As the second largest metropolitan district in England, Leeds City Council serves a population of over 800,000 residents and a fast-growing working community. One of the largest employers in the region, the Council’s 14,000 employees deliver over 500 different services across Leeds.

A dedicated team of around 120 HR and business change specialists promote the Council’s values and support its ambitions to become the best council in the best city: fair, open and welcoming, with successful communities and a prosperous, sustainable economy.

The challenge: becoming the best place to work when times are tough

When living costs surge, councils nationwide feel the pressure from all directions. We need them to do far more with much less. The Council’s Chief HR Officer, Andy Dodman, knows that delivering the best employee experience is vital. And, when high pay and pension packages are just not possible, every part of this experience matters: a warm welcome at recruitment, great management and leadership, exciting  development opportunities and flexible career paths.

Emma Browes, one of the Council’s Business Change Leads, appreciates the value of sharing good practice with other councils. So, halfway through the implementation of its people strategy, she and the HR team decided to work through the CIPD’s People
Impact Tool survey process. Commissioned by the Local Government Association, this partnership with the CIPD set out to support collaboration between councils keen to use an evidence-based approach to inform their business decisions.

In the public sector, you have to be flexible. We’ll never be able to win by paying the most, so we’re putting targeted and values-based interventions in place to support our teams. And we’re retaining talent by shaping jobs around people, rather than getting our employees to contort themselves around jobs.

Andy Dodman Chief HR Officer, Leeds City Council

The solution: connecting the team’s work to the HR profession’s standards

The People Impact Tool delivers the solid evidence that senior people leaders need. The summary report provides data on an HR team’s current people expertise, business impact and future readiness. Easy to use and quick for internal stakeholders to complete, organisations can get the best return by scheduling the
tool within existing survey cycles and workloads.

Anonymous feedback comments support understanding and action planning. And, with the opportunity to discuss the results in detail, organisations can quickly review their people strategy, refocus their investment and navigate their response to the challenges they see ahead.

Underpinned by the standards set in the CIPD’s Profession Map, the tool measured the capabilities of Leeds City Council’s HR team against the core knowledge, behaviours and specialist expertise required of the people profession. And it gathered feedback from 39 leaders, 40 managers and 18 employees on the team’s impact and readiness for the future.

Qualitative data really helps us to tell our story – the feedback from our people was
very valuable and motivating.

Emma Browes, Business Change Lead, Leeds City Council

The outcome: confidence in a team that’s delivering the best employee experience

Timely use of the People Impact Tool gave Leeds City Council the evidence that its HR team are on track. At the midpoint of its people strategy, taking the opportunity to check in across the team and the wider organisation meant that HR could continue to deliver on helping the Council become the best place to work.

The People Impact Tool provided evidence that the HR team perspective, the business perspective and our people’s perspectives are broadly aligned. It helped to verify our strengths. And it confirmed that our plans for development and future direction are on the right path.

Emma Browes Business Change Lead, Leeds City Council

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