The challenge: becoming a destination for HR professionals

As the world’s top public service broadcaster, the BBC is a unique organisation that faces many complex HR issues and the challenge of operating across multiple sites. Yet in recent years, personal development within the HR function had not featured as high up the agenda as the organisation would like.

To redress the balance, the BBC launched an internal HR development programme called Creating World Class HR. ‘We want to be a destination for HR professionals to come to,’ says Senior HR Business Partner Katie Landy, a member of the BBC HR Leadership Team.

A key requirement for the development programme was that it should incorporate some form of external benchmarking. It also had to have the flexibility to be effective for an HR workforce comprising both a large number of long serving employees and a significant amount of relative newcomers to the organisation.


The team that supported us through it were great. They made it painless by fitting in with our timescales and giving us lots of supporting material to use. We had regular check-ins on progress. 

Katie Landy, Senior HR Business Partner, BBC

The solution: an internal HR development
programme called Creating World Class HR

The BBC talked to several outside providers but chose to partner with the CIPD on the basis of good organisational fit and because it was impressed by the recent update of the Profession Map. 

As a starting point, the CIPD ran a webinar for the HR function explaining the Profession Map and how to get the most out of it. Following on from that, Senior HR Business Partner Katie Landy and her team reviewed which roles should participate in the CIPD’s 360 assessment, the online tool for determining team and individual capability. The decision was taken to broaden the scope of the initiative beyond generalist roles to include employees working across Reward, Learning & Development and Resourcing as well.

91 people participated in total. ‘Those taking part felt that they and the function as a whole were being “invested in”.' says Katie. The BBC engaged with all the employees who were taking part to make sure they understood its purpose. It was made clear that this would help individuals with their personal development while the aggregated data would pinpoint key development needs for the organisation to address at a strategic, cross-functional level.

We didn’t make it mandatory. We said, “you don’t have to do this but why wouldn’t you? This is a brilliant opportunity to get some really detailed feedback and it’s yours to own. You can share it with your manager or not, but we really encourage you to share it with people who are involved in your development and your career progression”.’

Katie Landy, Senior HR Business Partner, BBC

The outcome

We found it interesting that the results between our Business Partners and our Senior Business Partners weren’t that different,’ says Katie. ‘They are two different roles – graded differently, paid differently – but as they had the same kind of results that made us think, is there more we should be doing to lift the senior role up a bit? And what work can we provide that stretches them?

The data also showed a need for development around digital working, analytics, and external thinking. ‘Overall,’ says Katie, ‘the process has been well received and those taking part feel that they and the function as a whole are being ‘invested in’’.

The broader findings have led to the creation of workshops and webinars to address key development needs and are informing the composition of a new development programme. All of this work is being carefully aligned with the CIPD Profession Map. Moreover, the CIPD was able to compare the BBC’s results with data gathered through work with other organisations to provide some insightful benchmarking. 

There was real expertise in the CIPD team around how you look at and analyse data, 

Katie Landy, Senior HR Business Partner, BBC

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