We strengthen your business through enabling your people

Focus on your business strategy, you can’t please every market

The business market is a vast ocean with new ideas and opportunities emerging every second like tides. It is rather impossible to please every sector of the market. The growth of your business depends on the internal business strategies and target customers, and not on the competition in the market.

Save Time

Save your valuable time by making use of short-cuts and contemporary technologies discovered to ease the stress on business people

Stay Organized

Organization of meetings, staff and office, to name a few are some of the most crucial ways to keep track of the business whereabouts.

Drive Revenue

Concentrating on the products and services to be delivered, rather than the other similar businesses in the market, is the best strategy to drive revenue.

Grow Your Company From Within

Any external growth seeds from internal ones. Build your team of people and employees who are willing to thrive for the betterment of the company.

Strategy And Mission

A good strategy, mission and goal can surpass intelligence and hard work.

Knowledge

Knowledge is power – hence possessing knowledge about the business and business market is essential in surviving.

People

Do not be a people pleaser – if your products and services are good enough, people will be pleased anyway.

Use Training And Development Strategically

The strategy for training and development plays a crucial role in building a business

Latest Updates

The true cost of cutting your training budget

Mark-EagleWe all know businesses are operating in tough economic times; no doubt you’re tired of hearing it. But regardless of that much-played out fact, research we undertook earlier this year suggested that, for many organisations, L&D budgets are actually on the move (and in the right direction, too). 30% said their L&D budget would increase, while 50% said it would remain stable, meaning only a fifth of those surveyed were expecting their budget to actually shrink. When it came to successful implementation of L&D, however, budget constraint was still cited as the primary hurdle.

Clearly there is some headway still to be made, then, when it comes to the perceived value of impactful learning. When lowering costs is a key priority, L&D budgets have historically been one of the first areas to take the hit. The justification is, always, that L&D is not one of the most business-critical costs, and therefore not an essential cost. That logic is fundamentally flawed, though. It is during the lean times that you need your teams to be at their most productive. The right L&D, delivered in the right way, can, and should, drive performance, from an individual right up to an organisational level. The answer to whether L&D is business critical, then, is ‘very much so.’

L&D should be an integral part of your overall business strategy, not simply a dispensable side-project. In fact, not investing enough into the development of your people could do more harm than good. Let’s take a look at the true cost of cutting your training budget.

A drop in productivity

L&D has been proven to boost productivity. By cutting your training budget you are making a quick saving. What you are losing however, is the benefit of having your people being as effective as possible in their roles. The effect of that loss varies depending on the level, and specific job role, of the employees in questions. Cut back on sales training, for example, and you may not realise the full potential revenue that those teams could be bringing in. Cut back on customer service training, and your customer satisfaction scores could drop, which ultimately reflects your brand and company reputation. Reduce IT training, and the efficiency with which people work may decline.

When profits are strained and costs need to be cut, people tend to make the mistake of thinking training is an expense that can be cut without having to worry about ‘business as usual’ being affected. But this approach is counterproductive. By improving productivity, the right L&D can actually have a direct impact on the bottom line of your business.

An increase in staff turnover (and what that costs)

Training your staff not only shows that you value them – because you’re willing to invest time and money into their development – but it also makes them feel positive about their future in the business. Positive, optimistic and motivated workers are far less likely to leave than those who feel undervalued, or simply at a dead end. They are also likely to perform better. Neglect to invest in people’s development and you run the risk of not only staff who are not working at full productivity, but also of losing them altogether.

Is staff turnover such a worry, though? The answer is, of course, yes. Research published earlier this year by global forecasting firm Oxford Economics showed that staff turnover costs the UK economy at least £4.13bn each year. That figure is undeniably huge. Let’s take a look at how it is broken down.

Logistics

For every new hire, there are generally advertising and recruitment agency costs involved. The average figure for those two combined? £5,433. And that is before the person has even started.

Wages during period of low productivity

Whatever your role, we all know that there’s a period of time from your start date during which you don’t fully know what you’re doing. That length of time obviously varies depending on the role, the organisation, and how much time you need in order to get up to speed, but according to Oxford Economics’ research, the average time it takes to reach optimum productivity is 28 weeks. The average cost in wages, therefore, comes to £25,182.

The total amount of money a business needs to spend, then, on average, before a new employee is able to contribute to the success of the organisation, is a staggering £30,615. That certainly puts the price of developing existing talent into perspective, and should, perhaps, make employers think twice before thinking of L&D only as a cost.

If you have to cut down, try coaching

If you really do need to cut your training budget, look at ways you can save on costs but still deliver effective learning rather than simply removing L&D from your strategy altogether. In the CIPD Learning and Development survey undertaken earlier this year, respondents were asked which talent management activities had the biggest impact in their experience. 46% said coaching – the top result by some distance.

Coaching not only creates an environment in which staff take ownership of their own development, but it also helps pinpoint specific training needs, which means any L&D investment will be better targeted and, ultimately, money better spent. In a financially tight environment, this approach enables you to continue developing your people effectively without incurring large costs.

L&D as a strategic business tool

The driving point here is that L&D – provided it is done in the right way and following thorough consultation – is much more than simply an extra cost, and it is dangerous to think that you can cut back on its implementation without having an impact on the business. Even if you don’t believe that cutting your training budget would actually have a negative impact, you would still be missing out on the significant positive impact that L&D could bring.

With its ability to boost productivity, improve employee engagement and turnover and ultimately have a positive impact on your organisation’s bottom line, L&D should be a key part of your overall strategy. The decision to cut it from your budget, therefore, should be taken as seriously as any other business function.

Mark Eagle is a Management and Leadership L&D Consultant at Thales Learning & Development. Having spent time training large teams for big businesses such as Virgin Atlantic and BUPA, Mark is now responsible for delivering TLD’s suite of management and leadership programmes.

Project Management – it’s not just for the construction or IT industries

Project-Management-Blog-ImageOver the last decade or so the project management profession has evolved as projects have become a more significant part of organisations in our complex and fast-changing business environments. Regardless of the industry sector, project management is a useful discipline to employ whenever an organisation needs to look at implementing, improving or developing a solution to identified needs.

Project management started to be used in the 1960’s as businesses began to recognise the benefits of planning work activities more thoroughly, communicating more effectively and collaborating with different departments and companies. Projects were typically time bound and had a beginning a middle and an end. Nowadays, although many projects still adhere to this definition, many others are on-going and cyclical in their nature.

Project management has been used widely in the construction industry where it has been proved beneficial to have a project team that is specifically focused on understanding customer requirements and can, therefore, deliver on those requirements within an agreed upon budget and timescale.

However, project management is equally advantageous within other sectors, such as services, to manage very large, complex projects which encompass the integration of multiple work products.

Some of the most project intensive sectors such as manufacturing and construction have discovered that using approaches such as PRINCE2® and tools such as Primavera, combined with the professional competence frameworks supported by qualifications from the Association for Project Management (APM) have been massively beneficial in a variety of business environments. For an introduction to Primavera, read the first issue of Enhance magazine from Thales L&D.

Latest research conducted by the Project Management Institute (PMI) estimates that 15.7 million project management positions will have been created worldwide before the end of this decade. It cites the seven highest project-intensive industries as: construction, finance, insurance, information systems, utilities, oil & gas and manufacturing. Clearly project management is an integral part of most business operations, and is becoming more prevalent within the service industry.

The benefits of great project management are numerous but organisations who fail to develop exceptional project managers are putting themselves at a disadvantage. Project management is serious profession that needs a professional approach to managing and delivering projects and this can only be achieved by delivering a programme of continuous development.

Thales Learning & Development provides a range of state of the art project management courses including accredited PRINCE2®, APM training and Primavera courses. These courses are designed to get you up to speed with the latest industry thinking and equip you the highest level of skill in order to turbo boost your project management career. Please call us on 0800 138 7640 for more information.

A Guide to Graduate Development

Hiring graduates can be an incredibly worthwhile investment. They are an ideal resource for organisations looking to grow their talent pool, bring in new skills and innovative ideas, and work towards future proofing their business. However, attracting, identifying and retaining high quality graduate candidates can be a difficult thing to achieve. But with the right strategies in place it is far from impossible, and once you get it right, the positive outcomes are certainly worth it.

This guide will explore the numerous benefits of hiring graduates, and help identify the most effective strategies to ensure your graduate recruitment and development schemes are successful and beneficial for all involved.

You’ll learn:

  • Why graduates are worth hiring, and some of the potential problems you may face
  • What steps to take to attract the right candidates for your organisation
  • How to identify the best people during the recruitment stage
  • The steps you need to take to develop your graduates for maximum effectiveness
  • How to ensure the long term success of your graduates

Click read to open the TL&D guide in your browser and feel free to download and save for a future date. We’ll be uploading more each month, so make sure you check back for the next in our series!

7 Engineering Wonders of the World – Infographic

In the relatively short space of time that people have populated the world, we have gone from living in caves and breaking into our dinner with a sharpened stone to creating things so vast and powerful they would make our stone-wielding ancestors’ jaws drop.

Engineering – and with it: effective project management – has been at the forefront of many of the greatest human achievements in history, from the pyramids of Ancient Egypt to the huge and highly complex structures being built across the world today.

We created this infographic not only to highlight seven of the world’s engineering wonders, but also to show you some of the incredible challenges each of them posed from a project management point of view (the most expensive project cost $26 billion, and the lengthiest lasted 33 years!).

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Coaching Salespeople to Success

Research has shown that companies with a strong coaching culture enjoy higher engagement levels, better retention rates and increased revenue. By asking team members the right questions, and helping them come up with the answers themselves, you empower them to be more productive and effective.

We created this guide as a way to highlight some of the benefits of taking a coaching approach with your salespeople, and to provide practical advice as to how you can apply coaching as a management tool.

In this how-to guide, you’ll learn:

  • What coaching is and why it is effective
  • The different types of sales coaching
  • The common barriers to coaching salespeople and how to overcome them
  • How to use the GROW coaching model
  • 10 powerful sales coaching questions using the GROW model
  • The OUTCOMES coaching model

Click read to open the guide in your browser and feel free to download and save for a future date. We’ll be uploading more each month, so make sure you check back for the next in our series here at TL&D!

How to be the Ultimate Leader – Infographic

As a business, regardless of the industry you work in or the size of your operation, people are, and always will be, the most valuable asset you have.

To fully unlock the potential of your staff, however, you need great leaders – confident, visionary people who are able to inspire brilliance and bring the best out of raw talent.

But a worryingly large number of organisations are simply not able to fulfil leadership requirements, with 60% reporting a shortage of leadership talent and only 36% feeling prepared to fill vacancies at this level.

Why is it so hard to attract and develop excellent leaders? Are they really that rare? Perhaps the underlying problem is a lack of understanding when it comes to what an effective leader actually looks like – the traits they possess which enable them to spark success in those who work for them.

Whether you are an individual looking to develop your own leadership capability, or a business in need of strong talent at the top, this infographic shows you seven powerful traits that every great leader should have. Visit Insight Hub, our dedicated section containing all our useful Guides, White Papers and Insights.

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Leaders Eat Last – Infographic

When it comes to the subject of leadership, advice is a dime a dozen. There is an endless sea of books, blog posts, and self-help speeches that purport to teach leaders how to make their teams succeed. Yet few pause to consider the most important question of all: What is a leader? In his landmark book, Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek answers this crucial and complex question.

In an argument that draws upon psychology, biology, and real world case studies, Sinek concludes that mutual trust is the cornerstone of all successful organisations. He demonstrates how managers and executives can inspire workers to reach maximum potential by fulfilling their side of a fundamental social contract—a contract whose rules have been hard-wired into our bodies and minds via countless years of evolutionary necessity.

But in a modern business world where executive’s all-too-often sacrifice the welfare of workers for their own personal benefit, true leaders are in short supply. As a result, many employees simply aren’t motivated to help their companies succeed. In 2012, 56% of corporate failures were linked to poor management. Meanwhile, 30% of workers in the UK are dissatisfied with their jobs, and companies are suffering from a steady loss of productivity. Clearly, we need better leadership.

Based on Sinek’s research, this infographic charts a course for would-be leaders to follow. What you find here will probably surprise you, because it turns out that many traditional corporate practices actually undermine the physiological effects that fuel passion amongst employees.

So read on to learn how companies like Google build phenomenal teams within unconventional workplaces, while rigid corporate offices stifle innovation and tear apart teams with their unnatural infrastructures. By orienting your working habits to reflect the values and biological needs that motivate us, you can transform your business into a powerful social organism—one in which enthusiastic employees work together to overcome challenges. When leaders eat last, everyone eats better.

See Enhance for our guide to creating an unconventional learning space that works for your business.

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Five common challenges in leadership development

Matt-DriscollWhen it comes to L&D, there seems to be a big focus this year on the development of leadership talent. 61% of L&D influencers and decision makers we surveyed earlier in 2014 cited management and leadership as their top priority. Another major talent management organisation undertook recent research that found only 14% of organisations have confidence in their leadership talent pipeline to be able to meet their needs. It is fairly easy to see, then, why many firms are turning their L&D focus to the top.

Developing leaders poses a number of unique challenges, however. It is an area in which many organisations – with all the best intentions – often fall down on. The variety of different types of leaders is vast, and each individual leader is a complex person in his or her own right. It is important to understand what the common challenges are, why they exist, and how you can overcome them.

1. Distinguishing between managers and leaders

You often hear people talk about managers and leaders interchangeably. Both – when competent – are of great value to the organisations they work for. But while there are obvious similarities between the two roles, there are also some key characteristics that firmly distinguish them. Management is more about implementation and control. Yes, managers may be responsible for people, but their role revolves more around making sure their teams are able to complete their jobs and achieve their goals. Leaders, on the other hand, are responsible for inspiring and innovating, and coming up with the ideas that will drive the business forward. In short: leaders create the vision; managers, through people, make it happen.

If you are trying to develop leadership capabilities within your own organisation, it is important to understand these differences. Firstly – because you want to ensure that any learning intervention is properly structured and targeted to develop the right behaviours and skillsets. Secondly – because you want to target the right people within your organisation, i.e. those who are leaders, not managers. If you don’t target the right learning at the right people, then your intervention could be doomed from the start.

2. Achieving context

When it comes to L&D, one size definitely does not fit all. If you assume that all leaders – regardless of individual context – will benefit from the same type of development, then you will almost certainly be disappointed with the outcome. There may well be a set of common traits that successful leaders have, but simply taking that entire list and applying it to somebody isn’t going to work. Instead, take the person as the individual they are. Look at their existing skills, and then work out the specific competencies which would better enable them to meet the objectives that matter to your business.

If, for example, your business is going through a period of significant change, then your investment would be best placed developing the competencies in your leaders which would enable them to effectively lead people through that change. If, on the other hand, a lack of motivation among staff is an issue, then the ability to inspire and persuade would be good leadership traits to develop. Not all leadership skills are going to be relevant for your culture, your business, and its specific situation. Pinpoint the ones that are, and then do whatever it takes to create them in abundance.

3. Connecting the learning to their day job

When you are dealing with people at the height of their careers, in strategic leadership positions, it is not enough to simply deliver theory and expect it to have a significant impact on performance. The learning needs to be fully tied in with the learner’s working role, and personalised in a way that will enable them to go back to work and immediately be more productive or effective, or exhibit a change in behaviour, as a direct result of that intervention.

One way to achieve this could be through peer coaching – enabling leaders to talk through real business problems with each other and get practical advice on how to solve them. You could also work with the leaders to build a specific set of actions around their day-to-day tasks and objectives, or any important upcoming projects that will enable them to better achieve those objectives or lead those projects to completion. This is a much more practical and relevant alternative to simply demonstrating methodology through case studies.

Whatever you do, you must create an environment in which the leaders take responsibility for their own development. You can facilitate the link between the learning and their job, but they need to make that connection themselves.

4. Adapting to learning styles

The level at which you are delivering learning doesn’t matter – people have varying learning styles, and the L&D you implement needs to properly reflect those individual differences. When you are dealing with senior leaders who have, more often than not, been working and learning for many years, their individual learning style is even more likely to be steadfastly embedded.

This really ties in once again with moving away from the ‘one size fits all’ mentality – something which is more important than ever for successful L&D delivery, when the return on investment, or return on expectation, of learning activity is being carefully, and increasingly, measured. If you don’t adapt to the learning styles of the leaders you are trying to develop, you reduce the chance of having an impact.

5. Measuring impact

If you are not measuring the effect that your leadership development is having, how do you know your time and money is being well spent? Similarly, how can you expect to hone any intervention for maximum impact if you have no idea whether it is already working or not?

Measuring the impact of any L&D intervention can be challenging. Regardless of the tools or processes you use to measure it, though, leadership development should begin by looking at where the leader is in relation to the level of skill and knowledge required to lead within your organisation, and where they need to be. Then, you can track progress before, during, and after the learning to ensure that the intervention is on target to meet that need.

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These are just some of the more common challenges faced when developing leaders. But every business is different, and every leader is a unique individual, so the challenges you come up against in your organisation may differ slightly. We would be really interested to hear about your own unique experiences in developing leaders, any challenges you faced, and how you overcame them.

Matt Driscoll is a management and leadership L&D consultant at Thales Learning & Development. With over 13 years’ experience in the L&D field, in a wide range of industries and organisations, including BUPA and AXA Assistance, Matt specialises in helping people develop their untapped potential through coaching and learning interventions.

Making a business case for Learning & Development

HR and L&D managers are increasingly seeing the impact that effective learning and development can bring to their organisation, particularly when the L&D strategy is fully aligned with that of the wider business (as it should be).

Our research earlier this year, however, found that budget constraint is still the most prominent hurdle when it comes to delivering L&D. Organisational buy-in also came out high, which suggests that not everyone in a business understands the true value of L&D.

Clearly there is a common difficulty being faced among L&D owners in terms of securing financial investment and business approval for learning.

Inside this guide we cover:

  • Intro
  • Explaining why L&D is a smart business choice
  • Qualifying/quantifying the value of L&D
  • The five key steps to a successful L&D proposal
  • 10 questions you need to answer ‘yes’ to
  • Contact us for further advice

Click read to open the guide in your browser and feel free to download to save for a future date. We’ll be uploading more each month so make sure you check back for the next in our series!

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