Digital platform intuo helps Planet Talent enhance employee performance

23 January 2018

Founded in 1997, Planet Talent is a Belgium-based professional staffing company that provides organisations with ambitious young talent in the area of digital, IT, engineering, sales, marketing, recruitment and general management. Leveraging a new technology platform, the company recently overhauled its talent management approach, reaping a range of tangible benefits. delved into the full case study and provides a synopsis.

Planet Talent hires university graduates and then helps on-board the newly acquired talent land their dream job. The firm tells candidates that, “Individuals must always leave room to keep growing. Innovation and challenge are central to this role, which demands the maximum of their technical knowledge and communication skills.”

In addition, Planet Talent offers its young professionals with a tailor-made personal development plan to support them in the best way possible and let them develop their skills. Knowledge is disseminated via formal training and sharing sessions. The training platform offers short online courses for soft skills, as well as extensive technical training modules. This starts with a boot camp, which teaches new staff the basics of operating in a working environment.

The firm’s coaching system is central to this approach. Every Planet Talent professional follows a coaching process that responds to their individual development points and ambitions – working towards increasing strengths and improving on certain weaknesses, looking at both personal skills as well as job-required skills. Feedback is always exchanged between the individual, their Planet Talent coach and their manager at the client organisation. The dedicated coaches offer a personal approach with frequent one-to-one coaching sessions. 

Digital platform intuo helps Planet Talent enhance employee performance

This tried and tested approach has been followed successfully by Planet Talent for over 20 years. However, with changing times come new opportunities. Innovations in technology have opened up more efficient avenues of working, paving the way for new added-value to all parties involved: the young professional, Planet Talent coaches, and the organisations.

One of the new technologies Planet Talent embraced to improve the effectiveness of its talent management approach is intuo, a software solution that facilitates coaching and learning objectives between employees. The platform was launched in 2013 and aims at helping companies to build and nurture an attractive company culture, by empowering employees and managers to create trustworthy relationships through a system of learning, open feedback and coaching.

Digital change

Following a design phase, a joint team of Planet Talent and intuo found that by using the platform as the backbone of talent management interactions, several benefits could be realised. By saving large amounts of time with the implementation of digital technology, the staffing company can now invest even more in coaching and personal development – while increasing the possibility for interaction, as through methods such as video chat and live chat, coaching is no longer confined to physical parameters of presence or availability. As a result of the time and resources freed up, Planet Talent was able to move to ramp up its personal check-ins to a monthly cycle.

Intuo offers a set of standard questions to select in preparation of the one-on-one sessions, and also offers the possibility to add, adjust or remove certain questions, allowing for a bespoke service catering to the needs of the individual/company.

Commenting on the changes between the old and new models, one of Planet Talent’s coaches said, “Once every three months felt a bit low to keep a nice idea of how people are progressing. However, the scale of our operations didn’t allow for more one-on-ones – so this was the first thing we looked at changing.”

Managing Talent

Another area which improved was feedback. First, the process of gathering feedback became more efficient. To understand coaching plans, coaches leverage detailed talent profiles, geared toward considering what challenges, ambitions, strengths and weaknesses each individual has to face up to. In the pre-digital era, this took a lot of time thanks to back-and-forth processes between managers within client companies, or with the subject themselves. By using intuo, this process was streamlined exponentially, as information is now gathered entirely through a feedback module, from managers, coaches or peers.

In addition, the new platform empowers talents to be more involved and gather extra feedback. Starters can now ask for feedback themselves, not only from their coach but also from their manager. “And they’re taking advantage of this opportunity,” said another coach at Planet Talent.

Talent enablement

A central paradigm in the approach of intuo is that talent enablement is something that is continuous. Gone are the days when setting up objectives and evaluating those took place once a year – now continuous insight and flexibility enable continuous learning. For instance, instead of conducting engagement surveys on specific times with lots of questions at once, Planet Talent pulses five to ten engagement questions on a weekly basis.

So rather than having a mountain of work that presents an overview of how engaged someone is at one time, coaches today can track engagement on a real-time basis. This allows them to spot potential problems before they manifest, with the information helping to nourish the check-in conversations, as they can pinpoint the issue that might need to be discussed. The same applies for career plans and setting objectives. This are now more flexible and can be changed and monitored regularly.

All in all, using intuo has boosted Planet Talent’s way of managing its talent base. At professional services companies, human capital is the largest asset, so keeping individuals motivated is key to success. “Having a great culture gets you more engaged employees, and this motivates them to learn more and perform better in their job,” said Jorn Vanysacker of intuo.

Vanysacker added that the case at Planet Talent shows close resemblance to talent challenges faced at many professional staffing companies and consulting firms. For example how do firms keep staff engaged with their company when they’re always working somewhere else? How can companies retain, and motivate talent? Where do groups find the time needed to invest in coaching and development? “Levering smart technology can be a great way of better tackling such dimensions,” he concluded.


How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.