Employee-Led Change: Improving Joint Working Between Teams


The Context

There was anecdotal evidence from hiring managers that there was inconsistency in the delivery of recruitment services from the corporate recruitment team to service areas. The major challenges to address were: 


  1. Communications and engagement throughout the recruitment process was inconsistent and leaves hiring managers unsure at what stage their recruitment is at and recruitment advisors without prompt steer from hiring managers 

  2. Roles and responsibilities when completing the process are not documented or made clear to either party, causing delays when actions are incomplete and, as one hiring manager put it, ‘a random number of days’ between each stage of the process.

  3. Duplication during the process in which hiring managers are directed to a number of different teams to access information required for completing a requisition 

The Requirement

The Recruitment Team acknowledged these challenges and noted the inefficiencies they were causing for themselves, as well as hiring managers. As such, the Human Engine team worked with recruitment advisors to design and implement solutions to the problems faced and change the service provided to internal customers. 


The Programme

The Human Engine team used our signature Improvement Drive methodology, designed to deliver fast and sustainable employee-led improvement. 


The Improvement Drive is a four-step methodology delivered over 12-weeks to facilitate employee-led change and coaching to leave teams with the skills and tools to deliver continuous improvement. We work with teams, not doing to them, to increase employee ownership and engagement. It is an approach to improvement that avoids ‘change fatigue’ and supports teams to design their own solutions to specific business problems The four stages are: 


Discover: Build a knowledge base about the business problems we want to solve. This is gathered through use of data about the service, basic process mapping and using anecdotal evidence / ‘lived experience’ of officers in the frontline teams 

Design: Once business problems have been identified, work to design solutions that will help overcome these. Understand the complexity of potential solutions – can these be delivered within 12 weeks? 

Deliver: Test solutions with major stakeholders through pilot schemes, focus groups or workshops. Begin rollout testing basis to increase uptake of new ways of working 

Determine: Review the impact of each solution. Rollout solutions to all users of the service during this period.  

The Outcomes

After 12 weeks, the project had designed and implemented: 


  • A Service Level Agreement to outline roles and responsibilities of hiring managers and recruitment advisor throughout the recruitment process, which removed duplication 

  • New Recruitment Team structure: The structure dedicates a recruitment advisor to each service area, enabling advisors to build relationship with hiring managers and deliver a consistent service 

  • Development of an insight dashboard: A monthly dashboard for Heads of Service showing an overview of outstanding recruitments to support resource planning 

  • Face-to-face fortnightly drop-in sessions for hiring managers to provided support and advice for their recruitment 

  • Information Hub on the council’s intranet where templates, ‘how to’ guides, updated user guides are available and easily accessible 


Each output was designed in collaboration with the recruitment team and tested with key stakeholders through focus groups and workshops. 


The associated benefits of the improvement drive have been both quantitative and qualitative:  

  1. A more focused team of recruit advisors who are able to develop better working relationships with recruiting managers in their given service area and improve the advisory element of the service

  2. Positive feedback and greater accessibility of recruitment data via the insight dashboard, highlighting delays and key recruitment statistics that enable management to make informed resource-based decisions 

About Us

Human Engine is a Financial Times top-ranked management consultancy with specialisms in strategy, people and performance. 


It was founded by a group of former local government officers who think the public sector deserves better than it gets from traditional consulting firms – more human, more personal and more knowledgeable of the reality of delivering modern public services.  


We have worked with dozens of public sector organisations to help transform their strategies, operations and cultures to be more agile, commercial and entrepreneurial in order to achieve financial sustainability and improved outcomes for local people and communities. 


We are currently writing our latest report, The Commercial Edge, in partnership with leading think tank Localis, making the case for entrepreneurialism in public services and local investment as a catalyst for economic recovery and growth.