Liz Headey: how I made a difference

I joined TMP Worldwide last May, about a year after it separated from its parent company Monster in a management buyout. We have just under 500 employees, scattered throughout the UK and Ireland. I head a team of five, all relatively new to the company.

When I arrived, although there was learning and development in place, it wasn’t linked to our business objectives. I was keen to create a link, so that we could start to demonstrate a return on investment, and we identified four key areas to aim for: satisfying our customers, maximising our profit, developing our people and increasing our efficiency.

We undertook a management needs analysis. We linked back to those four areas, asking senior managers to rate themselves against them. Those initial discussions helped us scope out our requirements, so that any training and development we did for our senior managers was aligned with both their personal needs and with what the business needs from them to be successful.

The first programme we’ve run as part of our management development initiative was entitled ‘Managing Talented People’. We guided our managers through the recruitment process, inductions, through the probationary period to productivity and reward. It was important that the managers weren’t out of the business for too long, so we delivered the training in two hour-long chunks. We started at the beginning of December.

It’s still very much ongoing. The next thing we did, which was a very simple thing, was to provide our line managers with appraisal training. We’re also rolling out a new induction programme. We expect the whole programme to take about 18 months, and it will be a cascade approach – we will train the level below senior management next.

We’ve also launched a life skills bursary, whereby every employee across the business can apply for a grant towards something not necessarily connected to their work – from wine-tasting to acting. We’ve put together an awarding panel, so that it isn’t seen as a corporate initiative. I think it’s important for people to see that the company recognises personal development.

I’ve been involved very closely in our learning and development initiative, from working with the managers, to putting together the framework, analysing the results, planning the training and setting objectives – right from the start. The nice thing about my role is that it’s a big enough organisation to do things that are challenging, but small enough that you can get involved and actually see the results.

Liz Headey, HR director, TMP Worldwide

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