS. We need to work together differently with a shared VPS identity to focus on outcomes for our community. We also need to improve our technical ability which requires us to be adaptive.'

That’s what One VPS is about. Better technology and skills - and at the heart of this is culture.

Overcoming barriers

As a psychologist and public servant for more than 20 years, Franco understands how important culture can be.

'You can only understand culture when you try to change it. Only then can you see how deeply embedded it is. This underlying culture can either stop us or helps us.'  

The One VPS team are looking at the values, behaviours and attitudes that we share across the VPS to see what helps us and what holds us back. 

Franco says the right culture will enable us to do great work by driving what motivates us. That is, our connection to our work and making a difference. It will also create opportunity for us to work better together and create opportunities for more collaboration, better technology, access to information, building our capability. 

The need for culture shift is also reflected in data from the People Matters Survey, One VPS survey and focus groups, which identified some great opportunities for our culture:

  • Building a stronger WoVG identity.
  • Stronger focus on ambition and being open to new approaches that challenge the norm.
  • Improving our sharing of knowledge to help us learn from experience.

Towards a One VPS culture 

For Franco, getting the right culture will be the most important step for leadership.

'Culture is not a surface phenomenon. It's a core of how we operate. To deliver, you want to talk about the context of the outcome – what we want to achieve as the VPS.'

To achieve this positive culture shift across the VPS, Franco says we will also need a culture of:

  • trust
  • purpose
  • connection
  • achievement

'It's about consistency. I have seen simple things, like regular feedback, an open door policy and monthly conversations between managers and staff, make improvements in People Matter survey results.'

So while the feedback showed areas of focus for improvement, it's the underlying culture and leadership that will make the difference.

Leadership and culture

'Culture is the single most important force leaders have to accelerate change. When you understand culture and how to work with it you can accelerate your performance improvements not just in the short term, but for the long term.'

Franco has seen firsthand how leadership can model a behavioural change that had significant impacts on engagement and job satisfaction.

'Leaders are ultimately responsible for shaping culture through what they do, don't do and what they choose to tolerate. Leaders create cultures through their behaviours. So if you want see more collaboration, just asking once won't make it happen. You need to always encourage with consistent and open feedback.' 

Join in the conversation about culture.

Visit the new One VPS Community Group and tell us: 

What you think will drive a One VPS culture?

Reviewed 11 October 2019