Following a meeting in Lapland with North Pole Ventures’ Father Christmas and his Chief Christmas Officer (CCO), 6 Group discovered that 2023’s festive season was in danger of not going ahead.

The demands of the market, namely a year-on-year increase in the production of gifts and continually advancing toy technology, had resulted in a significant strain on the North Pole Ventures (NPV) workforce and left no room for innovation.

Combine the above with an initial reluctance from the client to change and it was clear from the outset this would prove to be one of the most challenging transformational projects 6 Group had ever faced.

To attain buy-in from Father Christmas and other NPV stakeholders, we were given permission by the organisation to undertake an initial research phase to better understand all issues at hand and present a workable solution.

“But this is
how we’ve done things for nearly 2,000 years.”


FATHER CHRISTMAS,
NORTH POLE VENTURES

Screenshot 2023-12-14 172516

THE RESEARCH


6 Group held anonymous one-to-one interviews with a group
of top-performing elves to identify key issues within NPV.
Below are some of the themes which were identified:

  • A Christmas-less culture: NPV’s longstanding mission “to produce the best possible toys for the most deserving boys and girls” had become tired resulting in a diminished impact amongst the elf workforce.
  • A not so jolly employer brand: The vast majority of elves said they had lost their pride in working for Father Christmas. Word of this had spread across the North Pole and onto multiple social media channels such as FrostedGlassdoor.
  • A turkey of technical capability: The quality of the toys had deteriorated over the years. This was partly because of an overstretched manufacturing process, but predominantly attributed to NPV hiring elves below lacking the required technical skills.

1 Put the elves under the mistletoe microscope

The first recommendation was a rigorous technical and behavioural assessment of the existing elf workforce. It was clear from the initial research phase that toy creation had been in decline for some years, therefore, we had to identify the key problem areas.

For the technical assessment, 6 Group’s Associate Consultant, the Easter Bunny, was brought in to facilitate the process. The Bunny had single-handedly built a chocolate egg manufacturing business which served billions worldwide and has only ever held outstanding customer satisfaction (who doesn’t love chocolate!?). Each elf was assessed by the Bunny and given their own Personal Development Present (PDP).

For the behavioural assessment, we wanted to ensure all elves were aligned with the competencies desired by NPV. These were:

  1. Christmas Commitment
  2. Present Perfectionist
  3. Ice-Cold Innovation.
Christmas organisational tree

2. Designing the organisational tree

After the assessment stage, 6 Group identified strengths and weaknesses in the organisation. Notably, over one-fifth of the elf workforce lacked the technical capabilities for consistently outstanding gift production. Development was also needed in three key behavioral competencies.


In response, 6 Group conducted an organisational redesign to accommodate new recommended positions in North Pole Ventures. These included:

Head of Ribbons & Decorations (R&D)

Responsible for collating market intelligence on the latest in toy innovation and communicating this with Father Christmas, the COO and Toy Production Trainer.

Toy Production Trainer

Responsible for upskilling the elves’ technical capabilities through regular training sessions held in the workshop. The Trainer will use the PDPs developed by the Easter Bunny to create coaching programmes which are strongly suited to the needs of the workforce.

Caroling Communications Manager

Tasked with continuous employee engagement, this role develops an internal communications framework, including ‘The Partridge Post’ newsletter, workshop rebranding, elf surveys, etc.

Aligned with North Pole Ventures’ three behavioral competencies and a new mission statement.

3. Holiday hiring

Searches for Santa’s team

After proposing the new organisational design, 6 Group was commissioned by Father Christmas to conduct search assignments for three recommended roles. Despite the relocation challenge, we highlighted the joy of contributing to an organisation delivering happiness worldwide.

We created NPV-branded candidate briefs, emphasising the three key behavioral competencies. Our Research Division targeted global manufacturing businesses on social media.

Identified candidates underwent background checks and screening, including referencing Father Christmas’ ‘naughty or nice’ list. ‘Nice’ candidates were assessed by 6 Group based on NPV’s desired behaviors.

The final stage involved a face-to-face interview at the North Pole with Father Christmas and his CCO.

Christmas case study CBD

Engaging the toy-building talent

To combat the under-elved manufacturing process, 6 Group recommended a high-volume hiring campaign to run alongside the search assignments. Earlier research had suggested that an additional 250 elves would be required to ensure an effective production capability for now and the Christmases ahead.
Given the volume of elves required, a sizeable sourcing plan was needed. The strategy comprised an elf referral scheme, social media promotion on channels such as FrostBook and Icygram, and open days at the workshop. 6 Group also recommended empowering diversity in the process by looking beyond the usual elf demographic. This included engaging reformed trolls who were seeking to make a positive change in their lives.

Historically, the troll community has held a negative reputation but possess strong technical capabilities acquired through spending centuries constructing bridges to hide under.

Confident we could source the required volume of candidates, 6 Group commenced the hiring campaign.

We're people development specialists

From elves to senior leadership, 6 Group builds assessment and development programmes around your desired outcomes. If you're interested in building a highly effective development programme, get in touch:

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