Every year, Seetec—one of the UK’s largest providers of government-funded employment and skills training programmes—helps thousands of people gain qualifications and find employment. Delivering a wide range of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Jobcentre Plus employment programmes, the company works closely with employers and partner organisations to empower individuals with the skills they need to move off benefits and into sustainable employment. With well-established roots in IT consultancy services, Seetec also supports employers with recruitment, training, and IT solutions, implementing customized, cutting-edge systems for businesses.
Helping individuals develop the skills they need to succeed—in life and work—is at the very heart of Seetec’s ethos. So creating a People Development Department in 2012 to focus on the training and development of the company’s own talented staff was a natural progression for this innovative organisation. Within a year, a learning culture was taking root and the department had created a multitude of learning and development interventions to ensure that staff had a clear career path and routes for internal promotion. One of these successful programmes was the Leadership Academy that uses The Leadership Challenge as the foundation for empowering Seetec staff with the essential skills of effective leadership.
Leadership Academy participants are nominated by Senior Management to attend The Leadership Challenge® Workshop—a two-day residential course where attendees have the opportunity to fully explore The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®. Prior to attending, participants, their line managers, direct reports, and co-workers complete the Leadership Practices®360 (LPI®360) feedback questionnaire. Upon arrival at the workshop, attendees are provided with a full 360 report that helps identify their areas of strengths and those that need improvement. The following two days consist of a series of sessions, supported by The Leadership Challenge book and companion workbook, that explore in-depth each of The Five Practices so that participants can really focus on steps they can take to more frequently practice the behaviours of exemplary leaders in order to become more effective leaders themselves.
Now into its second year, the structure of the Leadership Academy has expanded to include additional learning components (e.g., self-directed learning, a coaching course). Attendees follow up the two-day Leadership Challenge® Workshop with a management qualification component (L2-L7, relevant to the manager’s level) from the U.K.’s Chartered Management Institute. This additional course of study further supports The Leadership Challenge Practices and principles, and certifies participants as a qualified manager and leader. Going forward, attendees also receive continued support on their on-going leadership challenges and are encouraged to regularly put The Five Practices into action through email bulletins, coaching, mentoring and completion of reports where they recognise and record ways they have demonstrated a particular Practice.
The Leadership Academy initially offered Manager-level staff the opportunity to take charge of their development and help them reach their career goals while also helping Seetec ensure that talented individuals remained within the business. Now the programme reaches across the entire organization—from the initial group of junior managers to executives and members of the Board of Directors—to include all levels of leadership. The Leadership Academy’s structure currently looks like this:
Seven cohorts of 12 managers have attended the Leadership Academy to-date—that’s 84 managers at varying levels within the business! And feedback has been very positive, such as what one Spring Board participant wrote:
“Imagine this: Your life is great. Everything is moving along beautifully. Then, out of nowhere, something unexpected happens. As a result, you feel inspired, motivated, enthusiastic, creative, supported, understood and, ultimately, you feel brand new—all in two days. That’s what The Leadership Challenge did for me.”
The Leadership Academy has certainly delivered within its first year of implementation. Seetec has already seen a positive impact on the business and management retention rates have increased as program participants now feel supported and challenged and can see a clear career pathway. We hope to have all of our managers experience the Leadership Academy within the next year and look toward further embedding a culture of learning throughout the organisation.
To learn more about the Seetec Leadership Academy program, visit http://youtu.be/OewXgxrRy-w
Claire Maslan, AIEP, AlfL, is People Development Manager at Seetec where she oversees the management and delivery of all learning and development to members of the Seetec staff. Approaching every challenging task with positivity and enthusiasm, she has created high quality, successful learning interventions including workshops, online and distance learning. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seetec is a leading provider in the U.K. of Skills Funding Agency (SFA) and Apprenticeship training programmes, delivering a wide range of vocational qualifications and IT training to boost the skills of businesses and individuals. Celebrating 30 years in the industry, the company employs over 1,000 dedicated individuals.