Grafton Merchanting nurtures new leaders

For Grafton Merchanting ROI (GMROI), finding and keeping talent is no longer just a HR challenge, but a strategic business priority, according to Gareth McGrane, Head of HR GMROI. Because leaders are in short supply, GMROI recognised that developing and equipping future leaders of the business would require a significant investment.

The company set about designing a Leadership Academy to ensure that it had a pipeline of talent ready, willing and able to lead and manage. From an analysis of its own high achievers, GMROI identified the following leadership competencies: emotional intelligence; interpersonal skills; social intelligence; decision-making; conflict management; entrepreneurship; influencing skills; ambition; and area expertise.

Following research and analysis, the company then identified the key aspects of the design of the Academy: succession planning; the creation of a talent pipeline; a job-ready focus; an industry-specific approach; and motivated and engaged participants. In addition, Gareth noted, it was imperative that the Academy was designed not only to deliver classroom learnings, but also action and blended learning. “A partnership with the Institute of Leadership and Management enabled us to gain a City & Guilds Diploma.” He continued: “We engaged the services of a leading business psychologist to design and evaluate a one-day assessment centre for 50 applicants.”

In conjunction with the Assessment Centre, the applicants also underwent a TalentQ Dimension psychometric test. In total, 26 shortlisted applicants proceeded through an interview process. A competency-based interview was used to assess competencies such as interpersonal skills, leadership, attitude and behaviours. Candidates were ranked appropriately and the final 14 were chosen. The subsequent delivery of the individual modules took place over an 18-month period and was designed around 22 modules of two- and three-day duration.

The module schedule was deliberately designed as a development road map with key learnings at specific junctions, culminating in a two-day team building and leadership module held in Killary Adventure Centre. All 14 participants graduated at a ceremony in Carton House Hotel on 23rd October, 2015. Gareth sums up the results of the Academy Programme: “This Leadership Academy required significant investment in both time and resources, but the return on investment is significant.”