RDL worked with one of the top education and examination boards to develop a new approach to performance and talent management which was modern, forward-thinking and sustainable.
Prior to RDL’s intervention there was no clear differentiation, nor a clear method of managing performance. The client needed help to develop a system which deterred the idea that a job there was a job for life – this relatively out-dated system needed to be changed into something that was appraisal-based and encouraged high-performance in a sustainable way.
Our Approach to the Challenge
RDL first employed a Delphi research technique in order to systematically gauge employee attitudes and responses to a change in the performance management approach.
We then worked with the client’s Organisational Development team to develop an approach which appreciated the thoughts and opinions of staff. For example, staff believed that the new approach should encourage more strategic thinking, enabling them to focus on the broader business imperatives and be more proactive around their high priorities. It was also popular opinion that the approach to performance management should build a culture of driven people with ‘can do’ attitudes, raising the client’s “employer brand” as an organisation that invests in its people, in order to attract and retain the best talent available.
Also, part of the challenge was for employees to appreciate that this new approach was not a threat. In any organisational intervention there is a sense that system change will foster new, undesirable, ways of working or being treated. The Delphi research aimed to redress these potential feelings by giving staff an opportunity to have their say, responding to key questions.
- The client’s approach to performance and talent management now has three clear features: to be a lever for both cultural change and business success; to drive performance excellence based on the factors that bring out the best in people; and to focus on performance outcomes, behaviours and potential.
- The approach now takes a holistic view of performance and potential.
- There is now a cultural emphasis on positive reinforcement
- The initial Delphi research undertaken was revisited 18 months later and confirmed to be a robust and long-lasting study of trends in employee opinion.
RDL was commissioned to work with an NHS trust in December 2014 following a culture change across the NHS landscape in their approach to leadership. The Trust was embarking on an ambitious transformational agenda in changing the current divisional structure to a Triumvirate one in order to drive service excellence and position the Trust for a more sustainable future. The Trust lacked organisational development (OD) implementation and understood the need for ‘culture change’ as a necessary action but were without a plan. The Trustwere stuck with an ineffective leadership structure that involved lead roles with no real power.
The Head of OD worked closely with the Head of Transformation to set out clear targets for quality in a ‘Leadership and Change Development Framework’ within which they defined ‘excellent’ performance in terms of capabilities and behaviours to enable effective transformational change. In doing so, the need to assess the current leadership talent became apparent and the Trust were therefore seeking external support to design and deliver a Readiness Assessment Centre for Triumvirate Leaders in line with their change agenda and desired new leadership model.
Our Approach to the Challenge
RDL worked collaboratively with the Head of OD in designing and implementing the Readiness Centre. They refined the transformation agenda to tailor the needs of the centre and produced a robust behaviour framework for competencies in which individuals would be measured against. All 24 participants carried out a number of psychometric and ability tests prior to the centre from which RDL produced a tailored development report for each individual. Four centres took place over four days and consisted of a group exercise, role-play and written analytical task. Each exercise was designed to test specific styles and skills, aligned with the Trust’s competencies and Triumvirate role. Each day concluded with 1:1 feedback sessions that adopted a coaching approach, discussing their development reports. The session provided individuals with insight into their strengths and weaknesses in the context of the transformation agenda and triumvirate role. From this, a detailed development and career plan was devised based upon the original psychometric data report and reflections from the exercises throughout the day to ensure their strengths are maximised and their career is always actively progressing.
RDL were commissioned to work with a University Hospital Foundation Trust in June 2014, to run a Leadership Development programme with a group of 8 Health Visitors. The Trust’s aim was to invest more time and money in frontline staff and support them through personal development, enhance motivation and achieve the goals of their new model in line with the Department of Health’s call to action.
The Health Visitor role involves significant responsibility and an extensive task list. It is a job that can easily become overwhelming and this Trust wanted Health Visitors to feel valued and invested in. They also acknowledged the need for more integration of health services and an increased Health Visitor workforce, to reduce the pressure on HVs and allow more contact time for families. This would allow more time for the important child protection responsibilities of HVs and manage stress levels to prevent burn out. There had been a real focus on increasing and developing newly qualified HVs, however this University Hospital were keen to retain more experienced workers who are valued assets to the Trust by developing their clinical skills, leadership qualities and potential, and personal management and development.
Our Approach to the Challenge
RDL’s programme was workshop based and person centred, combining self-reflection, group exploration and problem solving with practical skills to apply back at work in-between sessions. Participants completed the Hogan Personality Inventory and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ahead of the programme, to assess their leadership style and approach and assist in formulating their personal development plans. Each participant received a 1:1 confidential coaching session with an experienced RDL coach, tailored to enhance self-insight and strengthen the understanding of the Trust’s gold standard. These sessions also including feedback on the HPI and MBTI assessments. Workshops were constructed to complement each other and move participants through a gradual development process, to build confidence, develop new skills and techniques, and release leadership potential.
- High involvement and motivation to develop
- Detailed and innovative plans for HV service improvement developed by each participant
- HVs made plans beyond the programme to meet regularly, support each other, initiate task and finish groups, and drive change forward
- Recognition of desire to do more and commit to doing more
This programme highlighted the importance of frontline interventions in large organisations, and valuing staff at every level for real, meaningful change to be implemented. Shortly after completion RDL were commissioned to implement the same programme with a second cohort of Health Visitors in 2015.
RDL were approached to deliver 4 career coaching sessions with an individual from April 2015 to September 2015 to help in her transition from the NHS into business consultancy. Sessions were to be focused around sorting her CV, gaining clarity around the career path she wants to move into and what she has to offer, and coaching on how to get started.
Our Approach to the Challenge
RDL’s approach was designed to be challenging and supportive in equal measure, and create space and time for the individual to focus on her unique challenges and develop style flexibility and confidence to overcome the barriers that were holding her back. Session 1 focused on the background context, the coaching goal and developing a “100 day plan” and starter vision. Session 2 looked at how to formulate the individual’s market proposition and key contacts, creating a “modern” CV, identifying personal development opportunities, and gathering information on the business she was moving in to. Session 3 focused on reviewing the psychometric results and focusing on strengths and areas to be mindful of that emerged from these. Networking tips and techniques were also looked at, along with the current dilemma the individual faced with leaving her work colleagues in a difficult period. Finally Session 4 focused on time management, reviewing her revised CV, a reminder of the goals set and progress made, particularly with self-confidence, and any outstanding matters to address.
Each session began with a review of progress made since the previous session, and ended with clear actions agreed.
RDL was commissioned to work with a specialist NHS Trust as it was undergoing a major transformation programme against an ambitious vision to provide world class specialist care and lead the way in integrated care. Despite its enviable strengths, the Trust had to address some significant challenges over the next 3 years to be financially sustainable and achieve Foundation Trust status. With a significant financial deficit, the need for Clinical service units to work closely with their corporate teams as “Business Partners” was identified as significant to turning around the position of the Trust. Clinical Service Unit Leaders were needed to work differently from the past with the Finance, Informatics, HR, Facilities and Estate Management teams.
To accelerate the pace of cultural transformation, the organisation was seeking to work with an OD Specialist to provide a capability programme for members of its senior leadership teams. This programme was to be a catalyst to embedding new ways of Corporate and Clinical teams working together.
Our Approach to the Challenge
RDL put together a core programme of high level Business Partnering skills to support and enable performance enhancing change. RDL sought to match these to the priorities of the Trust which was set out in its strategic transformational plan.
Initially, 16 senior members of staff were invited to attend a 6 module Leadership Programme from May 2015 – October 2015. The intervention was closely monitored and evaluated as implementation of improvements were made over the course of the programme. Participants received regular feedback on their impact and willingness to embrace the opportunity and shape the new way of working. There was a strong emphasis on taking the initiative and being part of a whole system change agenda. The programme also focused on learning into action to ensure that the skills and knowledge gained was being implemented back at the work place.
Overall the programme was well received. 100% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that their objectives for the programme were met and that they would recommend the programme to a colleague. As a result of the programme, participants have:
- Built up and are using network of colleagues which has led to issues being dealt with more collaboratively and at a quicker pace by cutting out “middle men” and ambiguity of where to find correct information – access to a richer source of information and talent
- Designed and implemented a sub-specialty period report to encourage all staff in Clinical units to take ownership of budgeting by helping to identify areas of overspending.
- Pitched to Financial Director to resource a business plan in becoming a national specialist centre which would eventually increase income for the organisation by being at the forefront of personalised healthcare
- Researched into areas that would save the organisation money and then built a project plan to act on the information found, such as; underutilisation of theatres
As a consultancy specialising in the psychological side of business and organisational development, we value the use of psychometrics alongside almost everything we do. Psychometric instruments provide insight into individuals that can often only be gained from years of close contact. They are not used to pre-empt judgement but rather to lay out the foundations and provide the direction to travel in to achieve an individual’s maximum potential.
In one recent example RDL worked with the Board of an Organisation who were struggling to develop strategically and achieve effective rhythm and communication to help their Organisation through a difficult time. Individuals on the Board all needed personal and team development to recognise the part they play and build a stronger performance platform to accelerate the Organisation forward.
Board members completed psychometric assessments and received their results back prior to their feedback session with RDL. One individual received his psychometric results and became very difficult to arrange feedback with. After a long time he eventually agreed to a session with our lead consultant. His psychometric results allowed our consultant to identify problem areas to address along with particular strengths to utilise more. For example the individual’s high level thinking and low interpersonal sensitivity allowed our consultant to identify and explain how his behaviour may be interpreted by others as “stand offish” and the impact that this can have in Board sessions.
Following the session the individual revealed he had already been sceptical about the use of psychometrics and felt an extremely negative reaction to his results which consequently led him to avoid feedback at all costs. He reported that the opportunity to gain insight into his results was extremely helpful and enabled him to fully appreciate the consequences of his actions and how his personality can directly affect his working environment. Since feedback the individual has consciously monitored his automatic behavioural reactions and made a conscious effort to develop himself as a more positive and approachable team member.
In many instances individuals may confuse technical competence in the job role with an ability to succeed in their career goals. It’s often the case that a lack of insight to their own interpersonal behaviour may frustrate their ambitions and cause them to be disappointed with the gap between their aspiration and the reality of life’s experience. Psychometrics can help shine a light on areas that the individual can work on and develop a lasting positive impact on their professional and personal effectiveness.