Clients / Case study

Strengthening the Digital Service for the future

With rapid growth, how do we ensure that people and processes are robust?

Strengthening the Digital Service for the future

The brief

An intriguing consulting project for the Government Digital Service (GDS), nurturing their people at a time of formidable organisational growth. At a time of rapid growth, GDS was in danger of alienating its people by investing little in personal development or employee engagement at a critical time. The company hoped we would be able to redress the situation through analysis, consultation and the offering of practical solutions. For us, this was a project which required a measured external perspective exploring how best to nurture the company’s people as GDS matures as an organisation.

The challenges

Sandra Evans, our Managing Director recalls: “Through our initial conversations, it very quickly became evident that there was a formidable pace of growth in GDS. While people were committed and engaged in the purpose of the department, it was clear that the focus on delivery had created little time to focus on personal development. In addition, we believed that the high percentage of technical specialists and a mix of permanent and contract staff had created specific challenges around the employment deal, or what it means to work in GDS. Additionally, at the time, GDS were under intense political scrutiny and so building trust in our team was a priority.”

The solutions

Using a mix of face to face and virtual methodologies, there were four key phases to our approach:

  • Insight: Getting beneath the surface of the data. In particular, understanding recent trends or training-needs analysis, engagement data and any end-user evaluation. We were then able to set a benchmark for any short and long-term solutions.
  • Root Cause Analysis: Getting to the heart of the issue by consulting with people within GDS, both in small groups and on a 1:1 basis with some of the leadership team. When focusing on engagement, it was vital to understand the perspective of the people actually being impacted and to listen to their views and opinions.
  • Solutions: We then worked with GDS to develop and deliver a range of practical solutions that made an immediate impact in the workplace and moved any barriers aside.
  • Outcomes: Using the benchmark set in our insight phase, we measured the results and worked with GDS to ensure the solutions we had delivered made a difference.

The results

As Sandra continues, "During a period of intense scrutiny, we are immensely proud that we were able to develop a robust set of recommendations that could be released internally and put into action. Working in partnership with internal HR, we were able to be part of effecting real change in a central digital service."

Valerie Stevenson

Valerie Stevenson

Val led this consulting project for us and in her view, "This was a fascinating project as the fast pace of growth within GDS had prompted a shift from a simple, single-platform organisation, to a complex business unit dealing with multiple Government Departments and Agencies, and requiring different skills and responses from their teams. Working in partnership with GDS, we conducted a series of onsite and offsite meetings, focus groups and 1:1 interviews with 170+ staff, both civil servants and contractors, representing over 20% of all GDS staff. I am proud that through our consulting approach, we were able to get beneath the surface and understand more clearly the options for moving GDS forward as a mature organisation."

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