Turning talent programmes into profit

The situation

One of our professional service clients faced the challenge of taking the risk out of partner selection. As with many firms, their decisions had been based on weak business cases, partner politics and applying hope over evidence. deWinton-Williams was asked to create a solution which strengthened the selection process by increasing the calibre of candidates going forward.

We did better than that.

The solution

deWinton-Williams created a 9 month programme for high potentials – those senior lawyers who were deemed ‘on-track’. Over the period we put through five intensive learning labs using real-play techniques designed to fast-track their skills in financial management, business development, client management, people leadership and business leadership.

Development was supported by internal mentors for wisdom and external coaches who assisted in turning learning into action.

Throughout the programme, delegates were asked to work on a partner-level development programme which was presented to a partner panel at the end of the nine months.

But development was not enough. deWinton-Williams wanted financial results. So we gave every delegate the target of delivering £50,000 over and above what was expected through their annual KPIs. This target was set to ensure they covered the cost of their programme and generated a significant profit. Delegates were expected to drive their target through new business, client extensions and internal efficiencies. Monitoring and competition was used to create momentum.

The result?

All delegates within a department with sufficient business case were put forward to the partner selection committee. All were made up to partner. The remaining delegates went forward the following year.

Every delegate surpassed their target and the programme delivered over £600,000 to the bottom line.

The programme elevated the profile of HR and L&D to profit drivers not cost centre.

The programme has continued with members of the Partner Selection Committee stating, ‘When they present to us, we just know they have been on the programme’.

To date the subsequent programmes have delivered over £2 million to the firm.