May 13, 2015 in Events (live blogging), CIPD L&D Show 2015

Identifying and developing tomorrow’s leadership skills to drive business change

Frank Clayton (NG Bailey), Helena Moore (Bromford) – chaired by Peter Cheese (CIPD)

Helena Moore @HelenaJMoore opened by talking about how Bromford (a social enterprise) have been working with a futurist, and have been using this future thinking to influence their people strategy. In looking at the future, Helena explored the differences between generations looking at the breadth of generations in the workforce (veterans, baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y/Millennials, Generation Z/digital natives) suggesting that we’re not always that good at supporting veterans and Generation Z. Helena explored how automation is eliminating many roles at all levels, exploring how new lawn mowing technology can reduce the need for gardeners and how IBM’s Watson could even start to replace Board members!

Younger people (and everybody, I think) are looking for increased transparency from organisations, with Hubspot’s culture code being a great example of having a very visible culture. (Today, power is gained by sharing knowledge, not hoarding it)


There is also an increasing trend towards flexible working, and many more people are adopting portfolio careers. This means that we need to look for talent in a different way, e.g. looking for the right motivation, curiosity, engagement, determination, insight (Harvard Business Review, June 2014).

Bromford are seeking to tackle all this in the way they approach talent, and they’re focusing on (1) developing trust (2) resilience (3) developing different leadership styles (4) that you can still build a great culture with people located in different places (5) being multimedia communicators (6) building and managing networks (7) having a coaching culture (and helping people with their whole life, not just their work).

Frank Clayton (NG Bailey) started with an introduction to NG Bailey, ‘the UK’s leading independent engineering, IT and facilities services business’ with 2,500 employees and £400m turnover. Their annual investment in training is £3M, but that was traditionally skewed towards technical and compliance training, with not enough investment in ‘people’.

Their talent processes were used to be a complicated, convoluted process which was forced on the business with the end result that the business ended up ignoring it and doing their own thing, including creating a nine-box talent management grid! One of the problems with talent processes is that people’s assessment can sometimes be a result of somebody being ‘too nice’ which means that you might not have all of the talent that your talent list suggest. A lack of

NG Bailey reduced their talent management framework to three boxes: High-potential, talent, performing. They then undertook a project to look at what behaviours contributed to performance, benchmarking them against external benchmarks. They identified a high need for communicating information, providing leadership, adjusting to change, driving success.Medium need: Evaluating problems, giving support, creating innovation, investigating issues. The aim of the talent process is to support the business to have informed, structured conversations about talent. One of their key ways to support this is by making sure that leaders know what good looks like (by being clear on what behaviours they need), how high-potential is defined, the stages of the talent journey, and the available programmes to help (which all have a big focus on feedback and coaching).

This new talent process has resulted in a talent pipeline, with one consistent view of the pipeline (validated by and owned by the business).


(This was live-blogged during a session at the CIPD L&D show 2015 – I’ve tried to capture a faithful summary of the highlights for me but my own bias, views – and the odd typo – might well creep in.)