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Supporting Careers at Tube Lines

“We need to retain our talented people and help them progress” – Amanda Whiteford, Tube Lines

Tube Lines Case Study

The problem

“The background to our decision to work with Talent & Potential was that our employee surveys were telling us that lack of career development was a source of dissatisfaction, and we wanted to address that.  We are also focusing strongly on retention at the moment, and filling more positions internally. When we identify people with talent, we want to make sure they stay and progress. We wanted to show people at all levels from graduates to senior managers how to take control of their own careers and find, create or negotiate internal opportunities.”

Approach

“With graduates, I particularly like the way Talent & Potential make them feel empowered.  It’s about pointing out how much they can actually do for themselves in terms of managing their careers. These skills don't necessarily come intuitively to people, and they are not skills you'll find on any school curriculum. In fact, universities tend to set you up to believe that now that you have this wonderful qualification, you’ll automatically progress rapidly.  

For both graduates and middle managers, HR can provide opportunities for people to be more visible outside their directorate, but there is a limit to what I can do for them – they really need the self-sufficiency and skills to raise their own profile – and that’s where the Drive Your Career! workshop comes in.

For senior managers, I think there are different problems.  There are limited opportunities for direct upwards progression, and people need to have a clear vision of what they want, and to think creatively about sideways or diagonal moves.  They also need to decide what they really want, before pushing for top positions; understanding the implications—what does this actually mean to the rest of my life, what impact will it have, do I really want what I think I want?

Senior managers also have to step into quite a different role when they move up. Strategy kicks in in a more real way, you need to bring stakeholders and clients with you, and you are operating in a much more public arena, where the ramifications of getting it wrong can be more serious.

Talent & Potential interviewed our CEO and Directors prior to creating a bespoke career programme that encouraged them to stop, think, and reassess both what they want, and how they need to act as leaders at the very top. The Senior Drive Your Career programme was delivered to a small group of senior managers in a series of short sessions followed by dinner with Directors.  In addition, T&P’s career expert provided a Motivational Profile report and 1-2-1 time with each individual, which was very well received. We are constantly renewing and refreshing this programme with T&P so that it is totally up to date.”

Results

“Our main reason for choosing Talent & Potential was that Drive Your Career! really pushes home the message that people have to be responsible for their own careers, and gives practical tools and ideas for action that allow people to do this. So far, 100% of participants have given Drive Your Career! Excellent or Good ratings.  We wanted our people to feel empowered to take advantage of opportunities for internal movement – and that is definitely happening.

Our senior managers have also given a very warm reception to their programme.  One senior manager said “This training was the best ever!  It has given me the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle that allows me to understand what I need to do to progress to more senior positions.  You are going to see a new Tooraj going forward!”

My View

“I feel that support from your employer for your career is good, but it doesn’t end there. Employees need to take ownership and drive their careers for themselves. It's about saying, 'Well, what about your involvement in this, your responsibility? It’s your life, your career.' So many people avoid those conversations, but Talent & Potential don't – instead, you handle them constructively."

Amanda Whiteford, Tube Lines