Talent consultancy Alderbrooke Group partners with Global Diversity Practice

09 February 2018 Consultancy.uk

Talent consultancy Alderbrooke Group has partnered with Global Diversity Practice. The new alliance will see the duo work to help businesses pinpoint behaviour which will drive inclusion, and unlock the potential of a diverse workforce.

While traditionally, ideological and financial biases have permitted businesses to neglect workplace diversity, a growing pool of evidence shows that not only was this ethically wrong, but it actually hindered the productivity of organisations. Organisations that leverage diversity and inclusiveness have been shown to improve performance across all metrics, including increased shareholder value, employee retention and customer satisfaction. Some studies have even shown businesses could see their financial performance boosted by 30% or more, should they implement workplace policies to encourage inclusivity and diversity.

As businesses attempt to incorporate this previously overlooked potential into their operations, the consulting industry has been positioning itself to take advantage of the growing demand for diversity. A number of consultancies have recently implemented offerings which target clients looking to transform their human resources structure to better favour inclusivity. Last year, this saw Navigant join an initiative aimed at improving CEOs knowledge on how to boost diversity, while Mercer joined forces with the EDGE collective for the same reason.

Now, talent consultancy Alderbrooke Group, and Global Diversity Practice have joined forces to help businesses pinpoint the behaviour needed to build an inclusive culture and devise innovative solutions to address specific issues and opportunities. Alderbrooke specialises in executive search and behavioural analytics, and the firm aims to leverage this to help organisations take the guesswork out of cultural transformation, by applying workforce science and predictive analytics.

Alderbrooke Group and Global Diversity Practice

With organisations now allocating significant budgets to tackling diversity and inclusion, the firm’s partnership with Global Diversity Practice will allow businesses to make data-driven decisions about how best to allocate their resources in order to deliver tangible results and drive competitive advantage. The two groups hope to achieve this by combining Alderbrooke’s CultureScope behavioural analytics tools – which was awarded the People’s Choice award for this innovative diagnostic at the prestigious Wharton People Analytics Conference in 2017 – with Global Diversity Practice’s expertise in delivering effective and integrated diversity and inclusion programmes.

Founded in 2009 by Farrah Qureshi, who is now CEO, Global Diversity Practice currently operates in over 160 countries globally. The group has worked with many large public sector bodies as well as many of the world’s largest brands, specialising in diversity and inclusion consultancy, such as executive coaching in diversity and inclusion; audits, strategies, branding and communications, as well as awareness training to tackle unconscious bias.

Commenting on the new partnership, Bharat Shah, Chairman, Alderbrooke, said, “Alderbrooke is building a formidable reputation as the go to culture and behavioural diagnostic organisation and we are delighted to be working with the GDP team to link diagnosis measurements with action. We are very much looking forward to working with GDP in delivering exceptional solutions to organisations both in the private and public sector, as they strive to build a diverse and inclusive culture.”

Farrah Qureshi, CEO, Global Diversity Practice added, “Businesses increasingly recognise the impact that a more diverse and inclusive culture can play on productivity, customer experience and the delivery of new products and services. While it’s easy to identify the symptoms – few women or BAME at board level, high employee turnover for example – it is essential to link these factors back to the behaviours that are driving the negative culture in the first place.

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Why leaders must balance technical expertise with soft skills

17 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Soft skills matter in the workplace just as much as technical expertise, writes Samantha Caine, Managing Director of Business Linked Teams.

For too long technical expertise has been seen as the marker of a strong candidate for development into a sales or leadership position. Sales and leadership candidates are tasked with demonstrating a diverse and wide-ranging set of technical skills, yet their aptitude in these technical skills or ‘hard skills’ cannot signify great leadership potential. This is why a healthy balance of soft skills and technical ability is required. 

So what exactly is the difference between technical skills and soft skills? In engineering, it’s crucial to demonstrate knowledge of physics as well as a strong grasp on mathematical equations. Yet, in any industry, it’s important for leaders to be able to interact with other people effectively with soft skills like communication, empathy and adaptability. 

Business Linked Team’s 2018 study into internal leadership development revealed that 69% of large organisations are prioritising the identification and development of future leaders from within the workforce. As more and more organisations begin to invest in sales or leadership development within their existing workforces, more focus needs to be placed on ensuring the right soft skills are in place. 

With those soft skills in place throughout the workforce, the business will benefit from a wider pool of potential leaders developing under their noses, and it should be the same where sales candidates are concerned. 

It’s not just about easier access to ideal candidates for these positions without the rigmarole of recruiting from outside of the organisation. The leadership development study also found that 89% of HR decision makers say succession planning has become a top priority. Those currently serving in leadership positions can’t lead forever and the same goes for those generating sales for the business.

Why leaders must balance technical expertise with soft skills

From people leaving for new opportunities or retirement, to people simply stepping aside to focus on other areas of the business, successful leaders and salespeople require experienced and capable successors that will be ready and able to confidently step into their shoes and pick up the mantle without the business experiencing any lapse in performance.

Soft skills make stronger candidates

When it comes to the soft skills required, a strong leader must be able to manage through clear communication and effective time management, coaching and goal setting. They must be able to demonstrate empathy and empower their teams to be successful, productive and fully engaged. And beyond simply giving direction, they must also be able to take direction from those above them and cascade the business strategy down through their teams. 

A strong sales candidate must possess the ability to communicate value to the customer, negotiate well and protect margin or the ability to increase the scope of a particular sales opportunity. 

With the relevant soft skills in place, the business will benefit from increased productivity, greater agility against changing market conditions and greater transparency. In turn, this will provide visibility on issues and inefficiencies while removing opportunity for miscommunication. All of this can transform the culture of a department, improving employee satisfaction and reducing staff turnover. 

Ultimately, developing leadership or sales candidates will require the business to strike the right balance between technical skills and soft skills, and this requires an effective and sustained learning journey.

A balanced learning journey

Facilitating and supporting the development of leadership and sales is best achieved by establishing training groups. By cultivating training groups, businesses are creating talent pools that will inspire and support each other on the learning journey. However, personal goals and learning objectives must be defined for each individual based on their own existing skillsets and the skills that each individual needs to develop. 

With the emergence of e-learning, businesses recognise the value of online-based learning activities, yet many make the mistake of opting for one-size-fits-all solutions which are solely focused on self-study. A development solution will only deliver true return on investment if it combines e-learning activities with group learning activities that provide opportunity for shared experiences and support.

A blended learning solution that combines self-study and face-to-face group learning activities will aid strong development of the talent pool through shared experiences. Through these shared experiences, those undergoing the training will organically develop a support network that supports the development of the group as much as it supports the development of each individual. 

The blended learning approach is supported by one of the seven principles of human learning that socially supported interactions aid the individual development of expertise, metacognitive skills, and formation of the learner’s sense of self. The strongest opportunities for development can be unlocked by blending workshops with online activities such as virtual sessions, peer coaching, self-study, online games and business simulations. But it’s crucial to provide a blend of one-to-one and group sessions too.

Beyond delivering a better learning outcome for the employee, the blended learning approach allows organisations to adapt their training quickly and easily to shifting business demands in an ever-changing landscape.