Behind HRD Top Image
Behind HRD

Audrey Clegg,
Group Talent Director,

Do you believe you offer transformative training and development? If so, why?

Yes - we have a blend of tools and systems to empower our people, whatever level they’re at, and we make sure the offering is joined up. That way we can all get the learning and development we need, when and how we need it. We also make sure that L&D is front and centre culturally – both informally in the language we use, for example, and the stories we share and in our processes too. Last year, we switched to rolling personal performance and talent reviews throughout the year so there’s more scope for conversations about development opportunities.

We do big set pieces, too – our showstoppers. Last year our amazing L&D team organised a two-week online learning festival. Learn fest drew in over 5,000 people to all kinds of sessions. We had inspiring stories from 40 speakers within the group but also guest speakers talking about how they learn – a pilot, an Olympic athlete, a neurosurgeon, and a songwriter. I loved it.

How do you approach upskilling your workers?

Three words: put people first. That’s hard in a big organisation – tech, process, hierarchy and many other things get in the way. But in the end, it’s the best investment: it’s the key to productivity, innovation and, crucially, tech that works for humans. The career ladder is a thing of the past so the best way to upskill is through modular careers, so people develop in a variety of ways: new roles of course, but also assignments, lateral moves, shadowing and mentoring.

Our ‘Talent Marketplace’, which launched last year, brings many of these approaches together. We call it our internal growth engine – it connects business demands, big and small, with people who can meet them AND gain the skills and visibility they need to get ahead.

How can HR best implement effective learning within their teams?

Learning is a choice. The key to encourage people to constantly learn is to focus on what they want and need, by having options for each leadership layer, by nurturing sharing of experiences and expertise, networking. By building the tools with a constant focus on the learners (diverse formats, 24/7 availability, number of topics, quality content). Our company provides people with opportunities to learn, enabling them to bring out the very best in themselves and allowing them to make a positive difference.

Has COVID changed the way we approach talent?

COVID has had a big impact, of course, but our guiding philosophy remains the same: hire people from all kinds of backgrounds and give them space to be themselves, to find and pursue their passions. With the pandemic, that’s meant focusing on physical, mental and emotional wellbeing more than ever. But I think the biggest trend in talent before COVID was exploring how to give our people more opportunities – to connect, to learn, to innovate, to grow – and increase efficiency at the same time. The pandemic has accelerated this trend.

We have responded by moving faster to digital, providing our people more opportunities to interact and contribute. We made further investments in experience learning platforms and with the help of our internal technology wizards, we implemented several innovative solutions which helped inspire and supported development. We trained more people and we made mentoring and coaching accessible to everyone.

The results of our approach have led to great internal engagement and external recognition. For example, in 2020, we were recognised by CIPD with an Award for Best Coaching and Mentoring Initiative. We also won the Global Association of Talent Development award for our Fast Forward Talent accelerated development programs.