Take me to your leaders

first_imgWitha 100 per cent pass rate and huge savings, the NEBS Team Leader Qualificationsscheme has got off to a flying start at GSK Qaiser Ali is a proud man. Hanging next to his desk, beside the production linesturning out toothpaste and mouthwash for pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline,is a certificate. This certificate represents the first formal qualification Ali has everachieved and was presented to him, along with 47 other employees from the company’sMaidenhead site, after he recently completed an accredited course in teamleadership. GSK is also proud of its newly qualified team leaders. Between them theyhave already saved the company a small fortune. The production savings made as a direct result of the initiativesimplemented by the course graduates are 10 times the cost of sending them onthe training programme. To date, GSK boasts a 100 per cent pass rate among its participants. In a company the size of GSK, with its financial clout, it would be easy toimagine that all its training programmes would be tailor-made and oftendelivered and assessed in-house. However, the team leader training undertaken by the Maidenhead staff formspart of a package of accredited, nationally and internationally recognisedqualifications now being offered by Nebs Management, the awarding body forgeneral and specialist management qualifications. So what motivates a multi-million pound organisation to look outside its owntraining department for such qualifications for its workforce? Independent recognition “It all revolves around the need to have something that’s recognised byan independent body,” explains Asif Khan, the training officer at GSK Maidenheadwho has overseen the introduction of the team leader courses. “We are simply not interested in our people gaining certificates merelyfor attending a course. This way they get a real qualification, that requiresassessment and provides them with transferable skills. The recognition andindependence of the qualification gives value to the training.” One major attraction of the Team Leader Award for GSK was the way in whichits curriculum and assessment methods dovetailed with the organisation’s ownbusiness goals and development strategy. In 1994, a budget of £45m was approvedto transform the Maidenhead site into an “innovative centre ofexcellence”. At the same time, a strategy to reduce costs by £1m by the end of 2001 wasalso set, with operational effectiveness being key to this strategy, mainlyfocusing on manning levels across the production processes. Each business centre at the site was assigned its own target. For example,the packing and filling centre, from which the majority of the team leadertrainees were drawn, was given a cost reduction target of £500,000 by the endof 2001. Today the Maidenhead site is a state-of-the-art production facility,providing the European markets with well-known oral healthcare products bearingthe Aquafresh, Macleans and Cordosyl trademarks. Production speed has almostdoubled, to achieve a production capacity now exceeding 500 million units ayear. According to site director Ole Rassmussen, “This success has only beenachieved through developing our people and processes in line with our sitevision and core values.” Khan adds, “Qualification-based training fits very nicely into ourpeople development plans and business focus. The Nebs programme is unique. Itassesses knowledge as it is taught, but it also requires participants toundertake workplace assignments. In this way, training can be used to helpknock off business objectives.” Business Objectives Achieving business objectives has been a particular success point of theteam leader training at GSK. For the first time ever, a training programme hasdelivered over 10 times its original investment – £500,000 per year on anoutlay of £50,000. In addition to monetary savings, the enhanced team leaders – a newlyintroduced title at GSK for those employees identified as having high potentialand capability – have taken on a number of responsibilities that previouslyfell to their first line managers. ETLs now conduct appraisals, which are linked to pay increases and personaldevelopment plans, oversee the team’s performance management and development,and are charged with the continuous improvement of their product lines. The team leader development programme and the creation of the ETL role hasfilled the huge gap which once existed between technician and team leader rolesand the next step up to first-line manager. Feedback Another tangible benefit of the training has been the feedback assessmentreport from the company’s successful bid to gain Investors in Peoplerecognition (awarded in May this year). The report highlights the ETLs’understanding of the business direction and the impact they are having onachieving business goals. Qaiser Ali was one of the ETLs to have undertaken the training. “Ithought the training would be a different experience and would help me in thefuture,” he recalls. “I was very nervous about doing the formal presentation and relievedwhen it was over, but when I saw the video of it, I realised I hadn’t donebadly. The training has made a lot of difference to my work. I communicate muchbetter now and I would love to go on and get more qualifications.” For newly-promoted ETL and technician Mark Nicholls, the team leader awardhas spurred him to raise his career expectations. “When I first came here two years ago, I was a technician with littleinput into the operation, but I am much more involved now, my job is moreinteresting as a result and I am looking forward to progressing up the ladderhere,” says Nicholls, who is in line for promotion to a first-line managerposition as a result of the progress he has made since completing the teamleader training. “I feel GSK has put its faith in me,” he says. The qualifications have been incorporated into GSK’s internal Leadership DevelopmentProgramme and Enhanced Team Leader Programme. The contribution the training hasmade to business performance at the Maidenhead site has not gone unnoticed inother parts of the GlaxoSmithKline empire. Another major site, the pharmaceutical manufacturing plant at GSK Worthing,has decided to adopt the Maidenhead example into its production processes. “From the employees’ point of view, they are getting a qualificationthat has more currency, and hopefully it is recognised as an entry point to otherqualifications,” says Sally Messenger, chief executive of NEBS Management,explaining the popularity of the accredited team leader qualifications. “Employers are increasingly interested in providing something that is anational standard, which can help with such initiatives as IiP and qualityassurance programmes,” she says. Although many large organisations prefer to have training programmestailor-made to suit their processes and employment structure, such programmeshave the drawback of being little recognised beyond their own internal systems.Preparation Other advantages of delivering accredited training to employees is that muchof the time, effort and expense of putting together a training programme hasalready been done by someone else. “It’s like outsourcing really,” says Messenger. “We designthe qualification and that saves the employer time and money. But there arestill opportunities to tailor the qualifications. They are very work-relatedand there is ample opportunity to apply the learning to their particularcontext. “We anticipate a very wide audience for these qualifications. There areso many people with the words ‘team leader’ in their title for whom thistraining would be appropriate. “Then there is the adult basic skills timebomb ticking away. Few havethe training required for today’s essential business skills, such as giving apresentation,” says Messenger. How the awards scheme worksIntroductory Team Leader AwardA short, flexible starter programme for all team workers, especiallythose with leadership or co-ordinating responsibilities. The programme is basedaround:– A short induction– One core module (of three hours’ duration)– Five further three-hour modules selected from the rangeavailable in the full Team Leader Award, to meet the need to develop teamleading/co-ordinating skills– Assessment includes a short-answer questionnaire and a briefpresentationTeam Leader AwardA comprehensive 60-hour programme for all team leaders.Designed using a number of short learning modules, covering:– Induction– Four core modules of three hours each, plus 15 furtherthree-hour modules selected from a wide range of topics– Emphasis is on developing a sound knowledge base with the ability to applyit in the workplace to produce significant performance improvements, as well asdeveloping personal effectiveness– Assessment includes a short-answer questionnaire and a teambriefingLevel 2 S/NVQ in Team LeadingA competence-based programme for team leaders and co-ordinatorswho are primarily concerned with motivating their team members and achievingagreed outputs, with some limited authority for deploying resources. The programme is based on:– Four mandatory units designed to develop the core competencesneeded by today’s team leaders– Two optional units– Assessment includes evidence (by portfolio and in theworkplace) demonstrating that the participant meets the requirements of thestandards at Level 2. Participants each have a personal adviser to assist withpreparation for assessment Take me to your leadersOn 1 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more