The Employee Experience, Engaging through Development

May 27, 2022

by Management Dynamics

The Management Dynamics team recently attended the 2022 Employee Experience Awards in Wembley, London. After submitting a written entry back in February, we impressed the judges enough to be chosen as finalists in two categories – Best in Learning and Development and Best Talent Management Programme. On the day, we joined hundreds of other finalists in the Hilton Hotel to celebrate the amazing achievements of all those involved.

We delivered our presentations with our “pandemic partner”, the amazing Learning and Development team from Wood Plc. Wood is a global leader in consulting and engineering across Energy and the Built Environment. They are 40,000 inquisitive minds across 60 countries, unlocking solutions to some of the world’s most critical challenges through consulting, projects, and operations solutions.

We partnered with Wood back in March 2020 to design and implement the “Leadership Excellence Programme”. Despite working together in partnership over many years, it was the first time meeting our partners in-person, making the day even more special.

We wanted to share some of the amazing insights, statistics and learning we gained from this joint initiative – that not only improved employee experience but also drove tangible strategic business outcomes.

Data is the secret to a tailored and impactful programme

The programme we designed with Wood was rooted in science, research, and data. For our first cohorts, over 60 individuals completed a Korn Ferry Assessment of Leadership Potential, an industry leading tool rooted in unrivalled research into the 20 factors that make an exceptional leader.

We identified key areas for development and developed high-quality modules based on these needs. We could have easily guessed what the population pool’s development needs were – like many programmes designers do – but by understanding our participants we created a personal learning experience that maximised returns on development.

What’s more, the participants could visualise their need for development, understand the science behind the programme, and this combined with the bespoke nature of the programme drove a really engaging experience – with participants rating the Programme on average an outstanding 4.7/5.

Involvement of stakeholders can be a learning experience for them as well

Getting senior leaders involved in talent strategy and succession planning is a catalyst for success. Through our Action Learning Groups, we involved key stakeholders throughout the process, giving the talent pipeline amazing visibility, exposure, and insight into the world of senior leadership at Wood.

This was also a learning experience for senior leaders. Not only were they able to gain invaluable insight into the working climate of Wood below the most senior levels, it became an exercise for them to practice their coaching skills. It became a two-way learning process, with participants learning from senior leaders, and senior leaders learning from participants.

Practice what you preach: be agile in both design and implementation

One of the key business-critical skills that we aimed to develop was the agility of our participants. Being able to continually adapt and respond to changing circumstances has often been called the organisational X-factor as those who can learn to be agile can face the challenges our VUCA world creates, in all its shapes and sizes.

We used a similar ethos in our design and implementation of the programme, using qualitative feedback to make sure the content was continually relevant to the participants. When people struggled with a topic, rather than “ticking a box” and moving onto the next one, we took the time to delve deeper into the topics to make sure everyone truly understood the learning and could put it into practice themselves.

Learning and Development and Succession Planning are Two Halves of the Same Whole

Identifying high potentials and understanding where their career may fit in the larger organisational picture is key to ensuring the long-term success of a company. Rather than lining individuals up for new roles and expecting them to adapt quickly, it is always best to equip them with the necessary skills so they have the greatest chance for instant success.

The skillset required for each stage of leadership is very different from the one before, and what made you excel at your previous job level may not aid – or sometimes even hinder – your ability to function at your new job.

As you mature in an organisation, leadership and management skills become more important than the technical skills that got you hired in the first place. It is therefore important to fuse learning and development with talent strategy to ensure your organisation is guaranteed to succeed.

And two takeaways from the day:

The Employee Experience is more valued than ever, Humans First, Employees Second

There was one emerging theme highlighted in every presentation we saw on the day, we are humans first, employees second. Given everything that has happened with Covid-19, the development of the hybrid-working world and the Great Resignation, employee experience is of more importance than ever before. Leading organisations will find a way to engage, develop, and look after their humans in a way that meets the challenges of a modern VUCA world.

Diversity and Inclusion remains a priority and a necessity for organisations world-wide

This should come as no surprise for all HR professionals or those with their finger on the pulse of societal development. Diversity and inclusion is being championed by leading HR teams in its many forms, from ethnicity, to gender, to diversity of thought. Creating an organisation where every individual can feel a strong sense of belonging is fundamental to the employee experience and to the long-term sustainability of the business.

Management Dynamics director Alison Grieve had this to say about the day:

“I was inspired by the breadth and quality of the different approaches to the challenges we all face. I am really proud of how we stood out and it was great to celebrate the impact of our programme on the individuals and the organisation.”


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