The senior leadership team at A J Bell wished to create a talent management framework to assist them with identifying and developing the top performers in their organisation.  They are an innovative investment broker and wanted to be able to attract and retain top talent.

They did not have a formal talent management plan or an existing competency framework so were keen to create something that fitted with their values as an organisation whilst recognising that they were a growing business.  They were concerned that creating a formal system would stifle the creativity and drive in their business but also recognised that there was a need to create a process that was objective and robust.  Struggling with how to balance their desire to retain their culture along with the recognition that more formality was required, they went out to the market to find a consultant who could respond to their brief.  Following a series of meetings and presentations about how I would approach this project, I was invited to take on the project in partnership with their senior HR and L&D teams.

We worked together to develop a competency framework that reflected all grades in the organisation, through consultation with senior management about what “good” looked like in A J Bell.  Following a variety of iterations, a final version of the competency framework was agreed upon.  This was simple and easy to use, reflecting the desire for simplicity and action.  Following this, I then worked with the HR team to create a sensible, light touch talent management process that enabled managers to reflect the values of the organisation and its fast moving pace, whilst offering more objectivity and rationale for why someone was chosen to be part of the talent programme.

Once the talent management process was agreed and in use, I was asked to return to A J Bell to assist them in designing and delivering a series of development centres to enable Team Leaders and Managers identified as being part of the talent pool to progress to the next level.  The HR and L&D teams were keen that these workshops should be testing but also developmental and that all participants should feel supported through the process.  They were concerned that the workshops should reflect real life situations in the business and also involve senior members of the management team as assessors.  We designed a one day programme for each level of employee involving a mixture of interviews, group activities, presentations, psychometrics and creative activities.  These were designed to be testing but also enjoyable.  Each participant received a one to one coaching session discussing their DiSC profile and outcomes from the centre and then received a personalised development plan.  This was a significant undertaking the for HR and L&D teams but they were absolutely committed to the idea of participants receiving detailed feedback and development after the centre.

I designed all the materials for the workshops, conducted a train the trainer with the internal HR and L&D teams and then ran the initial workshops in partnership with the internal teams.  We had great input and support from senior management and each day 6 members of the leadership team attended the workshops to act as mentors and assessors.

This approach ensured that the workshops were a valuable exercise for all involved and gave senior leadership great visibility of the top talent in the organisation.  Creating the competency model and then basing the workshop on this meant that top talent are developing the skills that are required in the organisation.  Ensuring that all participants felt supported through the process meant that they took a lot from the process and recommended the workshop to others, creating demand and excitement about the process.  Creating a full set of materials for the workshop meant that it is sustainable and can now be delivered in house.

(link to recommendation for this work on LinkedIn – this is the content of the review from Jo James)

“We engaged Susanne to work with AJ Bell in 2017 to assist us with development of our talent management framework. Susanne’s strength is in her ability to know exactly what she is talking about in terms of subject matter and be able to work closely and effectively with us to deliver the outcome we were looking for. We have now successfully rolled out and are in the process of embedding the framework to our business areas and it has been received extremely well by management and participants alike. I have no hesitation in recommending Susanne!”