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Case Study

Building a digital healthcare innovation department from scratch, whist defining recruitment practices to enable growth within a competitive and niche candidate market.


Account Director and Talent Partner

Design, Research, Product Management and Service Ownership 

The Situation

Genomics England Ltd (GEL) is owned by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and was set up to deliver the 100,000 Genomes Project. This project would see GEL sequence the entire genomes of 100,000 NHS patients suffering from rare diseases and multiple forms of cancer.

The project was a huge success and placed GEL at the vanguard of the UK’s emerging genomics industry. After the project’s completion in 2018, DHSC announced their ambitions to sequence an additional 5 million genomes over the next 5 years and introduce a genomics medicine service into the NHS. This would have the power to revolutionise the NHS through preventative healthcare measures, targeted treatments and quicker diagnoses for patients suffering from rare conditions.

To execute this plan, GEL would need to pivot to a service-led business and create an ecosystem of complex data-driven digital products and services. SyncD were engaged to assemble their brand new digital innovation function across multiple disciplines and shape new digital recruitment practices along the way.

Our goals were to:
    • Co-design the hiring strategy with senior internal stakeholders
    • Collaborate with hiring managers to produce compelling job specifications
    • Shape a recruitment process that balanced rigour and pace to hire the best talent in a competitive market
    • Own hiring for digital and service innovation roles, from mid-senior practitioner to director level

Our Approach

The SyncD team kicked off the project by meeting with key stakeholders within HR and Recruitment, as well the Chief Digital Officer, to understand the requirements of the project and to develop a suitable recruitment strategy. We absorbed as much information as possible to better understand the world of genomic medicine and to speak credibly within this space.

Through the deployment of an embedded talent partner and account director, candidate sourcing commenced with the hiring of the leadership team within this part of GEL’s business; including a Director of Product & Director of Design & Research; now key hiring managers with whom we’ve successfully hired the teams thereafter.

Our team kept a focus on gender and ethnic/cultural diversity to ensure the new department reflected the wider organisation’s values.  We created initial processes and workflows to enable the team to hire quickly and maintain consistency as they scaled. This included:


  • Producing internal templates and documentation for recording candidate notes and interview feedback
  • Supporting the design of interview stages, tasks and questions
  • Interview scheduling for candidates and interviewers
  • Creating new workflows for feedback sharing to ensure interviewers were fully briefed at each stage
  • Writing company briefing docs and job adverts for candidate outreach
  • Producing weekly reports for People/HR teams to track digital hiring progress
  • Regular iteration to improve processes

Our Results

  • 38 permanent hires spanning Product Management, Service Design, Service Ownership, Product Design, Content Design and Design Research
  • Recruitment best practice embedded, with processes optimised to deliver hires in a competitive market
  • Achieved a 61/39 ratio on female-to-male hires

Contact Us

If you’re interested in finding out more about how we could support your growth plans, get in touch with me.
Andrew Rogers


1st Floor
2 – 7 Clerkenwell Green

SyncD – A Futureheads Company | Registered in England and Wales under the company registration number: 06981893 | Member of APSCo 102390