Meeting business needs through workforce planning
A Foreign & Commonwealth Office case study

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Page 1: Introduction

Constant change places demands on organisations. To meet these challenges, organisations need to be dynamic and adaptable. They need to have the right people in place to meet changing needs. This involves having workforce plans that encompass the whole organisation. This planning ensures that an organisation can achieve its objectives not just now but also in the future.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is the government department that is responsible for promoting British interests overseas. It helps UK companies to do business around the globe. It also supports British citizens if they get into trouble abroad. The department has around 2,700 people working in the UK and another 1,800 British employees working overseas.

In the past, the FCO was seen as a very traditional, male-orientated environment. However, demands on the FCO have changed. As well as the traditional values of public service, the FCO requires people with more varied talents and qualities. It wants individuals with ambition and creative skills and with the confidence to work alone or within teams.

To fulfil the many roles within the department, the FCO now actively seeks candidates from all universities and from all backgrounds. Applicants may have a degree in any subject. What the FCO looks for are men and women who can apply their knowledge and skills to many different tasks. These can range from providing consular services overseas, including supporting British citizens caught up in terrorism or natural disasters when abroad, to helping co-ordinate and implement foreign policy.

The FCO is looking for people with transferable skills. It wants people who are good at team working, as well as those with the ability to lead and take on responsibility. It wants people who can adapt easily to change, individuals who can undertake many different roles and responsibilities within the organisation. This helps the FCO to change and respond to its fast-moving environment.

Foreign & Commonwealth Office | Meeting business needs through workforce planning