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Company: Advisor Group, Phoenix , AZ USA

Nomination Category: Training Programs or Media -Managerial Training


Nomination Title: Supporting Business Growth with Leadership Foundations


Products Essay

Advisor Group is one of the largest networks in the U.S. of independent financial advisors, overseeing more than $268 billion in client assets. The company’s 1,000+ employees, stationed at offices in 5 states, serve more than 7,000 customers in a fast-paced, dynamic industry. The past 18 months have been a time of growth and vitality: the business added 2,000 customers (+35%), launched multiple new services, integrated 3 major acquisitions, and addressed significant new regulatory requirements.

To support this growth, the HR Leadership Team developed Leadership Foundations. This was the first major talent development strategy for the company in 7 years (prior ownership did not invest in people). Leadership Foundations was designed to support and enhance skills of all leaders at Advisor Group, whether a new leader, or experienced.

Leadership Foundations was designed and delivered through a variety of learning methods such as project-based learning, active learning, learning by teaching, lecture, game-based learning, plus class and group discussions. Leaders were informed and taught about tools, process, and techniques for supporting the entire life cycle of the employee employment experience.

Program Design and Delivery

Program topics were identified from a needs analysis that included insight from the executive team based on the requirements of the business, performance culture, and new values. The initial topics were:

-Teaching leaders about recruiting and selection,
-Coaching for better performance,
-Effective communication, and
-Uniting them together as a team.

Top executives were also consulted on timing and delivery to align with the business cycle to mitigate disruption.

Customized content modules were designed to align with talent brand and business values. In-person delivery was interactive and engaging. The program included two half-day training sessions plus a networking reception. It incorporated active learning through ice breakers, skits, role playing, group work with report-outs, and practice with new toolkits and templates. An added benefit was experienced leaders sharing adhoc insights with new leaders. The networking reception section brought further engagement, allowing for relationship building and learning reinforcement conversations. Follow-up resources and class materials were made available for leaders to use on-demand.

Four members of the HR Team delivered the course at sites in 4 states within 60 days. A make-up session was also delivered, and the sessions were videotaped for replay on-demand for new or promoted leaders. Participating leaders were happy to receive the developmental experience, rating their satisfaction at 4.8/5 and sharing their thoughts, as follows:

-“I have attended quite a few leadership classes through my career and this one is definitely one of the best.”
-“The resources available through the Leadership Corner will be of great value going forward. It is great to see us provide a consistent approach for manage.”
-“I thought the HR team was well represented. Everything was professionally done and well delivered. The new processes, procedures, resources, and tools were impressive. We’ve come a long way to standing up a truly first-class HR department.”

Employees showed their approval on Glassdoor, with our company rating increasing from 2.6 to a high of 4.4, average of 4.0, since launch of Leadership Foundations. Our annual employee survey showed a remarkable improvement in engagement since participating in this program, with a 21% improvement in career opportunities, growth and feedback received from managers. With stronger leaders, employees are 17% more comfortable challenging the status quo.

Lasting Outcomes

Designed to enhance skills of all our leaders and bring consistency to management practices, Leadership Foundations delivered significant and lasting outcomes for both participants and the organization. These include:
-Leadership development that includes networking, relationship building, and collaboration;
-Skills improvement in talent selection and hiring;
-Performance excellence support through coaching, conversations, and communicating often and effectively;
-Benefits from on-demand resources and toolkits; and
-A leadership program for new hires and promotions going forward.

Products Summary
1. Talent/leadership development: Designed and implemented a customized in-house leadership talent development program
2. Leaders developed skills: Hiring and selection process, performance management milestones and expectations, effective communication, coaching, and performance conversations
3. Program reach: 70% of leaders across the organization were trained in live sessions
4. Employee engagement: with improved leadership skills, the 2019 employee voice survey indicates leaders are +10% more engaged and that +21% of employees say there are more opportunites for career growth and they receive more feedback from managers compared to 2017.
5. Business impact: Leaders aligned on culture, expectations, and improved skills on lifecycle of an employee
6. Overall satisfaction rating: 4.8/5
7. Just-in-Time Delivery: Timing aligned to business cycle and delivered to whole organization quickly
8. Brought efficiency:
-Supporting leaders on key skills and processes made them more effective
-Manager effectiveness allows HR to focus on higher priorities for the organization