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Off-the-shelf leadership training needs a rethink


It’s common knowledge that every individual is different. We are all unique in multiple ways and in a professional capacity, the tools we need to perform at our best in work will vary. And while it’s arguably well-accepted that tailored training is needed for less experienced staff, we can’t overlook the fact that our leadership teams need an equally individual development programme.

Training our senior staff

As our high performing people work their way up the ranks, it can be all too easy to forget that they too are still learning and will need continued support and training throughout their career. But the fact is, these individuals will in turn be responsible for the development of their successors and the wider teams who will drive the future success of the organisation.

Ensuring effective training is delivered at senior level, then, is critically important. However, one thing that we’ve found at the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) as we support our members’ staff development planning is that off-the-shelf or generalist training doesn’t work for everyone, particularly those leading teams.

This has arguably become more important during the pandemic as the way we work and lead our teams was turned upside down as mass remote working was introduced and teams adapted to operating with some peers on furlough. Never before has it been so important to provide guidance and development programmes that are suitable for the environment we’re operating in now and highly tailored at both a sector and organisation level.

That’s one of the many reasons why APSCo is committed to constantly reviewing and adapting the training support that is on offer for our members – and this year that included updating our Recruitment Leader Programme with the CMI.

A globally recognised approach

The programme combines a mix of project briefings, feedback, progress updates and individual coaching sessions – all of which has been tailored to be delivered in a virtual environment. The mix modules provide leaders with a range of skills, including the ability to effectively communicate and engage their teams, a performance management toolkit, best practice guidance on coaching others, inspiring teams and much more.

Perhaps more importantly, though, the programme is recognised by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) - a leading provider of Management and Leadership courses – and individuals will leave with CMI Certificate in Management. As the only chartered professional body in the field of Management and Leadership, the CMI are recognised by organisations globally as the ‘gold standard’ for Management training – making this module highly relevant in today’s globally-connected business environment.

Proving it works

While delivering this leadership training in the midst of a pandemic has certainly been challenging, it has helped prepare numerous leaders in staffing companies develop the skills they need to lead their business into recovery and beyond. And one of the most widely cited positives of the course was the fact that the trainer knew the sector well and delivered a programme that was relevant to each company and individual.

As Jackie Whateley, Regional Director at Pertemps Professional Recruitment – one of the firms that has benefitted from the programme – explained:


“We have a team with a mixed skillset and had identified individuals who had great leadership potential. It became clear that there was a need to help equip them with the skills they needed to get themselves to the next level – and it wasn’t something we felt should be managed in-house. Having a tailored approach to our leadership training that was provided by someone who knew our sector well really appealed to us and has been crucial in making it work for the team. Using the APSCo FastTrack CMI Leadership Development Programme, we had access to a trainer who knew the recruitment arena well and was able to tailor the course based on this knowledge. She also took the time to listen to our views on what we needed and really got to know our business. This meant that the training was designed to support every individual to achieve their best so in turn they can further succeed within Pertemps.”

Agile training for an agile world

While the roll out of a Covid vaccine drives some business optimism, we can’t overlook the fact that once we are able to return to work, what this will look like will be very different than it was pre-pandemic. Agility and flexibility will be the keywords in the future, and for leadership teams, this means that their approach to managing and coaching teams will need to adapt and change constantly. In order to equip them with the skills to lead in an uncertain post-Covid world, they need access to highly-relevant and tailored training.


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