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  • Writer's pictureSidekick

Co-creating a dynamic culture

Making the complex simple by implementing strategies that create a dynamic workplace before the project has even ended.  

A leader in Social Service 

WoodGreen has been addressing the unmet needs of Toronto residents for over 85 years. As a leading social services agency, they provide a range of integrated programs, including physical and mental health services, affordable housing, employment support, financial counseling, childcare, and programs for seniors and youth. Their vision? A Toronto where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. 

Woodgreen's 4P Assessment

The Challenge 

As the world bounced back from the pandemic and organizational cultures felt the strain, WoodGreen's Leadership Team was all in on enhancing and innovating their workplace culture. The journey began with an ambitious goal to cultivate a thriving hybrid work environment. Collaborating with a cross-functional team helped clarify the real challenge WoodGreen was solving for: How do we transform into a dynamic employer? Specifically, how can we ensure our managers are equipped with the right tools, resources, knowledge, and skills to nurture a human-centered environment? For WoodGreen, it was crucial that their team cultures thrived and that employees felt connected, recognized, and supported—not just by their managers but by the entire organization and their colleagues, ensuring everyone was at their best in their roles. 

The Solution 

WoodGreen and Sidekick teamed up as true partners, creating an environment ripe for co-creation, allowing changes to start taking root right from the start of the project. 


"We joined forces with Sidekick to support us with better understanding what the future of work at WoodGreen could look like. We focused on how we could move towards becoming a more engaged and efficient workplace." - Randall Freeborn, SVP, People and Strategic Initiatives 


We embraced an inclusive design thinking approach centered on the employee experience, utilizing the '9 Elements to Get It Right' framework to pinpoint key aspects vital for nurturing a dynamic culture. Although we identified short, medium, and long-term wins across all elements, two focus areas particularly stood out for WoodGreen. 

  1. Social Experience: The social dimension of work was identified as a crucial area for improvement, significantly enhancing trust and value among employees—essential for fostering innovation. As WoodGreen transitioned to a hybrid model, our strategies focused on maintaining vibrant 'micro-cultures' within teams, supported by visible and engaged leadership to keep these cultures thriving. 


  1. Work Experience: We also refined the work experience by clarifying roles, making tasks more engaging, and increasing opportunities for personal growth. Our targeted recommendations supported skill development, career progression, and equitable job flexibility for frontline staff in non-hybrid environments. 

The Impact 

An organization that was looking to transform into a dynamic employer now had a clear path forward. The P&C core project team was prepared with a plan on a page of prioritized quick, medium, and long-term wins with and assessment of impact and effort for each. The plan had been endorsed by the cross-functional team and the organization’s leadership team, ensuring widespread organizational support and the confidence to advance.    


Immediate results were clear by the end of the project as number of quick wins had been implemented, demonstrating early success and motivating continued efforts. Representatives from various departments were engaged in solution development and were ready to act as change ambassadors during the implementation phase.  


“Sidekick became a true partner in this work. They authentically engaged with all staff throughout the process, making them feel more like colleagues than consultants” - Randall Freeborn


Since completing the project, the implementation of the plan has been ongoing, significantly improving connectivity within leadership and staff, and enhancing managers' capabilities to cultivate a dynamic, human-centred work environment. 


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