The Brief

An IT software company, operating in a highly competitive and fast moving market place, brought in Q. Learning in January 2016 to work to improve staff engagement and staff retention.

The Response

Q. Learning’s way of working with this company has been a unique and tailored combination of insourced interim leadership, consultancy and coaching. Initially, a Senior Q. Learning Consultant worked on site at HQ as a temporary member of the Executive Team in order to gain a deep understanding of the business and to be on hand to mobilise change quickly. As new frameworks and practices became embedded, and as leaders increasingly embraced and led the changes for themselves, the Q. Learning role shifted seamlessly into consultancy and coaching.

An initial diagnostic phase reviewed all aspects of the ‘psychological contract’ between the staff and the company. Q. Learning collected internal and external data on the salary market, attrition and performance. We designed and ran their first staff opinion survey, and listened hard to what staff and managers had to say through 1:1 meetings, focus groups and workshops.

Q. Learning’s honest and evidence-based feedback gave company executives some compelling facts about the external environment they were operating in, and also what their staff were thinking and feeling. We advised them how we saw these impacting on their business strategy, profitability and plans for growth.

Based on these reports and consultancy, a 12 month Staff Engagement Programme was created and designed to establish a new ‘pyschological contract’ with staff and build staff engagement. This programme developed leadership and management, strategic talent management & resource planning, reward and recognition, staff engagement and staff training. This was run as a proper project programme with clear objectives and outcome measures, a project plan and robust project governance.

Tailored leadership and management development has played a key role in this assignment. Q. Learning has led Executive Team Awaydays and Master Classes, and a middle manager development programme. We built this around our model of emotionally intelligent leadership. Leaders and managers have received 360-degree feedback and coaching for their own individual development plans, as well as tailored workshops and webinars on the challenges of creating an engaging and compelling narrative for staff, building rapport and engagement, and coaching and developing their staff.

The Outcome

Q. Learning has helped develop a new People Framework that means managers can match staff accurately to assignments and guide salary decisions, and has also provided a visible career structure for technical, fee-earning staff. We have supported detailed modelling of their current staff skills and capacity against a future desired state, and we are working towards producing a strategic talent strategy that will enable them to achieve their business objectives.

With our guidance, communication and staff engagement has increased significantly throughout the company. Managers spend more time talking and listening to staff, and speaking more confidently and inspirationally about their vision, and what this means for their people.  Staff now have a personal development plan as a result of both appraisal and training being improved.

And tangible business results have been achieved: costly attrition is down and company profits are up.

 Key Benefits of the Q. Learning Approach 

  • Listening hard, collecting facts and then speaking truth to empower decision-makers
  • Systemic thinking which connects the people issues to business strategy
  • Working as part of the team, providing a tailored blend of insourced leadership, consultancy and coaching
  • Developing emotionally intelligent leadership in a technological and engineering environment
  • Robust programme management delivering results on time and to budget