McCann Worldgroup, UK – creating a unified approach to talent development

McCann Worldgroup - a shared framework

The new CEO at McCann Worldgroup, UK recognised that to stay ahead in the fast-moving world of advertising its agency network in this market needed to adopt a unified approach to nurturing talent.

With each of the 9 UK businesses having its own unique culture, practices and heritage, McCann Worldgroup, UK needed a partner who could help them to move away from individual approaches to talent management, to create a common framework to identify, accelerate and retain talented people.

EMEA Learning and Development Director Ewa Priestley comments, “Our ultimate goal was to drive integration at the human level, break down organisational silos to share best practice and create a level playing-field for moving ambitious employees into management roles.”

We’re seeing greater openness and a readiness to share business development opportunities across the group.

Ewa Priestley, Learning and Development Director, EMEA, McCann Worldgroup, UK

Gaining commitment from the businesses

Ewa says, “We were impressed by Lane4’s approach to our challenges and soon felt comfortable working with them. They quickly tapped into who we are as a marketing communications business, so that the resulting programme had practical relevance for our people across all disciplines.”

To avoid imposing a top-down framework, Lane4 undertook in-depth consultations with senior leaders and CEOs across the 9 UK agencies, exploring the strategic imperatives and future challenges that leaders in the business must be equipped to meet. Focus groups with employees followed to understand the audience for the development programme. Key clients were also interviewed on the likely evolution of their requirements.

The programme was a first for McCann Worldgroup in the UK market. To support current leaders in managing the new approach and rolling out the new development process, Lane4 created a ‘toolkit’. This provided a structured framework for identifying potential and holding meaningful conversations with employees around their development, with detailed information on talent management best practice.

Commenting on the programme, Ewa Priestley says, “Talented employees now feel recognised and supported. They appreciate the investment we are making in their development and are benefiting from consistent support to achieve their career ambitions. We’re seeing greater openness and a readiness to share business development opportunities as they build cross-agency networks and form trusting relationships across the group.”

Support from the top

McCann’s senior managers are fully committed to the programme and are contributing to its success.

They are actively involved in a new mentoring scheme, whereby they coach and guide employees from a different business and discipline. Lane4 has also trained the HR team at McCann Worldgroup, UK to continue coaching and assessment in-house.

Ewa’s impressions of Lane4 have proved well founded: “It’s a partnership of equals. We regard Lane4 as a valued extension of our team, knowledgeable partners who listen to and understand our needs. They are on hand and responsive at all times, flexible in meeting our challenges and creative about making best use of our budget to help us retain and develop the talent we need to succeed.”

Key benefits of the programme

  • A group-wide framework for identifying and developing leadership competencies
  • 100% retention to date of all programme participants
  • A new culture of collaboration, with a shared growth objective for the group
  • 100% retention to date of all programme participants.

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