Client overview: Benefits Data Trust (BDT) transforms how public benefits are delivered and helps vulnerable Americans access to over $110 million in annual government benefits and services. With a talented team of over 200, BDT now operates in six states across the U.S.  AchieveMission began working with BDT in 2016 to help President and CEO Ginger Zielinskie and her team evaluate their organizational structure and talent systems against the organization’s ambitious growth goals; design the structure, systems and culture they would need to support their rapid expansion; and create a 3-year transition plan to support their evolution. Since the engagement BDT has successfully hired top talent in leadership roles to oversee some of the organization’s critical functions, and it has instituted new people systems that allow for an internal talent development pipeline for staff. This has allowed the organization to continue attracting new investment (including the Communities Thrive Challenge award) and expand its geographic reach within the U.S.—without compromising on quality.   

We resurveyed the BDT staff 15 months after completion of their Talent Initiative. The results showed significant gains in areas targeted by the project. Overall staff felt engaged and supported to succeed, that BDT was focusing on building a quality leadership team and acquiring talented and passionate people dedicated to BDT’s mission; that a cultural shift had taken root around setting clear and achievable strategic goals and initiatives, and that transparency was increasing and decision making was pushed out from leaders. 

 

Outstanding Talent

  • Survey question: I believe that we have enough high-performing people in the jobs that matter the most to achieving our mission.
    • 2016 response: 59% agreeing
    • 2017 response: 71% agreeing
  • Sample quotes:
    • “New Chiefs have impressive experience and the authority to make fresh judgment calls to address persistent staffing/resource challenges BDT has faced over the years.”
    • “I have confidence because of the steps that BDT has taken since the last survey to bring in top talent at the executive level. It has helped us take the essential first steps to diversify our business model and funding sources. This change is essential.”
    • “BDT hires great people, and our new executive leadership has shown great focus in growing and strengthening the organization.”

 

Culture: Staff are Engaged and Supported to Succeed

  • Survey question: Staff members have autonomy over their work, as long as they meet or exceed their roles and responsibilities in an efficient and effective manner.
    • 2016 response: 48% agreeing
    • 2017 response: 68% agreeing
  • Sample quotes:
    • “The organizational redesign work has shaped our offices in the right way. Our continued focus on talent management is reassuring.” 
    •  “BDT has provided the professional development people in my role need to expand in their careers here.
    • “There have been new programs offered to help with professional development and that foster personal achievement.”
  • Survey question: I am given enough authority to make the decisions I need to make.
    • 2016 response: 53% agreeing
    • 2017 response: 69% agreeing\
  • Sample quotes:
    • “The delineation of core values and the restructuring of performance reviews has been helpful. As a supervisor, this helps me to keep folks centered on the “main thing” we should all be working towards.”
    •  “The organization has worked very hard to build communication within departments through the reorganization of duties and expectations. This has fostered working together with common goals.”
    • “Numerous improvements to work planning and prioritization have led to a more pleasant and productive work experience. Specifically, the implementation of a quarterly project timeline instead of bi-weekly sprints provide a better sense of my upcoming workload, which in turn allows better time management.”