Putting rigour and fairness at the heart of recovery

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Working at GatenbySanderson, I am proud of our mission to ‘find and develop leaders that shape a better society’, no more so than in the last year when our public services have been in the front line of the pandemic response and recovery. 

Perhaps, not so visible, has been the work of the Civil Service that, whilst adapting to the many demands that the pandemic has brought, was also preparing for Brexit and managing business as usual. In a year that brought unparalleled global disruption, change and new policies, the machinery of government had to work at a faster pace and in closer partnership than ever before - be that rolling out the furlough scheme from Her Majesty’s Treasury or the vaccine deployment programme from joint working between the NHS and Ministry of Defence. 

A consequence of these initiatives, and the urgency to deliver, was the large-scale recruitment needed to provide additional leadership resource to coordinate the strategy, planning and implementation of the response. This resource needed to adapt quickly, showcase inspirational leadership qualities and bring fresh and diverse skills and perspectives into a fast paced and complex context. At such a time of crisis, it would have been easy to bypass process and rigour, thankfully, neither our client nor GS were prepared to compromise on the assessment standards that underpin and support fair, open and inclusive competition.  

From GS’s investment in people, processes and technology in the period prior to the pandemic, we were able to quickly focus effort on client and candidate service delivery. We worked in partnership with Occupational Psychology Services and the Government Recruitment Service at the Cabinet Office to quickly move all face-to-face processes for ‘one-to-one’ individual psychometric assessment and ‘one-to-many’ staff engagement exercises virtual, working closely with departments to test technology and ensure the candidate experience remained strong. Through our expert and sizeable team of chartered psychologists, and our in-house team of dedicated project coordinators, we delivered approximately 500 additional assessments in a matter of weeks alongside business as usual.

The successful candidates are now senior Civil Servants in Central Government tackling the emerging challenges and priorities as the Government’s response to pandemic management and recovery develops. The strengths they demonstrated during their assessment process, against the behaviours that underpinned their selection, including ‘seeing the bigger picture’, ‘leadership’ and ‘working together’, are now benefitting departments as they play a leading role in effective response management, including new policy formation and large-scale operational delivery. 

As we find ourselves at the first-year anniversary of lockdown, we offer our continued support to these new leaders and wish them the very best as they tackle the challenges ahead.

Mark Powell, Partner, GatenbySanderson’s Leadership and Talent Consultancy  

If you'd like to know more about Leadership Assessment & Talent Insights, please contact Mark at mark.powell@gatenbysanderson.com.