Can people engagement co-exist with increasing productivity?

In 2019 HM Land Registry (HMLR), which administrates all land registrations in England and Wales, wanted to find a way to service the conveyancing market better.

There was an upsurge in demand for its services, from updates to the register as the housing market continued to grow, through to brand new entries on the register as new property was developed. On top of which tens of thousands of applications were awaiting processing. An inflection point was reached whereby a combination of new hires, digitisation and automation was required.

A people transformation programme that focuses on increasing performance

Baringa initially became involved in an assurance role. We suggested that HMLR was not getting the most from its people. We wanted to show that better performance and supporting leaders in changing the culture are not mutually exclusive.

A people transformation programme focusing on helping teams increase performance was driven by questions such as  ‘what does good leadership look like?, ‘what does it mean to transfer the ownership of planning into the hands of the people who do the work?’ and ‘how is this achieved in a way whereby people are respected and fully engaged and productivity grows simultaneously?’

Making HMLR self-sufficient to manage change themselves

The Baringa team worked shoulder to shoulder with senior HLMR colleagues, co-designing the programme and keeping it flexible. We coached 150 leaders and worked with 4,400 caseworkers spread across 14 offices from Plymouth to Durham, each of which was run as a self-contained business unit. We addressed ways of working, fine-tuned processes and focused on local leadership teams. This made it possible for us to exit the programme two months early having built a team of 30 people to manage the programme internally going forward.

The impact has been an average 12% increase in output in 2022-23 compared with 2021-22, equivalent to savings of £20 million worth of casework effort in reducing the registration delays. Engagement levels, gauged by the six-monthly Civil Service People Survey, have continued to go up, even after the out-of-the-ordinary circumstances of the pandemic when the Registry was seen as handling disruption in an exemplary manner.

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