Change Management at the Division of Public Assistance

The following is an example of best practices and a change management case study highlighting the Division of Public Assistance for the State of Alaska working with Professional Growth Systems

Short Description

The Alaska Division of Public Assistance had to reorganize and restructure its welfare program or be penalized. Read how they succeeded.


The Alaska Division of Public Assistance was challenged to reorganize and restructure its welfare program to meet Federal Welfare Reform Act requirements. The Welfare Reform Act had become law and was requiring state governments to move from an entitlement benefit program to a performance measurement system that would move welfare recipients into jobs. If the new standards were not met, the DPA would be penalized.

Critical Issue


The DPA needed:

  • A new process for management of its welfare program.
  • Help in reorganizing staffing resources.
  • Documentation of current processes as well as their failures and challenges.
  • New standards and a re-design of its processes, to achieve the desired levels of performance.
  • Help with rolling out improvements, trainings and the transition to the new processes with staff to minimize any negative impacts or resistance to change.
  • A means of monitoring the entire project.

PGS Provided

Professional Growth Systems (PGS) brought in Process Advantage, its successful change management solution. The PGS team assisted DPA to reorganize staffing resources as well as restructure the current workflow process. PGS utilized the flowcharting and process mapping to analyze current processes, identify problems and restructure the processes to deliver to the new standards. The project affected every facet of DPA’s business from the minute a customer was greeted to creating the reports to monitor individual and system performance. A representative from a non-profit research group provided technical support to DPA regarding the changes brought on by the Welfare Reform Act, working alongside PGS throughout the project.

The project took over a year to complete. All service delivery offices throughout the state were impacted with staffing adjustments and workflow modifications. However, PGS’s assistance in outlining and tracking the project attributed to minimal project impacts to the staff within these offices. It was important during the transition from the current workflow process to the future process that the customers seeking services were not impacted. It was equally important that staff transfer from the old way of doing business to the new way of doing business, and that the State of Alaska avoid being penalized by the Federal Government for not meeting the program outcomes.


Bonuses, not penalties

Rather than having to pay penalties for failure to meet the requirements of the Welfare Reform Act, the aggressive welfare-to-work project planning and project monitoring, secured bonuses of $6.36 million for performance achievement from the federal government in fiscal years one and two. In addition, the state of Alaska would go on to receive additional funding for its performance for other categories of welfare reform.

Little or no effect on staff and customers

The changes were brought about without affecting the customers of the Alaska Division of Public Assistance. Staff were included throughout the process, their ideas and input valued, and they were coached on making the transition, resulting in a smooth, highly effective change management process.