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Case Study: Developing Young Talent at Metro


Metro Cash and Carry International, best known for its Makro brand in the UK, has recently launched its Young Internationals Programme (YIP) to help develop and retain the talent it holds among its younger members of staff.

In order to take part staff must be under 30, a permanent member of staff, have been with the company for three years and speak English fluently.

The final condition is a necessary one - not only to ensure that the staff can operate in a global marketplace but also with 12 nationalities participating, common language is undoubtedly essential.

No development programme for younger employees had previously been in existence in the business, but the company had realised that it had to provide a stimulus to retain the interest and loyalty of its junior management as well as avoid the frequent job-hopping common among this level of employee.

The company selected Contour Consulting to help it develop its programme.

Retaining Talent

Neil Middleton, the founder of Contour Consulting explained: “We have seen companies putting considerable investment into graduate employees only to find that they leave after gaining their entry level experience.

"Companies who are now wanting to be employers of choice are recognising that recruiting these people in the first place is only the first chapter in the story and that they need to provide them with a culture of continual training and development or they will move to a company that can provide it.

"More businesses are also recognising that it isn’t the techniques of the job that are crucial but core transferable skills which can be applied across disciplines”.

Svenja Harpich on the steering group that established the YIP at Metro explained that the company decided to opt for a 12-month modular course.

“Our six part programme combines the use of external and internal trainers, but all modules aim to instil practical knowledge with transferability across business fields as evidenced by the three Contour Consulting modules of facilitation and change, leadership
and working in teams."

The modular approach is designed to provide a cumulative training experience.

Over the year participants add to their skills and return to the workplace.

International Business
While one course component is particularly aimed at intercultural differences, the next generation of Metro leadership are able to take advantage of Neil Middleton’s international business expertise.

“This was vital for team building during the duration of the course,” said Svenja Harpich. “But perhaps more importantly it will allow the young professionals to readily embark on their own international career paths with a better understanding of what to expect in a variety of business situations.”

With the first graduates of the YIP now ready to set out on these careers, the course has become a fixture on the Metro Group management development agenda.

Early course participants are now enthusiastically taking up the role of coach in facilitating courses and helping new delegates to follow the programme.


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