The Bank of England is now one year into its planned 3 year “One Bank” transformation, rolled out with the goal of fusing departments and integrating policy functions following a review by McKinsey & Co. If transformations of modern companies made for the sake of growth and efficiency typically involve thorough analysis, a lot of hard work, and concerted efforts between transformational growth leaders and the entities they consult, imagine the task Bank of England COO Charlotte Hogg finds herself in the midst of, overhauling the procedures and culture of a 300 year old institution. The intricacy of this process is summarized well in this article from Bloomberg: “The role requires Hogg to try to square the circle of how to enhance and streamline a state-owned organization without losing its public-service ethos.” Though the exact metrics by which to measure the success of this unique overhaul are not completely clear, Hogg says the program is “on track.”
Hogg actually previously worked as a McKinsey consultant herself, and brings her private sector experience to this public sector undertaking. “It’s too easy to say in public-sector institutions: ‘Oh, we don’t have the kind of metrics that private-sector institutions do,’” she is quoted in the above article as saying. “What we’ve done is to say: ‘No, that’s not right.’” Several tangible changes have already been made over the past year including the creation of a new management layer, the holding of more joint meetings between the three main policy committees, harmonization of pay, and improvement in efficiency of processes.
The above mentioned public-service ethos of the Bank of England is an essential part of the value system of the employees. According to the article, “A staff survey carried out by McKinsey for the strategic plan showed that while the workforce felt dogged by bureaucracy and a ‘hierarchical’ structure, they were motivated by ‘having a noble purpose.’” While certain changes will be welcomed by all involved, particularly changes related to efficiency, many elements of the BOE culture clearly must be preserved, both for the benefit of the staff and for the public they serve.