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DISCOVERY with the Parks Workforce

After training the GEMS staff in the AI approach, the team carried out 20 face to face in-depth interviews with the Parks workforce.  The interviews were written up and analysed, pulling out common themes. 

System Issues

Parks Workforce focus groups at Poole Farm


  • Strong sense of ownership and knowledge of the parts of the city they work in
  • Range of qualifications but the feeling that these were not being used as best as they could
  • An ageing workforce highlighted the importance of sharing knowledge and skills through clear succession planning, for example through better use of apprenticeships
  • Frequent moves of staff between teams prevents the development of mastery
  • The opportunity to enhance the availability of training 


  • Internal communications could be improved to build trust and compassion between groups
  • As a team; staff have a huge range of problem solving skills and creativity/innovation at their disposal but it was not felt that they were enabled to make their own decisions
  • Scheduling of jobs would increase customer experience by allowing back office staff to manage expectations during initial conversation
Parks Workforce focus group at Poole Farm


  • Love of nature and parks
  • Love their jobs
  • A strong identification as a team – the immediate 4 or 5 people in the gang working on site, this should be expanded to ensure back office staff are included as part of their team.
  • Team enjoy interacting with the public and are very committed to customer service
  • Strong desire to be recognised and thanked for their work
  • Staff sickness put pressure on teams, undermining team spirit
  • Career progression is missing from job roles which could undermine purpose

What's Next 

Feed learning into the Operations and Experience area of work, identifying quick wins 

Share common themes with staff and lead a visioning exercise

Share findings with the enterprise and community programme: Enrich 

Follow the latest progress for the Operations and Workforce strand by visiting the Operations and Workforce Updates