Apprenticeship Levy, Case studies, Management

Building the leadership pipeline at Harvey Nash

05 May 2020 by Heidi Marshall

Developing future leaders

“Our client needs are changing and the previous ‘rules’ for resourcing, managing capacity and capability, and addressing problems through people, are all changing too – the next layer of our Leadership team needs to be ready! The Corndel Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management is the perfect programme for developing our future leaders and supporting them in the next step of their careers.” explains Pippa Hawker-Bond, Head of Talent at Harvey Nash.

Last week we were delighted to launch the second cohort of 10 learners onto Harvey Nash’s Senior Leadership Executive Programme, designed and delivered by Corndel. The team has high hopes for this group, with a successful outcome being described as evident growth in participants’ leadership confidence, as well as the ability to consistently exhibit company leadership expectations. These include Visible Leadership, Collective Success, Bold Ambition, Excellent Execution, Truly Caring; whilst also provoking and encouraging these values in others. 

Why this senior leadership programme; and why now?

The new cohort, selected as being high-potential managers whom senior leaders feel have the ability to operate at a senior strategic level within the Group, were joined at the launch by programme sponsor and Harvey Nash Director, Chris Seel. Chris, who has been with Harvey Nash for 16 years, joined the virtual launch to speak directly with the group. He spoke about three key reasons for the investment in this programme at this point in time.

1. There are clear benefits in bringing in a trusted training provider like Corndel to give employees a chance to gain different perspectives, beyond those of their own line managers and internal leaders.   

2. Due to the current crisis, the recruitment sector workforce like countless others, risks being drawn into a short-term mindset, thinking about one month at a time. Chris encourages his teams to plan for the next 3 months6 months and beyondHe challenges his employees to focus instead on the longer term strategy and business plan and is keen to make sure individuals are fully skilled in doing so. “Courses like this,” he says, “will allow you to have a much better plan for the future.”  

3. Chris believes that it’s important to think beyond hierarchical progression and look more into the concept of masteryIt’s not always about chasing the next job title and the next pay increase. It’s vital that every now and again we stop and actually take into account what we are better at, what we have learned, how we have moved our skillforward. Why? Because it's very, very easy to see yourself walk up the career ladderfind yourself in a position of leadership and realise you actually haven't acquired many of the skills that you need in order to be doing this job well. This programme is about making sure Harvey Nash managers have the skills to match their level, which is incredibly important for participants’ future careers both within and beyond this business.  

Based on previous learner experiences, senior leaders such as Chris look forward to the programme delivering tangible business benefits. Chris describes the importance of investing in talent at this time, “We as business leaders recognise your critical role, not only in helping to get the business through this global crisis, but also in allowing the company to grow over the next two to three years.” 

Advice from colleagues who have been through the Corndel programme

Before launching into the first workshop content, the learners were treated to some words of wisdom from those who know what it’s really like to be studying for a qualification such as this, whilst continuing with busy lives and jobs. Here is a selection of that wisdom. 

Rob PestridgeContracts Manager, Spinks

“I was initially nervous about the course. There are a lot of different topics – some, especially the financial ones were daunting. My advice is to just throw yourself into it. If you are able to put aside 30/45 mins every day it will make a big difference.    

The content is great – and it was great to get to know people in other parts of the business. We all talk a lot more now than we used to.”   

Sandra Erickson, Director, Harvey Nash 

The whole programme is a massive toolkit that you can dip in and out of as you build your career at Harvey Nash. It provided me with a whole host of back up material. We all have our own style of working and challenges in our jobs. You’ll each find that some modules are naturally more challenging than others, but at the end of it you will become a more rounded leader. I think it’s the best course I’ve ever done, genuinely. I loved it. Listen to your PDE – that’s the other piece of advice!  

San Doan, Associate Director, Harvey Nash

Do coursework little and often. Keep track of things you are doing now with your team – keep a folder in your inbox so when you need the evidence it’s there. Some of it might seem like common sense, but it gives you that reassurance of different approaches, things like Emotional Intelligence and active listening. In Clare I had someone who was a great mentor as she had experience in the recruitment industry. 

The learning that you get from speaking to colleagues in other departments, regional businesses and offices is just as valuable. Prior to this I didn’t have much insight into how other teams work. All in all, it was a really good experience. 

Rhodri Hughes, Associate Director, Harvey Nash

The course is really good to supplement your role as a manager, offering a huge toolkit. I learnt quite a few theories that I didn’t previously have knowledge of. For example, I had written business cases many times before, but in reality I had used a previous manager’s rather than writing my own. So learning how to build a compelling business case was really valuable. 

Clare has been in our situation before, working in recruitment and managing large teams. This meant we were able to have really meaningful discussions throughout. Stay on top of the workload if you can – it will be much easier if you do it as you go along. 

David Procter, Associate Director, Harvey Nash

It was amazing how many times something would crop up and I would have material that I could refer to – a theory that I could drop in and use on a practical level. Don’t underestimate what a resource and opportunitit is to have one-to-one coaching with Clare. She is a brilliant coach, providing guidance through situations especially when tricky situations crop up. It’s not just the scheduled calls that you have, although those are useful, it’s knowing that you have somebody there who has tons of experiencewho knows our industry inside out and can help and guide you.  This is not directly part of the course but it’s an incredible resource that you get for free, essentially. 

Another highlight to mention is the internal network – getting to know people in different offices better, spending more time with them, being able to compare notes and situations and to help each other out – is all really handy, so again don’t underestimate that. The actual course itself furthered my understanding of so many aspects of management such as running projects, understanding finance, P&L, coaching, leadership styles, how people learn, how people think and why they behave in the ways that they doAt this time that is more relevant than ever.” 

The Corndel/Harvey Nash partnership

Pippa Hawker-Bond describes partnering with Corndel as “an easy choice; their blended approach to the Leadership programme is really engaging. We’re a sales business, so time for our participants is both limited and precious. The combination of individual coaching and bespoke workshops was a winning formula to achieve our strategic objectives. 

The feedback from last year’s cohort was overwhelmingly positive. There was real emphasis on the quality and experience of Corndel's tutors, the learning collateral, and on-hand support available— we have seen significant growth in our managers' confidence and ability.” 

We wish our new learners all the very best in their development and look forward to supporting them fully throughout the programme 

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