Below are a few examples of work we have been involved with. If you would like more information about our experience, please get in touch, we’d love to talk with you.
Leadership development programme for new managers
A need was identified to create a programme for a group of people who had just become managers or showed the potential to move into a people management role in the near future. The new programme was to complement the managers’ induction programme which covered the ‘HR’ side of the management role. This programme was to focus on developing leadership skills and behaviours. We spent some time exploring the real requirements with the key stakeholders, including members of the L&D and HR teams, line managers of people who would attend the first pilot of the programme and senior leaders in the organisation. The stakeholders recognised it would take the participants a number of months to fully develop these behaviours, and this influenced the design of the programme to become 3 specific modules taking place over a six month period, and supported by coaching in between the modules. We ran the first programme as a pilot and it received excellent feedback, and thus continued to run as a longer-term programme. We also did an evaluation of these programmes that demonstrated that 16% of participants were successful in gaining a promotion within 12 months of attending the programme.
Talent strategy and supporting programmes
We developed a talent management strategy for an organisation who were struggling to define what they meant by talent. The organisation had a lot of scientific ‘experts’ who had reasonably defined career structures and training, but they were becoming increasingly concerned that they had an aging workforce and were vulnerable to losing people in key leadership positions and not being able to replace them internally. Thus our initial focus centred on potential for leadership, and we considered talent as those in key posts who were making immediate contribution, and those who were demonstrating potential, ability, aspirations and were engaged in the organisation. Working collaboratively with the company’s top team, we interviewed each Director to help them to understand what they meant by talent and what they were ‘looking for’ in a talented person. We then produced a competence framework as part of the strategy with competences grouped under 4 key areas. We also designed programmes to last for a duration of 12 months for the newly created talent pools, which took a holistic approach and included a training programme, action learning sets, coaching, job shadowing and mentoring.
Evaluation study of management development programme including Return on Investment
We were asked to complete a full evaluation exercise of some leadership and management development programmes to demonstrate their effectiveness. The organisation were investing 25% of its L&D budget into its leadership and management training and were keen to be able to identify some tangible benefits they were getting from this investment. We undertook a study which included both qualitative and quantitative data collection methods; questionnaires sent to and interviews conducted with delegates and their managers, analysis of data on turnover levels and absence, and wider secondary information from other organisation assessments. We also interviewed stakeholders and used historical information about the previous performance of the programmes. Our study demonstrated a 400% return on investment from the programme, and suggested the programmes were very effective and adding real value to the organisation. We were also able to make recommendations for future improvements to the programmes.
Introduction of an annual leadership event
Working with a technical organisation which had run leadership and management programmes for a number of years, through discussion it became clear that there was an appetite from managers to want to do more development in this area, yet most managers had already been through the programme so were not sure what to do next. We recommended introducing a new event to help the programme participants to embed their learning and to keep up to date with ongoing developments in the organisation. We were also aware that internal communication and networking were some of the organisation’s priorities and were keen to incorporate these into the event. Rather than running refresher or follow-up events for each programme, we recommended that an annual leadership event was introduced, which participants from any of the programmes would benefit from attending. In addition to embedding and reinforcing learning from the programmes, we made sure the events were supported by the CEO and the senior leaders, who shared their own leadership stories and key current messages with the participants. We were also keen for the annual leadership event to have a different ‘feel’ to the programmes themselves, and as they were designed for a larger audience we were clear that we wanted them to remain interactive. As a result we used interactive and creative team exercises to encourage this technical organisation to think in a different way, and we used voting technology and graffiti boards so people could have their say during the events.
Introduction of a Peer Coaching Network
An organisation we did some work with had started to use coaching informally to help improve individual and organisational performance. This was done on an ad-hoc basis either through the line management structure or through the use of expensive executive coaches. To enable coaching to be more accessible to all employees, we recommended that an internal coaching network was set up to allow managers to obtain further training in coaching and to enable them to coach not only their own employees, but also other employees outside of their teams, enabling more knowledge-sharing in the organisation. Our recommendation was taken on board and 8 coaches (initially) were successfully recruited through a rigorous process and attended a 6 month training programme before they started coaching. To launch the network, we ran an event to raise awareness, where we got the CEO to share his personal experiences of being coached, and ran a live coaching session for people to watch to understand more about what coaching is and how it works. The network received excellent feedback and more than 200 employees have now been coached through it.
New corporate behaviours
We worked with a company to introduce some new Corporate Behaviours. They had not had company-wide behaviours previously, and were keen to have some behaviours that were expected of everybody and could be measured through the performance management system. We suggested that it was important to keep the corporate behaviours simple and meaningful. To help develop the behaviours we felt it was important to consult with stakeholders across the company to ensure the behaviours were purposeful. The initials of the 4 behaviours we came up with spelt CARD, and this was well-received as it was easy to remember. To introduce the behaviours, we ran training awareness sessions for all employees to attend, and made use of creative marketing methods to help employees to remember and understand the behaviours. This included linking the CARD behaviours to a pack of playing cards, and making a playing card-sized card to give out to employees which listed the 4 corporate behaviours on. We also ran an awareness month using the company’s intranet, and each week in the month focused on a different behaviour, and included examples to show what the effective and ineffective behaviours looked like with some video clips to help illustrate.
Interactive appraisal training
We all know that appraisal training is not always the most exciting of subjects, but is an important course for employees to attend to ensure they can understand and make best use of their appraisal and performance management systems. Bearing this in mind, when we were asked to design and deliver some appraisal training, we designed part of the course to have an electronic interactive game which was run in the format of a popular TV game show. It included some of the key messages which might otherwise have been seen as being a bit dull, and resulted in employees going away from the course and telling others how good it was and how they should attend it as they learnt a lot of useful information.
Research by the International Personnel Management Association (IPMA) suggests that ‘ordinary training typically increases productivity by 22%, while training combined with coaching increases productivity by
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