As the BBC prepares to move up North what impact has this had on its employment procedures? HR Director, Ken Lee stresses that they have always tried to concentrate on the offering of upfront information rather than trying to persuade its employees of the need to move.

Understandably the decision to move the offices to a new location has impacted many of the workers at the BBC and those with families and other commitments will have had to have made some difficult decisions. The BBC understand, however, that it is better to have staff who want to work for them and not take hundreds of disgruntled workers with them. The HR Director has taken the view that "there are two things that really make a difference. The first one is flexibility and the second is information. They need to come and see the city, feel what its like, see some of the surrounding areas, and actually be able to make a balanced judgement”. He has handed the decision over to the worker.

In considering what information is going to help their workers decide whether or not to make the move, Ken has the view that you have to try to emphasise with the workers and consider what matters to them and this includes their life outside of work. He has therefore made an effort to ensure that people have detailed information about the schools which are available for their children to attend and the relevant catchment areas for example. He notes that "The relocation project has really prompted us to do what HR people always say we do, but don't always do as well as we should, which is to see the whole person”.

Of course they understand that despite all the information they provide about the move some workers simply will not wish to go and this is where the search for fresh talent comes into play. Whilst it is regrettable that the BBC will lose some talented and experienced people, it is looking at this aspect of the move as as much of an opportunity as it is a threat. The process of attracting new recruits brings with it the opportunity to breath new life into the BBC from people from a more diverse background who could have ideas on how to best move them forward. The cuts have meant that the BBC is looking to reduce its budget by 20 percent by 2017. New people could mean ingenious ideas on how best to tackle their future battles.

In line with this fresh take on recruitment and wanting to bring in new ideas they have launched an apprenticeship programme which targets people from diverse backgrounds. The programme aims to avoid selecting only people from top universities which could lead to a very uniform perspective and is trying to attract  “raw talent”.

From a HR perspective, although the loss of talent and experience is a disadvantage, the BBC are making the best out of the opportunity and its an approach that many others could follow. Ken admits that there is still a lot of work to do with the move but that the biggest challenge will be when they arrive and settle in and have to make all these changes work, for the BBC, its viewers and for the workers too.

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