Company: MHA MacIntyre Hudson, London, United Kingdom
Category: Learning or Training Professional of the Year
The accountancy industry in on the cusp of its greatest skills upheaval for a generation; ;as significant advancements in Artificial Intelligence have exponentially increased the functionality of even the most basic business software packages available on the market.
Over the next two years, these improvements are set to dramatically reduce the value that clients put on the traditional ‘technical’ aspects of accountancy services in favour of an increase in more practical advisory and business partnering relationships.
Work where good personal and professional skills are more vital for success than just pure technical
This change in demanded skillsets are set to stress the industry as a whole - as traditionally staff assessments and progression tended to be biased toward measuring technical ability, rather than ‘softer’ skillsets. Thereby creating a skills paradox where individuals advanced on the basis of their historical technical abilities, may be lacking the in the personal and professional skills needed for future client success.
Looking to stay ahead of this threat to our firm, in 2017 our National Training Manager, Dominique Bruno (a qualified accountant and seasoned training profession), responded by redesigning our entire training programme. Creating a new, progressive learning path in which professional and personal skillsets are reinforced alongside technical learning – with an emphasis to all employees on how both are vital for the success of the firm and the individuals within it.
The Changes (Appendix 1)
In order to achieve this, Dominique scrutinized and extensively redesigned the entire training programme with the following elements incorporated at all possible opportunities:
-Significant streamlining to eliminate superfluous course content, allowing more time to focus on role relevant learning.
-Creation of new management programmes to ensure that professional and personal skillsets are being reinforced at both junior and senior management levels
-Use of thematic structuring to increase participant understanding of how differing aspects of courses relate to each other
-Embedded a ‘Selfish Training’ philosophy – Repeated emphasis on how training benefits individual staff members (‘do a better job with less effort…’)
-Increased gamification – The addition of competitive groups tasks, games and electronic polling to
increase participant engagement and retention of course content
Tracking feedback across all courses from January 2017 to June 2018, we were excited by the positive impact the new programme had made on firm staff:
-Significant positive feedback was received from all levels on Dominique’s delivery of the new
programme (Appendix 2).
-Managers noted an 56% improvement in the professional skills of the 2017 year’s trainee intake over the prior year’s. Furthermore, trainees feedback that they found the new process engaging and gave them a better understanding of their new role (Appendix 3).
-Engagement scores for core training courses averaged 95% across all criteria, with participants valuing both the variety of topics and the absorbing, interactive nature in which the material was covered (Appendix 4).
-Engagement scores for management courses average 97% across all criteria, with like for like participation in the courses increase by incredible 121% on the prior year. Additionally, with feedback driving demand, participation in the half-year 2018 has already exceeded participation numbers for the old programme in the entire year 2016 (Appendix 5.1) and external interest in this programme has raised an additional £15,000 for the 2017-18 training budget (Appendix 5).
The Future While technical knowledge will always remain critical to our industry, Dominique recognised that it is the professional and personal skills of our staff that will undoubtedly form the basis of our future success.
While his restructuring of our training is just the first of many steps needed to take full advantage of the changing environment - the positive reactions from staff, management, and clients would strongly suggest it is one in the right direction.
Entire training programme designed to emphasize Personal and Professional skills alongside traditional Technical ones (Appendices 1 & 1.1)
Dominique received excellent feedback on course delivery (Appendix 2)
New 2017 Trainee Induction resulted in a 56% improvement in professional skills over the previous year’s trainees, with feedback emphasizing that it provided a very useful introduction to their new role (Appendices 3 & 3.1)
All new Core Training courses scored 90% or higher across our engagement criteria, with an average score of 95%, with feedback emphasizing positive impact that participative elements made to the process (Appendices 4 & 4.1)
All new Management courses scored 90% or higher across our engagement criteria, with an average score of 97%, with positive feedback driving a significant increase in demand for programme: 2017 - 121% increase on 2016, 2018 projected 200% increase on 2016 (Appendices 5, 5.1, 5.2)
External particpation raised an addition £15k in fees