Fitted for Work (FFW) is a not-for-profit (NFP) organisation assisting women experiencing disadvantage and seeking employment. As an NFP, FFW relies heavily on donations, trusts and foundations for revenue, as well as their two social enterprises, the Conscious Closet, a recycled woman’s fashion store, and SheWorks, a paid recruitment service that connects employers with FFW’s work-ready clients. The company has 29 employees and more than 260 active volunteers who have helped over 33,000 women in Australia since 2005.
“We saw how the DXC team communicated and collaborated throughout this engagement. It was incredibly helpful for us to see firsthand the positive impact technology has on teamwork and outcomes before we implemented it ourselves.”
Donna de Zwart Chief Executive Officer, Fitted for Work
The rapidly changing Australian NFP landscape is being disrupted by increasing competition, changing donor and delivery priorities, and persistent unpredictable market challenges. The public are more conscious of where they donate their hard-earned dollars feeling a stronger desire to participate in charitable giving — but giving only where they see measurable impact. The act of contributing is also becoming highly peer-driven with research showing that seeing others give influences prospective donors to do the same. Donation channels are also changing driven largely by digital technology in connecting people, with more online and mobile donating than ever before.
To stay relevant and viable while supporting necessary growth, FFW required strategies to address the challenges of accessible resources, support and collaboration across people and services; while increasing company productivity, proactivity, and adaptability; and becoming even more client centric. FFW wanted to appeal to more donors, and since it operates mostly with volunteers who are critical to the business, they recognised a need to better enable and nurture people.
DXC provided a dedicated team to co-create a digital strategy with FFW using a Human Centred Design approach anchored in immersive research and industry trends. Immersive research, contextual interviews, and ideation sessions involving FFW clients, volunteers and employees were conducted where insights were uncovered to support the development of behavioural personas, journey maps and empathy maps. This research informed the desire for future culture, technology and other changes. Comprehensive ‘one pagers’ were developed showing a ‘day in the life of’ a customer, employee and volunteer, with current and desired future state presented. The resulting digital strategy provided a change roadmap outlining the entire transformation journey with practical initiatives to support FFW’s future vision and objectives.
FFW lived and breathed the project with DXC. Weekly updates allowed DXC to present ideas, gain feedback, test, evolve, improve and move on. Co-creating the whole way through. That constant buy-in and involvement from FFW was an important contributor to success. It meant that when the final showcase was presented in week 8, there were no surprises for the leadership team.
Peter Tsakissiris, strategy designer and engagement lead from DXC, commented, “Human Centred Design is a creative approach to problem solving and the backbone of our work at FFW. It starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions tailor made to suit their needs. This approach reflected the importance of the people who interact with FFW. FFW is all about the customer, but their experience is impacted by many things — for example, a space where the client feels uncomfortable, or a stressed out staff member who doesn’t feel supported or have access to equipment needed to do their job properly. We were able to create a practical digital strategy that not only includes digital and technology focused initiatives, but also recommendations for new revenue streams, culture, people, marketing, communications, and physical space. It provides a holistic view going forward.”
Donna de Zwart, CEO for FFW, commented on the project, “We cannot speak highly enough of the DXC team. In the NFP space, well-meaning organisations can sometimes make assumptions about who we are. The reality of our organisation is that we are held to high account for our behaviour, culture, and performance and my team is highly professional. If an organisation wants to work with us to help us achieve our vision — we want a 100% partnership — we don’t want handouts. This process with DXC was insightful, thought provoking and highly engaging. Most importantly it was a partnership that was delivered with heart. DXC took the time to understand our organisation and our brave clients. This was about so much more than a digital strategy; it will enable us to deliver on our future vision for FFW — to be available for any woman, anywhere who needs our help.”
“When people think of a digital strategy they think big, however for us, those bigger things require funding which will take time, so it’s the little wins along the way that have the greatest impact.”
Donna de Zwart Chief Executive Officer, Fitted for Work
The digital strategy is not a static document — but something FFW can reference every day with constant small increments achieved. The strategy is divided into three themes focused on new ways of working to drive better customer service. Themes cover (1) People and Culture; (2) Tools and Technology; and (3) Physical Space with people from across the business selected to form ‘realisation teams’ to drive the initiatives and manage change.
DXC ran Agile workshops for team members to demonstrate how FFW could evolve to a future workplace by selecting tools and techniques that work for them. Some examples already implemented include the stand up meeting formula in daily client service briefings to keep the large volunteer team informed and engaged throughout FFW’s growth; and Kanban boards to improve workflow, and communication of status, progress and issues. These initiatives are impacting how employees and volunteers feel and are having a huge positive impact on customer service.
Within Tools and Technology, Microsoft Teams and Planner have already been implemented to improve communication, collaboration, and accountability. Donna said, “We saw how the DXC team communicated and collaborated throughout this engagement. It was incredibly helpful for us to see firsthand the positive impact technology has on teamwork and outcomes before we implemented it ourselves. An excellent example of the impact is our weekly leadership team meetings — using Microsoft Planner, Notes and Teams has allowed us to build a collaborative meeting process that is both accessible and automated — the technology has made a huge difference to meeting efficiency.” Based on recommendations in the digital strategy, more technology will be implemented once funding becomes available, including a CRM, development of an online resource library, development of an app for clients, and a user pay model.
New premises are currently being sought to address overcrowding, however in the meantime the physical space has been improved in small ways through a dressing room revamp, new equipment for staff and volunteers to improve productivity and collaboration, and dedicated areas for stand ups and collaboration.
Donna continued, “What I loved about the way in which this strategy was developed was how Peter and his team immersed themselves into different parts of our organisation. Nothing was thought of as too little to have a big impact. When people think of a digital strategy they think big, however for us, those bigger things require funding which will take time, so it’s the little wins along the way that have the greatest impact. For instance, we’ve worked hard around staff and volunteers experiencing vicarious trauma — after discovering through this research the ongoing impact of hearing really horrific stories on a regular basis. We’ve made several small changes around staff and volunteer wellbeing and ensured the employee assistance program was more prevalent.”
The digital strategy is allowing FFW to conceptualise initiatives on growing the business, staying relevant, creating new revenue streams, and better engaging employees and volunteers, while reaching more disadvantaged women right across Australia.
One of the key drivers of success with this engagement was the 100% commitment from FFW. Peter continued, “My team and I truly believe in the work FFW do and the client team was fully engaged. We were given a room on site to work from; access to the CEO and General Manager whenever we needed it; and the opportunity to speak and connect to employees, volunteers and clients. We were welcomed into the FFW family to co-create with them — they made us feel like we were making a real difference to the women that they serve and that was a strong motivation to ensuring such a successful outcome.”
While the initial project was an eightweek engagement to develop the digital strategy, DXC is maintaining contact with FFW to evaluate funding and donations progress, with further plans to support implementation of key initiatives as money becomes available.
Donna concluded, “As a team, we were delighted by the DXC team’s enthusiasm and willingness to really listen to our unique story. I know it’s not one they’re used to hearing or working with, however they never lost sight of it. This project has been a great example of what a human centric approach can do — my leadership team felt constantly supported in what we are trying to achieve. The digital strategy has provided me with very clear and concise ways to talk about our growth strategy and how we’re going to achieve our goals. I think we will see the impact for a long time to come. It’s already influencing every conversation I have since I now have a really refined ask with clear priorities and evidence to back up what we’re requesting.” The digital strategy helps FFW approach government, trusts and foundations — as well as large corporates for potential funding and partnerships. Resulting support will allow key insights proposed as part of the digital strategy to be actioned and ensure FFW continues the amazing work it does for thousands of women across Australia.