Creating Experiences that Energise Leadership and Boost Engagement
A major global financial organisation, which provides commercial banking services for every size of enterprise from sole traders up to large corporates, was keen to increase levels of employee engagement.
They approached a number of Learning and Development Consultancies and asked them to share ideas on how they would create an engaging environment that would address the need and enliven the Leadership population. OnTrack was included in this shortlist through recommendations.
What We Delivered
We created, in partnership with the client, a two-day experience that was continually referenced and themed along the lines of ‘Engage’. We delivered it to groups of around 50 managers at a time and in total, over 600 senior leaders attended. It was then felt that those immediately above them, a further 60 Leadership team members, should also be included in the programme to help drive this from the very top.
The event featured conversations between the delegates themselves, interspersed with tips, ideas and suggestions from our facilitator, on how to improve staff engagement. We also had an inspiring talk by Ann Daniels, the first woman to reach both the North Pole and South Pole on skis, as part of an all-woman team.
One of the Commercial Banking Heads opened the sessions and a small group of their colleagues took part in panel discussion, answering questions about key issues facing Leaders today. In the evening, they also hosted a more informal 90-minute session on the top floor of the Bank’s headquarters. Attendees sat on sofas or armchairs for a very frank and open discussion about the challenges everyone was facing, what kind of support they were looking for and how they could each become better Leaders.
Many of the sessions involved discussions about how Leaders could best develop members of their teams. We referred them to the online resources available through their own learning hub, including the Myriad Short Key Skills videos OnTrack had created for this platform. So, although the two-day experience was conducted face to face, it encouraged the use of their digital resources to create a real blended solution.
The Challenges We Overcame
The objective was not just to put on an impressive event, but to do so in a way that created meaningful cultural change. This meant overcoming three challenges. As the OnTrack lead facilitator of these experiences, explains;
“Firstly, we had to establish the credibility of the programme and get everyone to take it seriously. We knew that people would probably arrive with a “here we go, another training session attitude” and that we had to swiftly shake them out of this. Secondly, we had to make people realise that we were talking directly to them…rather than to the person sat next to them! Finally, we wanted to head off the idea that “my boss needs to hear this” – which is why we included the Senior Leadership Team.”
Kevin Johnson, CEO of OnTrack
The involvement of those at the very top was hugely beneficial – it impressed upon attendees, that this was something the business took very seriously. OnTrack’s unique approach also played a big part – it was why we were appointed and why the results were so good. “We don’t use typical trainers or facilitators who learn a script,” Kevin explains.
“Our team are selected from those who have been there, done it and got the war stories to prove it. We’re very good at swiftly building a relationship with the audience and taking them on an emotional journey – we make them laugh, and cry, it’s fun but it’s also very direct, hard hitting and to the point.”
“Having said that,” Kevin continues, “because our people have led teams, they can say ‘this is what I discovered when I had to tackle this one myself’. They can provide insights and nuances that other trainers can’t – excellence is not about making dramatic changes but about subtle refinements and perceptive judgements. That’s why huge corporations like this hire us.”
Immediate feedback was hugely positive:
93% of all attendees either said it was the best event they’d ever attended or described it as “exceptional”.
Even more gratifying, engagement scores for the client’s Commercial Banking Division in the UK have improved rapidly and the business outperformed every other area of the UK and global organisation, in this regard.
These impressive results encouraged the Client to add a second phase. Every Manager who attended the first sessions was invited back six months later for a one-day event on ‘How to Support the Wellbeing of their Team Members’.
At these sessions, we reviewed the success of phase one, with members of the Executive Committee reporting on progress. Doctor William Bird MBE, an advisor to Public Health England and the World Health Organisation, spoke about the benefits of getting people to become more mobile. We then gave the audience some ideas and tools about how best get their people thinking seriously about things they could do to improve their wellbeing. Phase two got rave reviews again and we’re currently planning phase three, which will be all about how Leaders engage across different areas of the business and help each other succeed.
The programme has been such a terrific success story, that two other areas of the organisation, outside of the Commercial Bank have asked us to look at creating a similar experience. The plan is to include every single one of their Branch Managers around the world who have been in the position for one to two years.
How we can help
For many organisations, developing highly successful leadership teams can be a tricky task. Simply putting talented individuals together does not always deliver the best results. Our unique leadership development training courses help to motivate under-performing teams, empower them to go further and optimise their performance.
To learn more, speak to one of our expert learning and development consultants today.