Empowering Managers at the London Borough of Hackney Council

A New Way of Working Case Study Empowering Managers at the London Borough of Hackney Council.

The goal:
Stemming from a need to operate more efficiently within a lean structure, and from a desire to develop stronger leadership amongst managers and team leaders, the Council decided to move to a HR business partner model in 2015.

The Council leaders knew they wanted a structure that encouraged managers to take responsibility for their own teams, but that offered the support of expert advice and governance when required. To help transition to the new model, the Council appointed Capita HR solutions to create a development programme for managers.

The goal of the programme was to equip managers to deal with day to day issues that in the past they may have referred to HR, and to educate managers about how best to use HR business partner support. Managers would have expert HR support when they needed it, but at the same time, the Council could reduce the size of its in-house team; making cost savings and providing development opportunities for managers at all levels.

Our solution:

Our brief was to design and develop a range of HR training sessions for managers, and to develop ‘How To’ guides that managers could refer to after the training.

Capita’s wealth of experience in both HR and in developing managers, fed into a bespoke programme of seven workshops that would cover key HR topics. The programme would enable managers to deal consistently and effectively with the HR issues they may face following the transition to a business partner model. The training would also help managers identify when they did need to involve HR; creating an understanding of risk and how best to tap into HR support at the right time - no matter how experienced a manager they were. We worked hand in hand with the Council to structure the content based on our in-depth knowledge of HR, and the Council’s expectations in terms of levels of manager responsibility.

Demand for the workshops was much higher than anticipated and in total 97 workshops were delivered with more than 1000 employees attending during the life of the project. Managers and team leaders could nominate themselves, or be nominated by their own manager.

Snapshot of training elements for London Borough of Hackney managers:
-Absence management
- Capability management
- Conducting an investigation
- Dealing with disciplinary matters
- Employee relations (grievances, bullying, harassment)
- Managing performance
- Recruitment and selection

“I now understand the process and how to go about dealing with issues which may arise and I am more likely to deal with under-performance.”

Creating better business outcomes together:
The feedback from managers who attended the sessions was overwhelmingly positive. The courses proved to be much more popular than anticipated, resulting in the addition of several additional sessions. We ensured the same trainer was available for all the sessions, providing continuity as our relationship grew.

Once the project reaches its 12-month milestone, we will be able to start measuring the long term impact of more capable, confident managers. We have provided the council with guidance for measures of success including the hard metrics of employee retention, numbers of dismissals and instances of tribunals; as well as more qualitative measures including levels of engagement, and the candidate experience during recruitment.

As the New Way of Working becomes the new standard, all new managers joining the Council will be given the opportunity to attend the same HR training. As part of the Council’s commitment to training and development, team leaders will be equipped with the skills, and support, to deal with all the topics covered in the course. We are looking forward to working with the next generation of managers at Hackney Borough Council.

“I feel more confident and have more knowledge on the subject and will be able to undertake disciplinary action in line with policies and process.”

“My knowledge has improved immensely. I now have the knowledge and tools to implement the relevant HR policies.”

“We have been particularly pleased with the way that the workshop sessions have run and the overwhelmingly positive feedback we have received from our managers. The Capita team have been knowledgeable, friendly, efficient and approachable.”
Dan Paul, Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development

“Chris and Sarah had a huge impact on how prepared our 800 managers and team leaders were to work in a completely different way. We were supported and consulted throughout every step of the process and the result has been a very smooth transition to ‘A New Way of Working’.”
Dan Paul, Head of Human Resources and Organisational Development Astrid Keogh, Senior HR and Organisational Development Adviser