HR Director - The Royal Academy of Arts

Published: 4 April 2012

The Context:

The Royal Academy was at an exciting time in its evolution as it embarked on its plans to position itself more obviously at the heart of creative practice in London and the wider world.  As part of this process, the RA was seeking to appoint a new Director of HR who, as a key member of the executive management team, would play a significant part in the delivery of the organisation’s plan for the future.

The Challenge:

The Royal Academy (RA) was looking to bring in a new talented HR Director who could quickly integrate themselves into a complex and sometimes political environment, where the business often operated in silo’s. They needed to quickly assess the current HR Strategy and align it with the RA’s strategic objectives and corporate plan, taking into account current best practice, and supporting the RA in delivery of its Plan for the Future. They also needed to develop and lead an integrated HR function ensuring effective policies, organisation and staffing.

The Approach:

Given the importance of the role, numerous meetings between ourselves and key stakeholders within the Royal Academy were set up in order to understand the role, the organisations requirements and expectations, before building a detailed candidate profile and briefing document. Target organisations where possible candidates may have been working were also identified during these conversations. During these conversations the organisation’s buy-in to the new role was quickly achieved.

Utilising a multi channelled recruitment strategy, including targeted search and an online advertising campaign, we where quickly able to build a list of suitable candidates for the position. Berwick Partners then invited a number of candidates for in-depth face to face interviews to assess their skills, competence and importantly their cultural fit. A shortlist of five candidates was presented to our client and interviews with the Chief Executive and key members of his management team were arranged.

The Outcome:

Following a competitive interview process a preferred candidate emerged, and after salary negotiations were concluded accepted the position. The new HR Director integrated themselves into the organisation with ease and quickly gained the trust and buy in from the Chief Executive and colleagues on the management team. They added value from day one and have embarked on a number of strategic projects contributing to the organisations ability to deliver its plan for the future.

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