Measure for Measure. Performance Management at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is the world’s leading charity in promoting the works, life and times of William Shakespeare. It offers a unique Shakespeare-centred experience with outstanding archive and library collections, inspiring educational and literary event programmes and five houses, including Ann Hathaway’s house.

Formed in 1847, it is the primary global source of education and opinion on Shakespeare’s works and times. Clients include UK and international tourists and tour operators, schools and worldwide universities.

The CEO wanted to modernise the organisation so that it could compete effectively for a share of the UK’s tourism, education and leisure sector. Wishing to place appraisal and performance management at the heart of this process she asked Change Associates to help.

What we did

We designed a new performance management policy and approach with the active support of the new CEO and input from a staff working party.

The approach needed to engage a wide range of roles and capabilities, from gardeners and tour guides to archivists and academic professors. It was important that one process could be used consistently across the organisation and encouraged every member of staff to consider the commercial elements of their role.

Given the non-profit making nature of the Trust, and its recent financial challenges, the budget was tight and the approach had to be extremely creative.

We designed and delivered

  • Performance management policies and plans
  • Policies for addressing underperformance
  • An approach for performance improvement plans
  • A behavioural framework
  • Guides for managers and employees
  • Staff communications and face-to-face briefings
  • A two-day training course for managers
  • A cascade approach of strategic objectives to provide a clear line of sight between employee objectives and the business strategy.

The result

Within 12 months the Trust had turned from loss making to profit and had a robust performance management process in place.


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Last updated: 10 Jan 2019