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A Business Partner’s view:

We don’t just focus on hiring new people at FCDO Services. Our Talent and Development Team are passionate about helping each and every colleague reach their potential within the business, whether that means carving a path to leadership, becoming an expert in their field or learning new skills that can help them to improve their everyday work.

To give you first-hand insight on what this involves, we spoke to one of our Talent and Development Business Partners for her take on how we nurture talent within each team, and what makes FCDO Services a brilliant place to grow professionally:

“My role is primarily aimed at developing people across the business, not only to make sure we can deliver for our customers, but also to nurture talent from within; helping our colleagues to reach their own goals for success. Alongside this, I have also had the chance to grow and develop in my own role, progressing within the team and with the opportunity to work on new and exciting projects to improve our talent offering.  

One of the best parts of my role is being able to interact with people. As we’re a small team, we can get involved with lots of different projects which I love. Being able to work with the business to discuss the development needs of their teams, and sourcing/developing  learning activities that directly relates to what the business needs and has an impact on our customer offering is really rewarding. Also, seeing individuals progress and grow is something I really enjoy, supporting them in, helping them to build their development plans and making sure that they have access to the right development at the right time.

“It’s inspiring and motivational to help people with their careers.”

Currently, I am leading on two new talent initiatives designed to help make sure we’re nurturing the potential of everyone at FCDO Services. The first is the Leadership Potential programme. Here, managers identify members of their teams who have the necessary competence, contribution, commitment and aspiration to become a future leader within the business. This can be anyone from an Engineer to a Project Manager, HR Manager or a Finance Business Partner. After an online assessment we’ve designed and set up, those who are successful will join our Leadership Academy for 12 months of learning which is tailored to their aspirations and development plans, and will help make sure they’re ready to take on a leadership role in the future.

Secondly, we’re also launching a Professional Talent Development programme to help us identify and develop our future subject matter experts; so for example, people who are currently in more technical roles, like Electricians or Design Engineers, people who want to stay in a technical role, but still progress in their careers. By offering this alongside our leadership programme, it helps us to make sure that everyone can achieve their goals, keep learning and continue progressing in a way that suits them and their skills. It’s all about building an environment where everyone has the chance to grow and where there isn’t a limit to their learning. It also means we’re building a strong foundation for the future of our business, with the right leaders in place, but also with the right technical experts in place to keep delivering secure services for our customers.

I also work on our broader Corporate Learning Programme which is available to all of our colleagues. From writing and presenting skills to personal impact and brand, to health and safety training, we offer learning events on generic skills which many of our managers want their team members to have access to in order to develop in their roles.

“The pandemic brought up a lot of challenges but has also been an interesting opportunity to look at how we deliver learning.”

Over the last year it has been interesting to see how we have managed to adapt our learning techniques and develop our programme to work online. So for example, rather than doing a full day workshop, we have changed it to two half days online and made sure that our programmes are as interactive as possible  for participants. This allows the learning to fit around peoples’ lives and to make sure that they aren’t sitting in front of a screen all day. We now do a lot of work through Microsoft Teams and we’re exploring how we can use it and other digital platforms to create more immersive learning experiences.  

By going online with our learning, our global workforce has really benefitted too. Rather than travelling long distances to take part in person, they can access our learning programme from anywhere. Not only does this allow them to be more involved, but it has also exposed our UK based colleagues to different perspectives. For example, a senior manager in Bangkok can take part with their UK-based peers and give their take on challenges which our UK colleagues might not have encountered before. This gives us a fresh take on things which our people can use and learn from each other.

Ultimately, we have managed to turn a negative into a positive by taking the opportunity to review and improve our learning offerings during the pandemic. And the feedback from our people, and our global workforce in particular, is that they have really enjoyed this new approach of learning online.

“We need to hear voices of all people across the business, especially those who feel their voice might not be heard.”

I am also proud to have led on our Reverse Mentoring Programme which we introduced last year in support of our wider diversity strategy. This gave our colleagues who identify as being from an ethnic minority a chance to share their views with our executive board. While the concept is relatively new, we were able to tap into our networks across government to find out how other departments had taken this forward, which was really helpful. 
Working with an external mentoring expert, we trained a group of volunteers who carried out 1:1 reverse mentoring with our executive board, including our CEO. We can see the real value in reverse mentoring as it gives exposure to voices that our senior leaders might not otherwise hear and offers them different perspectives.

The learning worked both ways, though.  Being the mentor had huge benefits for the individuals involved, giving them the confidence that they are being listened to, building their communication skills and offering them the chance to share insights into their experience. It’s all in a very trusted environment, too.

Diversity and inclusion is an important part of our broader diversity strategy, so we help our colleagues with National Inclusion Week and other similar projects, making sure our colleagues know where to go to learn about particular subjects.  As part of our Corporate Training Programme, we also have a strong  emphasis on dignity at work so we’ve held some excellent  workshops to help managers and colleagues, making the very most of actors in recognisable scenarios.

Working at FCDO Services allows everyone to reach their full potential and I enjoy helping people to connect in the business that otherwise might not have come across each other. With so much coaching, mentoring and learning available, it’s a very inspiring place to work and gives our people the skills they need to be their best.”