Cultural Change within Local Government

NLP was used to create organisational cultural change for 1,500 people within local government; increasing employee engagement by 5% and supported employees through change.

Cultural Change within Local Government

Posted by Emma McNally on

The challenge

With budgets within local government being reduced on a regular basis and the demand for services increasing due to an ageing population, the public sector has had extremely difficult situations to manage over the last 10 years or more - having to make complex decisions around priorities and how to spend money to support the most vulnerable.

This has an impact on society as well as impacting on the employees making these difficult decisions whilst themselves going through times of significant uncertainty with changes in how they work, reapplying for their jobs, multiple demands from multiple areas on their time whilst still delivering services to the public.

The pace and level of change was relentless therefore we decided we needed to do something new - something fresh to support employees going through this significant change. The normal communication methods, training and project management tools had been used for many years however now the need to support staff even more was becoming even more evident and critical to support their emotional and mental well-being.

The effect

Employees of the organisation were feeling more and more frustrated and blaming the organisation for what was happening. They were feeling less engaged within their work due to the significant and relentless change occurring all the time and had 'change fatigue'. All the emotions of the change curve were being experienced, from shock and denial through to anger, blame and frustration and even once they were moving through to acceptance and problems solving, another wave of necessary change would come their way.

So there were many people feeling many different emotions all at the same time as different projects landed, with the overriding feeling of not being in control of what was happening to them. They were seeing new projects being launched regularly, hearing from government about more budget cuts at the same time as having the public and customers demand the services they were used to receiving. A very difficult time of change for everyone involved.


The culture programme was designed to support all employees going through this time of change. 26 volunteers completed the NLP Diploma - they were selected on the basis of being interested in personal development and wanting to help others. We then designed 'bite size' sessions of 2 hours duration which they delivered to their colleagues. They shared the NLP insights they learnt as well as giving them some incredibly powerful and useful tools for them to use through this time of change and into the future.

The sessions were fun, interactive and experiential. The programme was delivered through 3 phases, with the main objective to enable employees to have greater resilience whilst going through change, to improve employee engagement including; improved self-worth and self-esteem plus to improve emotional well-being, communication and confidence when working with others and fulfilling their roles.

We ran sessions with senior leaders, middle managers and front line workers - we had a consistent NLP approach including the language we used. This was accompanied with a robust programme of communication, project specific training, activities and support for the volunteers who were running the sessions as well as the employees going through the change.


The programme was rolled out for 1,500 people and 92% rated the NLP sessions as helpful and useful within the workplace. There was a 5% increase in employee engagement in terms of ‘stay’ (likelihood of people staying at the organisation), ‘say’ (whether employees would speak positively about the organisation) and ‘strive’ (whether employees would strive to do a good job for the organisation). These figures were taken from the employee survey which took place annually and were used to evaluated the before and after impact of our programme.

Employees across the organisation were able to use the tools and insights that they had learnt to change how they were feeling, they were able to be more resilient and to manager their emotions more easily and communicate more effectively with others. They had a common language, understanding and respect for others who were going through change and felt they had greater choice over how they were feeling and were able to take greater responsibility for themselves, so that when the next wave of change came, they had some tools to help them manage the situation more easily and move through the change curve quicker.

Emma McNally
Emma McNally

NLP Trainer, Coach, Public Speaker, Author and Business Consultant