Are you looking for external help to get a development programme off the ground?
If you have a tightly-resourced or non-existent Learning & Development department and would value an experienced guide to help you design, run or evaluate it, speak to us.
Scroll down to see some of the work we have done recently and the outcomes.
High potential programme to resolve talent drain/progression issue
An insurance company, realised that call centre agents in their retail protection division at pay grade 3 were unable to successfully apply for first line manager role at pay grade 4 because the skills and experience gap was too great. Staff engagement surveys revealed that staff felt there were “insufficient development opportunities”. Staff retention became increasingly difficult
Following Needs Discovery Conversations with respective heads of department, it was agreed that the company should invest in a nine month development programme which was called “StepForward”. The agreed outcome was to facilitate ambitious call agents’ promotion and development by providing training, coaching and project opportunities to close the gaps on the line manager job description. The programme was designed from end-to-end; i.e. from application and selection, through psychometrics, workshops, coaching and project support and presentation, to graduation ceremony, evaluation and reporting back of return on investment (ROI) to department heads.
By the end of the programme, more than half of the first intake achieved promotion to first line management with the rest moving into equivalent pay grade 4 roles in other functions in future months. The business later took over the delivery of the programme to in 2018 win a Princess Royal Training Award.
“My confidence has really improved over this process, the challenge of presenting to Senior Managers and running my own project for the benefit of the business has been an amazing opportunity. Being given the time and space to explore my motivations and strengths has been a really rewarding exercise which will benefit my long-term career hugely”.
“I’ve enjoyed the program so far, it’s helped me clarify where I intend to take my career and build on skills that will be essential for it. Although I’ve had long term plans in place for my progression StepForward has enabled me to put these into action much sooner than I would have been able to otherwise.”
Behavioural/Culture change Project to Develop a Coaching Culture
Managers were used to using a command-and-control style of leadership to ensure KPIs were met but which disempowered staff from taking full ownership of their own performance and development. The company asked for new manager-as-coach training as a means of equipping their senior and first line managers with the skills to have powerful, effective one-to-ones and other development conversations.
Some managers had already received coach-as-manager training by another provider so the starting point was reviewing its effectiveness and replacing this with a more comprehensive training aligned with International Coach Federation competencies. This was designed with Learning and Development to be delivered as three one-day modules across the manager population in four departments. To further embed learning and make behaviour changes stick, senior managers received one-to-one coaching supervision while first-line managers enjoyed coaching action learning sets to share their leadership challenges and further practice coaching skills in a group setting.
A staff survey demonstrated that coaching happened more frequently and that staff felt engaged with coaching. Foundations were laid, to embed a “coach approach”, more widely and to reflect the new way the organisation did business.
Bespoke management development/interpersonal skills training – architect firm
An established landscape architects firm was struggling to attract and retain talent as sector salaries are low. Like other professions, managers were technically competent but their professional training did not cover how to lead and develop people or develop the right people skills to work with external partners. This firm wanted to stand out from their competitors as an employer that was serious about professional development and a great place to work so they could still attract and keep good people, despite the salary constraints.
They were not interested in a standard management course but wanted one that appreciated the specific challenges landscape architects face when line managing staff and seeking buy-in from strong-willed architects and other partners in the course of their work. We agreed the key skills to cover from setting and sharing vision, knowing how to motivate, coaching, giving feedback, delegating, rapport and influencing and designed a five-day management essentials/influencing skills training for five of their managers, with follow-up coaching for each manager to further embed learning and iron out personal challenges.
Participants reported back that their training had been inspiring and useful and they were looking forward to implementing it. The practice began to grow in size and reputation and was able to market itself as an employer where staff would be able to develop their careers.
"Ros provided us with management advice entirely suited to a design company. She tailored her approach to our needs and did not engage in jargon but advised on design management issues with knowledge and sensitivity. As all staff are only trained in design, we needed to improve our management approach and Ros helped us address this area of the business. We apply her advice to this day."
Tony Edwards, Director at PLACE Planning & Design