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Beyond programmes at Simons Group

Succession planning has become incredibly important within Simons as we look to develop high-potential individuals, grow future senior leaders and managers, and enable the achievement of our goals.

Over 70 years we have seen the benefits of succession planning; people come to us as apprentices and still remain with us as managers of successful teams within the business.

Succession planning remains high on the senior management agenda and our talent management programmes support this by aligning with those plans and the business strategy.

Changing programmes

Our talent management programmes have changed and developed over many years to attract, recruit, develop, reward, motivate and retain the talent and potential future leaders of the business.

They started with professional development plans for identified talent, to an outsourced assessment and development centre, to our current Executive Success Programme (ESP) where individuals identify themselves as talent with the support of their line managers.

“We find this approach adds perceived value to the programme and participants are highly motivated to enter onto the programme”

Our selection process onto the ESP is open to all employees and is important to the success of the programme.

We have a formal, structured selection process which ends in an interview and presentation to a talent panel consisting of board members.

We find this approach adds perceived value to the programme and participants are highly motivated to enter onto the programme.

Taking ownership

The key to the success of the ESP lies with the participants taking ownership of their own development.

They create their personal development plan, which is aligned with the business strategy; organise and participate in workshops with key managers; and manage their own Simons-specific project, which could have the potential to influence the future of the business. 

The challenge for Simons within the talent management process is not in the attracting, developing or managing talent, but in the evaluation and, more specifically, measuring of return on investment.

The development of the participants does not end with the 18-month ESP.

Quantifying the benefits of the programme has been extremely difficult and often not a valid or reliable reflection of the effect the programme will have on the participant’s future.

Managing participant’s expectations before, during and after the ESP is important and something we are working on to keep them engaged so the future benefits to them and the company can be realised.

Ensuring we have the right people in the right place doing the right things has always been one of our core business values.

Knowing and understanding our people, their roles and aspirations means we are more likely to provide an open and challenging environment, where people are motivated and committed – not only to the company but to our customers.

Emma Dodsworth is talent and development adviser at Simons Group

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