When it comes to championing leadership, graduate development and leadership management training provider Gradvert is at the forefront. We caught up with founder and MD Michaela Reaney to find out more.
Tell us about Gradvert
I founded Gradvert in 2012 after spotting a gap in the market and the business has grown considerably since then.
We’re a leading graduate programme and leadership management training provider and a fully-approved centre for the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM).
Our headquarters are in Hoults Yard, Newcastle, with offices in Birmingham and London, and we support clients across the UK and mainland Europe such as The Go-Ahead Group, Veolia and Mitsubishi Hitachi.
Why is leadership key to growth?
Leadership is about ensuring you can achieve the growth potential you want because you’ve got the right skills and behaviours within your people to make that happen.
What we talk to organisations about is leadership at every level, so not just putting your senior team through a leadership development programme but actually looking at leadership for those in early stage careers too.
A great example of this is our client Tannlin, which is an industry leader in the design and manufacture of laser cutting systems. They have a structured development programme to ensure staff are coached from the outset and are particularly focused on investment into young people. Tannlin have recognised the need to develop management and leadership skills at every level within their organisation to future proof their business.
Having the right leadership qualities and behaviours within an organisation not only reduces turnover of team but ensures the business is much more sustainable and is future-proofed for the growth you want to achieve.
Why is a formalised approach to workforce planning so important?
The most important reasons are retention of team and succession planning. Everyone knows happy employees who feel invested in work harder and stay longer.
With a formalised approach if you’ve got an ageing profile within your business, when people retire or move on the knowledge will already have been transferred to other people in the organisation, either through mentoring, coaching or training.
Having succession planning in place means that you’re already thinking about the future, what skills you’ll need and can ensure a clear pipeline of employees with the right experience and capabilities.
What we are asked most by organisations is how to attract and retain talent. The solution is to provide people with development opportunities and progression. For individuals, this is becoming increasingly important over salary and any reward and recognition process.
Where is investment in people needed to help businesses scale?
One of the key areas we’ve really identified is personal resilience.
Businesses today operate in a challenging and complex environment, as well as tough economic conditions, so how they prepare the workforce to cope with continuous change is now vital to the survival of any organisation.
What opportunities exist for companies wanting to develop their staff?
One big opportunity is the government’s Apprenticeship Reform, which is changing the way apprenticeships are planned and delivered, with the aim of making sure they are business-led. Part of this is the Apprenticeship Levy, which is payable by companies with an annual wage bill of £3m or more and will make changes to how apprenticeships are funded.
Even university graduates can now undertake an apprenticeship and should potentially consider it.
Apprenticeship Reform can be a driving force for workforce development activity and how it is funded. You can look at everything from putting your senior leaders through an apprenticeship at a higher level right through to early career opportunities.
What it allows you to do is build that holistic development activity and have a leadership academy within your organisation. Ultimately, it’s a way to do something innovative and gain competitive advantage.