I was privileged to have worked with a large revenue service authority, as they undertook a major transformational programme, focussed on improving service to tax payers, and citizens in general. This involved strengthening revenue collection abilities and investing in education for the tax payer.


The organisation realised that improving revenue collection demanded a new operating model, and a supporting culture to underpin the enhanced efficiency and effectivess which the operating model would introduce. A key objective was to bring the revenue service closer to the people. Thus, the strategic plan included the establishment of service centres across the country, which, apart from the impact on the thousands of employees, would also require a change in citizen behaviour to drive increased compliance.

A challenging change

A transformational programme of this scale and nature would result in significant change, including:

  • Substantial process improvements, as well as the introduction of an online system to allow tax payers to interact with the revenue service through this platform. Moving from a completely manual, paper-based system to an electronic platform would represent a seismic shift for tax payers and employees
  • The operating model shift would result in organisational restructuring, which would include the introduction of new structures for the service and processing centres across the country. In addition, there would be changes across several divisions, to ensure the requisite synergies between front line and back-office processing

A bespoke change management approach

A change of this scale and complexity, requires a carefully designed change management approach. Consequently, the change team focussed on the following key dimensions:

  • Leadership alignment: recognising the important role which leaders would play in guiding and sponsoring the change, and ensuring that the leadership team was aligned behind this change was a primary focal point
  • Active and visible participation: According to Prosci’s® Best Practices in Change Management report*, active and visible sponsorship is the greatest contributor to the success of a change management programme. Having ensured that the leadership team was aligned, it became necessary to ensure their active and visible participation throughout the change
  • Change management capability – leadership participation and involvement can be compromised by leaders who don’t know what they need to do to support the change. Therefore, we spent time with each leader, to ensure that they were comfortable with the change management specific expectations for their respective role(s)
  • Focus on stakeholder engagement: we oversaw the establishment of stakeholder management teams, which were supported by key members of the HR, organisational communication, technology and business process teams. These teams were mobilised to ensure a consistent approach to delivery of the change across the organisation. In addition, leaders and line managers were encouraged to engage their teams in support of the work being undertaken by the stakeholder management teams

It is encouraging to reflect on how this electronic platform has become the preferred means of interacting with the revenue service, and this has contributed to an increase in revenue collection and compliance across the public in general. The revenue flow ultimately enhances service delivery across our country, and I am honoured to have been able to play a small part in this significant shift.

Read more about the evolving role of Change Management and the influence of digital technologies.