Case Study

Financial Services Client

A UK-wide high street retail banking group, with a wholesale financial services business.


Appointment of a permanent group diversity manager in a highly unionised environment with no prior lead responsibility for diversity other than as an adjunct to the HR function in some areas.


A complete end-to-end solution that included development of a tailored diversity strategy and leadership engagement plan for the entire group, covering retail and wholesale businesses.

Our delivery and response 

Phase 1 - Mapping the Diversity Terrain

  • Our senior consultant took on interim responsibility for the diversity management task for an initial 3-month period, to obtain direct exposure to the scope and content of the role as it then stood. Reporting initally to the HR OD leader at Deputy Director level.
  • Stakeholder engagement could then begin in earnest, starting with key contacts within the HR function. This informed the development of the HR business element of the group diversity strategy - including detailed HR systems capability analysis and development; and strategic level dialogue with the group's HR policymakers and Trade Union (TU) teams.
  • Outside HR, business leaders were consulted and engaged in strategic development activity, and business stakeholder mapping began. The Group top team including the CEO were among the first round of consultations.
  • This informed the development of an outline group-wide diversity strategy involving each business and reflecting individual business goals as well as group-wide objectives. TU teams were continuously consulted and engaged to sustain buy-in throughout this phase.

Phase 2 - Shaping the Role for Maximum Effectiveness

  • After 3 months direct exposure as interim in the role, our senior consultant was clearly equipped to work with the HR OD leader and resourcing manager from an informed perspective, on supporting the design of detailed role and person specifications for the permanent diversity manager appointment. Search firms were briefed accordingly.
  • We continued to support the recruitment process, acting as 'intelligent client' with search firms on behalf of the group as a diversity subject matter expert, in review of the candidates and short-listing those with the most appropriate credentials.
  • We acted as technical consultants on the design of an assessment process  for the final selection, where the shortlisted candidates were required to perform a series of tasks relevant to the role.
  • Our senior consultant was part of the assessment panel throughout including direct observation of the candidates in action. She continued to act as group diversity manager in an interim capacity, and further develop engagement with stakeholders, as well as commencing implementation of the strategy that she co-designed, throughout this phase.

Phase 3 - Selection Decision and Onboarding

  • As technical adviser to the selection panel, we supported the decision-makers in appointing the best candidate. 
  • With the aim that they would be able to hit the ground running, as soon as they arrived in post, our consultant stepped away from the interim role and became a specialist mentor to the new appointee.
  • Mentoring sessions continued at the behest of the appointee throughout their first year in post. There was a seamless transition of knowledge and context through the mentoring relationship and the Group benefited greatly from the progress that had been made initially by our consultant acting as interim, which was then sustained and grew in the capable hands of the new appointee.
  • As their maturity and knowledge grew, the need for such intensive mentoring gradually dissipated and after a year, with mutual agreement we were able to leave the client, with much-improve specialist capacity and a fully equipped professional in diversity who took the reins for implementing the strategy with complete confidence.


  • Our solution provided strong collateral for the changes that were later to be implemented during implementation of the strategy we helped to shape. This innovative phased approach was designed to maximise the benefit of our expertise to the client and build their diversity capacity throughout.
  • Senior stakeholders and trade union teams were engaged naturally through the process, from the outset and felt fully consulted and confident about the strategic direction for diversity group-wide. Our work to analyse their disposition towards diversity and the clarity of the top team mandate for change that emerged as a result, were key achievements here.
  • The onboarding package was tailored to our deep understanding of key challenges and personalities within the Group and enabled our knowledge to be shared in real time, as the new appointee gradually settled into role. We were available whenever needed, on a pull basis, to support the individual's effectiveness.
  • The client received free consultancy within the onboarding package, through the mentoring relationship, where the focus shifted from working with the HR OD leader to working with the new appointee. This enabled the incumbent to shift the strategic focus of their reporting chain, with our support, outside of the HR function to align more closely with the business.



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