Future Leaders: Developing Graduates into Managers

future leaders

Are you interested in developing future leaders. in your organisation?  Then maybe you’ll be interested in my experience of developing future leaders for the Business Process Management (BPM) division of Accenture UK

The BPM division was responsible for providing outsourced IT services to a wide range of clients from BP in Aberdeen to the Stock Exchange in the City of London.  With a total headcount of around 800 employees, graduates represented a significant part of the talent pool and source of future leaders for a growing organisation.  The division recruited 25 to 30 graduates each year.  The graduates had good degrees and strong technology skills.  They were placed in high pressure “stretch” roles in different locations around the UK to develop their industry knowledge and skills.   The challenge was to develop them into managers over a three-year period with a Graduate Development Programme (GDP).

At the end of the three-year programme, each graduate needed a broad range of company experience as well as key business and interpersonal skills, to roll off the programme and embark on a managerial career path within the division.

Analysing the development needs of future leaders

Our first step was to analyse the development needs of the graduates through consultation with them.  We also used other sources of information such as talking to their managers and looking at their Development Plans.

Designing the Programme

We designed a Programme consisting of 4 elements:

1. Training Plan

We designed and delivered a training plan stretching over the three-year period for each Graduate, to help them develop generic business skills and interpersonal skills.  The plan outlined which courses graduates should complete in each year of the GDP.

Year 1 – Focus on Self-Management. Workshops included Making the Most of Mentoring, Preparing for Your Performance Review, Managing Your Time, Managing Your Impact on Others

Year 2 – Focus on Interacting with Others. Workshops included Presentation Skills, Planning for Results, Effective Meetings, Increasing Personal Influence

Year 3 – Focus on Leading Others. Developing and Leading Groups, Coaching Skills, Developing Teams, Leading People.

2. GDP Network Groups

We assigned each GDP member to a Network Group to provide a forum for GDP members to develop and learn from others.  We assigned a 3rd year GDP member as leader of the group to provide them with the opportunity to develop their leadership and team development skills.

3. Mentoring

We paired each GDP member with a Mentor from a more senior talent pool.

4. Annual Conference

We recommended an Annual Conference for all GDP members that would be designed and organised by the GDP members for the GDP members to encourage them to take responsibility for their own learning and development.

Attracting, developing and retaining talent

The Business Process Management (BPM) division of Accenture UK considered the UK Graduate Development Programme to be highly successful at attracting, developing and retaining leadership talent for the division.  When a global restructure brought the GDP to an end, there was a danger that all members of the Programme would be made redundant.  The fact the division kept and redeployed 99% of the graduates showed how valued they were and how highly they were regarded as a source of future leaders.

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