London Bridge Job Centre Plus evolution began in 2012 when it was selected to be a showcase office of the future. The principle of the change was to pave the way for DWP’s “Digital by Default” strategy, build capability of customers and highlight what the future holds for Job Centre Plus services. In the recent People Survey, this site scored 81% for Leading and Managing change, impressive when you think of the change programme that has been implemented.
We found out about becoming “Job Centre of the Future” in 2013; from day one we were in consultation with staff to shape our service. We described the principle of the change, to become a digital Job Centre Plus and to ensure that everything we delivered would support building capability of our customer base so that they have the skills to compete in an increasingly digital labour market.
During consultation with our staff we explained where staff could influence the new design. Apart from the hard lines, it was a blank canvas for people to input and share ideas about how to create a digital journey for our customers. We received a positive response from staff because we were asking them to create their office – this was not a management directive.
A few away days here and there meant that we could go off line to design our future site, focusing on the decision making that we did have in the office. Taking this time out allowed us to focus on how digital was going to add value to our delivery model, supporting not only the customers, providers and suppliers but our employees too.
Becoming digital meant that we had to build the capability of our staff so that they could effectively support our customers. Many of our staff had not completed a digital recruitment application before so they needed to understand the processes that our customers face in their job search.
As many of our staff members had been employed by the department for a while, they needed to understand what it is like to compete in a digital labour market and use enablers for example, Recruitment Websites, Twitter and Facebook. We were the first site to have Facebook (which offers a range of creative ways to contact JCP) and use Twitter to promote our services or any job vacancies. This helped to build capability in the office as people were more aware of the digital aspects of a job search.
Consultation from day one; our teams had a good knowledge of the labour market, we had experienced advisors who used this opportunity to put their ideas forward for implementation.
Our team members provide a service to our customers daily, therefore, we encouraged them to shape the customer journeys for each benefit. They worked together to create positive motivational posters to display around the office to boost the morale of our customers (and staff!) Staff suggested that posters and communications should be displayed in Universal Credit colours as this is the overarching change that we are working towards – this meant that we could connect with the Universal Credit change in advance.
When talking about how we present ourselves; our employees wanted to look professional as they deliver a professional service. Therefore, a suggestion for a dress code across the office was implemented. We purchased some scarfs for the ladies to match their office wear and men were encouraged to wear a shirt and tie. This has helped to encourage a sense of community in the office.