Foreign Office rethinks its HR model

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David Whineray, deputy director of HR at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has explained how the Foreign Office is reinventing its HR model, over on HR Magazine.

The Foreign Office employs 15,000 staff from more than 150 nationalities, and the HR department is tasked with ensuring that they all feel part of one organisation, which is no easy feat.

The deputy director outlined five key changes to the HR model.

1. The Foreign Office has integrated its staff employed overseas more closely with our UK-based staff. There is now one model for all, rather than separate performance management systems. More is being done to share services and resources abroad, the goal being to operate as an efficient, global organisation.

2. More power has been put in the hands of the people within the organisation to develop their own careers. This facilitates the matching of skills with jobs.The HR function used to move staff around centrally, but roles are now advertised through open competition and managers are responsible for ensuring their teams are equipped with the right level of skills and experience to perform effectively.

3. Learning and development has seen significant investment. A new language centre and a new Diplomatic Academy have been created, both to equip diplomats with wider skills for modern diplomacy.

4. The issue of diversity has been addressed. Though there is still more to be done in this area, the number of female heads of mission is currently at an all-time high of 40 and 40 percent of Foreign Office board members are women. In September 2014 the civil service launched its Talent Action Plan, which provides a code for attracting the best people regardless of their gender or background.

5. Many of the organisation’s HR operations have been moved to a dedicated corporate services centre in Milton Keynes. This has resulted in a smaller, more efficient department.

Read Mr Whineray’s assessment of the changes in greater depth in the original article.

 

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