BBC backs leaders to manage change

The BBC’s leadership training programme will play a key role in managing the corporation’s transition to having less staff, according to a senior executive at the corporation.

Later this month, the BBC is due to confirm its restructuring plans that could lead to the loss of up to 6,000 jobs and the relocation of entire departments from London. Last week, it announced the first wave of changes, with 980 jobs to go from the Professional Services department – which includes HR – and 750 roles to be outsourced. The BBC unions are warning of industrial action if compulsory redundancies occur.

The BBC Leadership Programme was criticised last year for a lack of measurable outcomes, but BBC learning executive Louise Katz said the improvements it has so far driven in internal leadership and management would help ensure the reorganisation is handled smoothly.

For example, she said, management were now more able to deal with constant change while keeping a focus on public value and being more accountable when the organisation’s headcount is reduced.

“The BBC needs to be as small as it needs to be,” said Katz. “Because of that there will be many people losing their jobs, and parts of the BBC may be sold off,” she told Personnel Today. “The role of leadership is to ensure we manage that change.”

Managers who have completed the programme are now more able to share resources and ideas between departments, Katz said.
“[Managers] are working under such pressure and to deadlines, so they don’t get out of their division,” she said. “One of our key objectives is collaboration and building a learning organisation.”

The leadership programme was launched by former director general Greg Dyke in 2003, after a survey of 10,000 BBC staff found that employees were not well-managed or well led.

The programme includes web-based learning through the BBC intranet, one-to-one coaching, and workplace learning.
Katz presented the results of the programme earlier this month at the Performance Management Forum run by consultancy Longbridge International.

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