Putting the People Strategy at the Heart of the Business

Engaging with a broad range of people from within the organisation, our client was able to develop a People Strategy and new delivery model for HR.


Our financial services client had been working on its business strategy and had identified the need for a major investment in digital technologies. The missing ingredients were the right strategy to unleash the power and potential of its people and a People Function that could enable this step-change. Our work focused on closing the gaps in both areas.


Our work had four phases:

  1. Frame: The team had never previously developed a people strategy. We therefore helped our client to frame the work and to develop an approach that was most likely to build commitment and ownership to the proposals once developed.
  2. Diagnosis: We used three tools to help us understand the challenges and opportunities:
    • HR capability and organisational analysis – to understand current strengths and opportunities and those areas that needed to improve.
    • Voice of the Internal Customer exercise – to engage the Group Executive Team, other senior leaders and a cross-section of managers, employees and the HR team to gather inputs about the business strategy, people challenges and the effectiveness of the HR Function.
    • External benchmarking – to bring the outside in, challenging thinking and contributing fresh thinking.
  3. Dialogue: As proposals emerged, we created a dialogue across the HR team and key decision makers to test their relevance and impact. This helped us to focus on those areas that would really make a difference to organisational health and performance.
  4. Decide: When we reached key decision points with the Executive Team and Board, the process had already built a strong sense of ownership and commitment to the proposed People Strategy and HR delivery model

Our contribution was four-fold:

  • Facilitate the approach, working regularly with the HR Leadership team through a do-review cycle across each phase and running the diagnosis phase.
  • Bring an external perspective, bringing into the thinking external trends, practices and approaches to stimulate discussion.
  • Shape the outputs, providing rigour and challenge to emerging ideas and helping the organisation to focus on areas that will make the biggest difference.
  • Coach the team, bringing our change management expertise to help the team build ownership and commitment to the proposals.


For many in the organisation, being asked their opinions was novel and cathartic. It helped the People Team to understand how to deliver greater value, and brought clarity to the key people enablers that will help the business deliver its strategy. The work has been a catalyst for a significant investment in transforming the HR Function and in putting the employee experience at the heart of business success. Business performance reached an all-time high (£396m) in the period following this work underpinned by significant improvements in employee engagement.

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