A practical insight.
Optimising the development of management personnel
- Optimisation of the processes and the programmes for developing management personnel at one of the largest German insurance companies
- Conceptual integration of the three career paths – expert, project and management careers
- Structured project process that implements the strategic requirements of the management team and provides for practical and workable solutions that will find acceptance amongst all other stakeholders
- As a result: A higher level of transparency due to the concise programme descriptions for the different target groups, as well as increased efficiency and clear improvements in quality due to a checklist type process documentation based on those used in cockpit checks by pilots.
The project task set by one of our customers, one of the top three insurance companies in Germany, was to describe, systematise and optimise the processes and programmes for developing management personnel – from the programme for employees with potential but with no management experience through to a management development programme for management personnel at the second reporting level. In the process, the special focus was the conceptual integration of career paths for experts, project leaders and management personnel.
Following an intensive analysis of the existing programme descriptions and process documentation, we ascertained the current situation of the individual sub-processes using one-on-one interviews with (internal) key account managers and those responsible for the programmes. Based on these process descriptions, we entered into dialogue about the details of the programmes and processes with those responsible for the programme. This enabled us to identify optimisation potential within the individual work processes and deliver suggestions for improving the input/output relationship in the different management personnel development programmes. The new processes and changes to the programmes approved by the company management were then subsequently rolled out and implemented in the management development team.
The result is that the various target groups in the company now have concise and precise descriptions of the management personnel development programmes and a “cockpit” checklist for the management personnel developers, which is broken down into the individual work processes behind the programme. Throughout the jointly completed project, a variety of potential methods for improving efficiency were identified and improvements in quality achieved. The “cockpit checklist for the development of management personnel” today represents the basis for the planning of the management personnel development programmes in terms of timing and enables those management developers involved to also make robust assessments about the amount of work involved.
Strategic competence management
- Development of a company-wide competency model, which aligned the HR tools and processes to the corporate vision
- Top-down inventory of the future strategic ideas from top management
- Bottom-up integration of employee perspectives on features of the company to promote acceptance
- Current status: Five clearly defined and institutionalised fields of competence form the basis for all HR activities
The task set by one of our customers, an IT consultancy company and end-to-end service provider with a focus on the tourism industry, was to underpin the existing vision of the company with a competency model to enable a strategic, sustainable orientation of the work carried out in the area of HR.
We resolved this challenge with both a top-down and a bottom-up approach in order, on the one hand, to – naturally – integrate the management’s ideas about the company's future strategic goals from the top down and depict them in the competency model; on the other hand, to also include and integrate into the model the views and internal features of the company from the perspective of employees from the bottom up – and thus to promote acceptance. Based on this idea, we developed a project approach and a process that was split into three clear project steps:
- Analysis phase
Analysis of the existing tools, for example job descriptions, as well as the completion of partially structured interviews with the managing directors and the heads of the business units, numerous middle management staff and selected employees from all sections of the company.
- Concept phase
Consolidation of the results from the analysis phase, creation of a rough draft and the discussion, as well as the refinement, of this rough concept in various workshops including management personnel and employees of the company.
- Realisation phase
Decision about the fundamental concept by the management team and the creative implementation of the competency model with the cooperation of an agency. Communicating changes throughout the entire project, particularly following the management decision to “officially” introduce the competency model.
The result was that the competency model represented a clearly formulated and versatile compendium: Five clearly formulated fields of competency were split into three partial competencies each, which were clarified using behavioural anchors.
In a variety of workshops and from feedback received from management personnel and employees, it became clear that the new competency model had achieved a high level of recognition, identification and acceptance. In practice, the competency model currently forms, for example, the basis for internal talent management activities, particularly when it comes to the identification and selection process for talent in the three career paths at the company – experts, project and management careers – and the programme for promoting employees based upon it. Further integration steps are currently being planned or already being practically implemented.
Sustainable team development processes
- Analysis of the performance of a finance & controlling team in the health care sector using the “360 degree inventory” from managerberater
- Multi-level approach – based on the inventory – for developing measures and safeguarding the implementation planning
- Consideration of both the “hard” factors of team performance (e.g. team results and work processes) and also the “soft” factors (e.g. working atmosphere)
- Success factor: Sustaining the status achieved after implementation will provide the foundations for high-quality team performance
One of our clients – an IT consultancy and end-to-end service provider with touristic scope – asked us to attribute its existing vision with a competency model in order to achieve a sustainable orientation of the company’s HR department.
Our suggested solution for the project task was a multi-level approach. The core of the concept was a “360 degree inventory”, which enabled a transparent analysis of the team and provided the starting point for the workshop activities, as well as the resulting planning measures at the end.
After an intensive clarification process about the assignment with the responsible division manager and HR department, we followed the activities of the finance department for around 4 months using our process moderation service. The following sub-steps were central components of this approach:
The individual project steps consisted at their core of the following goals and tasks:
- Kick off for team development: Half-day workshop to explain the goals and processes in a transparent way and obtain a clear commitment from the team members
- “360 degree inventory”: Analysis of the current performance of the team through the structured collection of data in the form of a questionnaire on important team criteria such as the internal distribution and burden of tasks in teams, the individual motivation of every individual, leadership (experience), work processes in teams and the level of cohesion, teamwork and communication as perceived by the individual team members.
- Team workshop: One-day workshop, which began with a presentation of the results from the evaluated questionnaires in the form of a poster gallery. This was followed by an intensive interpretation and discussion of the results, as well as the development of an action plan with concrete implementation steps.
- Review workshops: Completion of two half-day workshops around three weeks apart with the goal of securing the agreed measures and anchoring these agreements in the daily routine.
In the form of the jointly developed action plan, the finance team defined a variety of clearly outlined measures with a concrete timeline for themselves. The review workshops have demonstrated how important it is to reassess the implementation status after certain intervals. It was possible to immediately tick off some measures during the review workshops, while some were reprioritised and some had to be discussed and agreed again. The bottom line was that the team nevertheless managed – according to the responsible management personnel – to raise their teamwork to a new level of much higher quality.
- Optimisation of internal processes with the direct involvement of employees
- Goal: improved organisation of processes and higher customer and sales orientation of employees
- Success factor: Direct involvement of employees leads to higher levels of acceptance and identification
- One of the central goals for companies in the real estate sector is the sustainably successful and profit-based management of properties.
- The task for our process consultancy and support services was the optimisation of internal processes with the goal of improving their organisation, as well as to improve the focus of employees towards customers and sales in order to avoid vacant properties.
The implementation of our process support followed an intensive discussion phase within the management team about the level of the desired participation from employees and the role of superiors. One of the central issues at the beginning was whether and to what extent optimisations developed by the employees themselves would be the correct way forward – or whether an approach based on given guidelines should be used. In the end, we were able to agree on a bottom-up approach.
Two-day event with all employees and the management of the business areas; explanations by those responsible about the background, visions and objective of the event and description of the timeframe with the most important milestones
- Workshop series
Employees from different departments worked through the identified themes. The cross-departmental composition proved to be advantageous in integrating the direct specialist perspectives into the creation of the possible solutions
- Consolidation and presentation of the results
Direct participation gave the employees the scope to contribute their comprehensive specialist expertise to the description of the process activities. As a result of the integration of the employees, a high level of acceptance and identification with the developed procedural instructions was generated within their own ranks.
The results achieved since the beginning of the project provide impressive testimony to our approach for optimising processes. The following intermediate results were specifically achieved: significant reduction in internal errors in the quality of written documentation, less time spent on internal corrections and approvals and significant reduction in throughput times. This created important foundations for improved orientation towards customers and sales and reduced the number of vacancies.