Skip Navigation

Developing Capacity and Supporting Growth

We helped Cool Aid address the challenges of navigating organizational growth and bolstering staff capacity at a particularly challenging time.

Cool Aid Logo

As the largest provider of services to individuals experiencing homelessness, poverty, and other effects of marginalization in Greater Victoria, British Columbia, the Victoria Cool Aid Society is committed to improving the lives of the most vulnerable in their community. 

The Challenge 

Cool Aid recognized that it could not continue to grow until changes were made to its organizational design. To do so would risk staff turnover, chip away at their capacity for excellent client care, and erode the Society’s reputation. Increasing demand for services, the opioid epidemic, and Covid-19 made it a challenging time for the health and social care sector.

As staff managed these crises in their own lives, they were bringing diminished capacity to work to support their clients. This engagement took place at a time of significant strain on Cool Aid and the broader community.

Cool Aid engaged Junxion to review, assess and make recommendations on the optimal structure to find and renew efficiencies within the organization—to liberate capacity. 

The combined effect of the housing and affordability crisis, the ongoing opioid epidemic, and the global COVID-19 pandemic are impacting community members’ mental health and wellbeing.

How We Helped 

Junxion undertook a materials review, environment scan, and surveyed how Cool Aid’s peers are managing these challenges. We interviewed staff, ran focus groups, and designed and facilitated two highly engaging workshops. We explored the parameters of ‘safety’ in social services and healthy workplaces and examined how staff can better support one another through workplace challenges. 

Junxion’s approach is deliberately inclusive. We spoke with external advisory bodies including Cool Aid’s Diversity & Inclusion consultants to confirm recommendations aligned with best practices, and engaged an independent HR expert and professor to review the draft report.

Cool Aid is a large and complicated organization, but due to COVID constraints, we were unable to visit their sites or meet managers in-person, which hampered our learning and analysis. It also proved difficult to gather insights into peers’ organizing models, which we had anticipated would provide useful benchmarks. Our first draft of the potential organizational design was over-ambitious. 

Measuring Success 

Ultimately, while the project required more effort from Junxion and from Cool Aid’s leadership, the final report gives Cool Aid a framework to navigate and implement change. It recommends a phased approach over three years and supports the full implementation of the new strategic plan, including organizational growth. Senior leadership team members also now have clear talking points and plan to enhance and increase staff capacity. 

The new organization chart serves as an aspirational model that Cool Aid can adapt as their needs and the needs in their communities evolve. Co-creating the new organizational chart with the core project team created a sense of shared ownership. Recruitment is currently underway for a number of recommended new roles. 

It was a valuable experience working with Junxion on this project. They really did offer some ‘audacious’ ideas that brought clarity to which efforts we needed to focus our attention, and to chart a course for the next few years to more effectively meet our strategic goals.

– Kathy StinsonCEO, Victoria Cool Aid Society
Ready to start making positive impact?
Benefit from our many years of experience. No task is too big or too complex for our team.