M&G is one of the largest fund managers in the UK, managing the investments of more than 500,000 clients across Europe. It was acquired by Prudential in 1999 but operates as an autonomous business within the Prudential Group. M&G – formerly known as Municipal & General Securities – employs 800 staff across two main locations in London and Chelmsford, as well as a broker network across the UK.
When M&G and Prudential’s existing fund management businesses were integrated to create a single fund management brand, there was an extensive review of training and development. A number of requirements were identified, centred around compliance, investment, mandatory induction and business awareness issues, as well as providing learning opportunities for all staff.
SkillGate is a global e-learning company that provides internet-based, continuous professional training on a hosted service basis. It had already provided M&G with its Active eMail learning package a few years earlier.
M&G decided to retain SkillGate’s learning infrastructure and develop it as part of a blended learning solution. The first step was to move the SkillGate system from being an intranet to an internet-based hosted solution.
“We have a mobile workforce and a number of offices here and abroad. It was a priority for us to enable staff to access training, knowledge management and knowledge sharing remotely via the internet,” explains Gareth Jones, head of organisation development at M&G. “Knowledge is a key driver in our industry – we don’t want staff disappearing into a niche within the company. We want them to understand the broader picture in which we operate.”
The SkillGate platform incorporates three key modules: eBriefing library, eProgramme training and TestEd. It can handle a mixture of SkillGate’s generic content and in-house tailored material on industry specific issues such as regulation and investment.
SkillGate’s ability to turn around updated content quickly and inexpensively, without the burden of costly updates, was a major benefit, says Jones: “It can be an extremely costly exercise adding and deleting content to e-learning systems. One of our biggest challenges in this fast-moving market isn’t just updating content, but how to get rid of stuff we aren’t using.”
All staff have access to the training, whether office-based or via remote PCs and staff on the road can access training e-mails via Blackberry devices. Bite-size, step-by-step training proved especially effective, allowing staff to study around their work.
M&G still uses instructor-led training, with a 60% classroom and 40% online training ratio.
M&G has achieved 100% access to the learning and this has led to 100% compliance training testing. The company is continuing to focus on bespoke online training to enhance product awareness to customer-facing staff.
Infinity General Ability
Assessment specialist PSL has developed Infinity General Ability, a range of online verbal and numerical reasoning tests, specifically to help organisations recruit and develop candidates educated up to and including A-level or equivalent.
Monster Worldwide, parent company of online careers site Monster, is expanding its monthly Monster Employment Index with country-specific data measuring online job demand in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK. Findings will be based on job posting data collected from Monster and more than 1,400 selected websites.
Global HR outsourcer Ceridian is expanding its multinational payroll services to more than 35 countries and plans to exceed 50 countries by the end of the year. It allows companies operating worldwide to work with a single provider for payroll needs.
Product of the month: Knowledge High Performance
What is it?
An integrated suite of web-based software products for managing human capital. It brings together talent management, performance management, skills management, training management, purchase and administration. It can measure employee job competencies and carry out skills audits and then choose the training or learning required.
Who’s developed it?
KnowledgePool is a technology and learning services provider, which has around 40 years’ experience in the training industry. It manages millions of pounds worth of training each year for clients.
What else can it do?
Improve succession planning and staff retention, identify talent pools, track career aspirations and match capabilities and competencies more closely to jobs. It also provides a course search booking component (Livebooker) that lets you search for relevant courses (in-house, third-party or online).
How much and where can I get more info?
Pricing is based on a cost per user, per annum basis, dependent on volume. Because it is an ASP-based solution there is no software or set-up cost unless you require customisation.
More than three in 10 organisations (30.2%) that are considering implementing flexible benefits say that they plan to use specialist online benefits software to administer the scheme, according to Thomson Online Benefits Employee Rewards Watch 2005 survey. Only 3.8% are planning to run a paper-based administration process, compared with 27% in 2004.
Despite this, there is still plenty of paperwork to do. Of those surveyed with no benefits in place, 21% said they would administer them using a paper-based system run by their own employees if they were to implement a scheme.
“It is astonishing that there is so much paper still around. Although the internet is used throughout business, there is still a lack of understanding about how powerful it is,” says Michael Whitfield, managing director of Thomson Online Benefits. “It’s like when people use a word processing package – they only really use around 5% of what it can do.
“With benefits, it is making that paradigm shift from away from ‘this is the way we’ve always done it’ to deciding to use technology to drive the message across.”
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Top sites for leadership
Online home of the former Scots Guard who became the world’s first Professor of Leadership Studies at the University of Surrey. This practical website offers self-diagnostic tools in areas such as decision-making and problem-solving.
Institute of Leadership & Management
An awarding body that aims to build leadership expertise at individual, team and organisational level. The site provides a search engine for finding your nearest ILM centre and members can access the site’s resource centre. Find out about its courses and qualifications, learning support and membership benefits.
Centre for Leadership Studies
Exeter University is a centre of excellence when it comes to leadership and its activities range from teaching and research to consulting. You can view abstracts of its publications and find out about its coursesand resources.
The Leadership Trust
An educational charitable trust whose focus is now more on the programmes provided through its training company, but you can find out about grants and bursaries here, as well as its MBA with Leadership Studies.
The new work-based pensions regulatory body is up and running. Useful sections include Codes and Guidance, where you can download content in pdf format on a range of topics or find out how you can respond to draft codes. There’s a register of all the stakeholder pension schemes that have been set up in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.