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Case Studies

Positive Action Development Centre


Department for Work and Pensions

The Primary Objective:

The design and delivery of development centres which formed part of a 12-month positive action programme aimed at helping high potential ethnic minority and disabled staff achieve career progression.

Our Approach:

The programme was aimed at a wide range of grades from administrative level (AA) to managers (SEO). Fifty participants were selected across different business areas, with an equal number of ethnic minority and disabled individuals. During the initial client meeting, we agreed the delivery of 10 development centres, with 5 participants and 5 coaches at each to allow individual support and a tailored development approach. Human Assets conducted interviews with participants and their line managers to inform the design of the development centres and to engage all stakeholders in the process. Key themes were drawn out from this process which led us to tailor the design by grade to ensure all development needs were met. The first four development centres were led by a Human Assets consultant, after which capability was handed over to DWP.

How Human Assets Helped:

We applied our extensive experience in the area of diversity to the design of the development centre exercises. Our experience combined with the thorough research we conducted, enabled us to design development centres that were completely tailored to the target group. We took a strengths-based approach using appreciative inquiry to increase participants' self-confidence. We provided participants with a learning log and encouraged them to reflect after each activity during the day, thereby encouraging them to ownership of their development. Participants were extremely positive about the centres. They found the development centre to be a valuable start to the programme; encouraging them to utilise their strengths and motivating them to take action on areas of development. At the end of the project, we provided DWP with information on organisational barriers faced by participants to allow the Department to start addressing aspects of their organisational culture related to diversity.

Client Feedback:

  • "I really enjoyed this experience; it highlighted strengths that I never knew I had and also areas for development in realistic terms."
  • "The centre, coaches, content and activities not just met but exceeded my needs."

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