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Creating leaders of the future at Jardine Motors

How do you develop a sustainable and best in class talent programme that develops leaders for both today and the future?

Creating leaders of the future at Jardine Motors

The brief

Jardine Motors Group (JMG) is one of the largest motor dealerships in the UK, with 20 brands ranging from Aston Martin to Volkswagen and with over 3000 employees nationwide in more than 70 dealerships. As a key player in the UK motor industry and traditionally a tough margin-focussed environment, JMG is facing many challenges in the current turbulent and complex world of work, with more market competition, increasing pressure on sales, changing customer demands and disruption in their traditional marketplace.

The arrival of Neil Williamson as MD heralded a shift from a heavily target/sales focus to a strategy of 'people first', leading to a better customer experience with the introduction of new values, behaviours and mission statement. This required a change in the way their leaders managed their people and business.

Clare Martin joined the board as Group HRD. She brought a focus on succession and talent planning and was looking for a fresh approach to developing their future leaders. She contacted The Art of Work, as experts in the changing world of work with a reputation for providing challenging and innovative talent development.

The challenges

JMG wanted to create a talent programme that would develop a cadre of future leaders who have the ability to drive the business forward, deliver high performance and results and assume senior leadership positions in the future. Specifically, they wanted to:

  • Aid progression for those on the programme, resulting in a minimum of 30 achieving promotion within 12 months of programme completion
  • Increase staff engagement and retention by reducing staff attrition to 20% in all dealerships managed by programme attendees over the duration of the programme
  • Increase the number of women in senior positions in this predominantly male environment, ensuring there were a minimum of 30% women attending the programme, successfully completing and demonstrating progression
  • Identify and retain key leadership talent through the programme, ensuring a minimum of 80% of attendees stay within the JMG group following programme completion
  • Provide opportunities to achieve a recognised leadership qualification for those who had 'risen through the ranks' at JMG, with at least 60% achieving an ILM qualification through the programme
  • Improve business performance through manufacturer scorecard and internal audit results, and by implementing innovative solutions to current challenges (targets to be set within each dealership)

The solutions

From the outset we worked firmly in partnership with JMG, taking the lead on overall programme design and delivery with JMG providing the ILM support, along with co-delivering the more operationally specific programme elements and providing mentoring and peer learning support. JMG also developed a robust application process linked to the JMG values. The programme is open to all managers who want to apply. Piloted in 2016, the first full programme ran from January - December 2017

Using our 4-stage methodology to ensure the resulting programme would meet the needs of the business and generate tangible results;

  1. Discovery - Undertaking interviews with senior leaders and stakeholders, as well as some of the potential programme participants, to understand the needs of the learners and the shift required for the organisation.

  2. Design - Using a blended solution fit for today's modern learner, we introduced a range of new technology and learning mediums to the programme design, balanced with the need to meet the ILM requirements and JMG's existing experience of more traditional face-to-face learning. This included Strengthscope Leader 360 feedback.

  3. Delivery - To be delivered across a 12 month period, we identified a lead practitioner who combined a depth of knowledge in leadership knowledge and skills, with strong commercial experience to be able to translate the learning to the operational realities faced by participants. Key learning topics focused on:

  • Strengths leadership
  • Creating leadership capacity
  • Compelling communication
  • Strategic planning
  • Creating high performing teams
  • Delivering operational excellence
  • Customer experience and insight
  • Leading complexity and change
  • Delivering innovation
  • Creating personal impact.
  1. Evaluation - We measured both return on investment and return on expectations, scheduling an 'Impact Day' 3 months after the final programme module, to evaluate the effectiveness of the programme, reinforce learning and provide an opportunity to celebrate success, with each participant presenting their 'personal return on investment'.

The results

From the outset, in an industry driven by numbers, it was important to demonstrate both return on investment and return on expectations. Highlights from the programme so far include:

  • Progression: 3 promotions from 2016 pilot of 7 and 6 from 2017 group of 11
  • Diversity: 0 women in 2016 group, 4 women in 2017 group 36% increase
  • Talent retention: All programme participants who completed the programme have remained with JMG
  • Staff attrition: from 33% to 7.5% across dealerships led by programme participants
  • Professional development: 3 completed 100% of the ILM components in Cohort 1, 4 in progress (at 75% completion). All of cohort 2 still are in progress with ILM with completion expected mid-2018

The 2018 cohort from our Leaders of the Future (LOTF) programme, recently delivered their final presentations to the SMT in April 2019, evaluating the results of the demanding 12-month programme. The participants spoke openly and honestly about how they can work on both their strengths and weaknesses to improve their leadership capability. Many have made changes to their leadership style as a result. As well as being able to demonstrate significant improvements to business targets, many were also able to show the difference this has made to their teams. The 2019 cohort has commenced with a refreshed programme overview and dates for 2020 are already in the diary.

'Leaders of the Future' recently won the Training Journal Bronze Award for Best Talent and Development programme in 2018.

Leaders of The Future is really important to us. I'm a huge believer in people, the better our people are, the better our results will be, the better our customer service is. It all starts with our people. This programme takes the best people with the most potential and gives them the chance to realise it. I've seen people really grow from it, not just professionally but personally. It's a really challenging programme and there are times when it's really tough, but when the managers get to the end of it, they will have had a really positive journey and in many cases it leads to the next role.

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