Starlight’s story echoes the plight of many organisations when the GFC hit, and the impact of the crisis was significant for them. Prior to the GFC, they had been very strong in corporate revenue, but this income dried up almost overnight, resulting in some really difficult decisions needing to be made. Given the sensitive and important work they do, as well as the significantly positive contribution their work makes to the wellbeing of seriously ill children and families everywhere, making the hard choices was a heartbreaking task. Cuts had to be made to their programs and this had a significant impact on morale and a high impact on turnover. However, the shake up of the GFC brought many key issues to light that really did need to be improved upon in order for Starlight to thrive as an organisation of the future. They recognised the necessity to act quickly to transform themselves. The mission – to achieve that which at the time must have looked and felt like the impossible. Starlight’s metrics at the time of the GFC were indicative of the shaky ground they found themselves upon. Their average tenure was a meagre 1 year and their other key metrics looked like this when they surveyed their employees in 2008:
Engagement - 72%
My Role - 65%
The way I am managed - 73%
Change and Innovation - 52%
Listening to Susan Henry, Head of People and Culture at Starlight tell the story, it really did require a Herculean effort on the part of everyone involved, to turn the ship around. Given their important work in the community, failure really was not an option. The team at Starlight work tirelessly and with great commitment to be able to fulfil their vision of making the lives of serious ill children, young people and their families more enjoyable in moments that are very challenging.