YSC's role was to help Thomson Reuters build a strong pipeline of future talent.
Thomson Reuters is the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. Based in New York, it has 55,000 employees in more than 100 countries. The group’s diverse businesses are united by a common mission: to provide customers with the information and tools they need to make better decisions faster. The main sales thrust is that the right information in the right hands leads to amazing things. They call this ‘The Knowledge Effect’. Smartly, Thomson Reuters’ position on intelligent information mirrors its approach to talent. The philosophy underpinning all the work it does to nurture talent throughout the organisation is transparency: individuals being clear and honest about who they are as leaders, what they are good at, and how they need to develop. As a business, Thomson Reuters strives to have real, authentic conversations.
To achieve its growth strategy, Thomson Reuters needed to use the full range of assets across the group. Partnering with YSC, the goal has been to provide leaders with a deep, insightful, enlightening and individually-oriented development experience. There are two additional drivers:
- To round out the overall executive development offering. Thomson Reuters already has a raft of initiatives – including top team development and effectiveness work, stretch projects, and direct exposure to the board. The missing component was rich, personalised individual development.
- To inform and support succession management making it more robust, honest and up-to-date.
Thomson Reuters wanted to take a true partnership approach so it was decided that one of the company’s qualified internal assessors would pair up with a YSC business psychologist to work with each executive. Participants are selected by the CEO and Group HRD from the executive succession pool. The initiative combines candid dialogue and feedback with a follow-up consultation with key voices in the business – such as team members, peers, senior influencers and clients – to gather additional insights about the individual’s leadership brand.
It is a fully collaborative approach. The aim is not to ‘provide a report’, but rather to build insights that the person owns and recognises as a true reflection of themselves. The outputs are then used to inform development planning for executives in their current roles or, in many cases, a transition to a new role. The insights gathered during the whole process are also used to inform succession management discussions and recommendations.
An innovative aspect of the process is ‘the playback’. We brought key insights to life by creating audio narratives from the feedback, recorded by actors. Even better, it’s not a one-time intervention. The internal assessors have an ongoing relationship with the executives to support their development journey. A core objective within Strategic Talent at Thomson Reuters is for senior HR leaders to spend more time intimately knowing key talent. This work has enabled that to happen. The result, from the reactions of senior leader participants, was that the scheme has been a big hit. Leaders gained deeper self-awareness and a clearer understanding of their strengths and development opportunities. There was also support for the way it provided a platform for more honest conversations and greater access to the CEO.
“…I gained deep insight, not only into the ‘what’ I needed to change, but also into the ‘why’.”
“…I can see that our culture is changing. Past notions of hierarchy and structure are changing and so are the traditional perceptions of executive development and impact.”
“…I am really impressed with the time, energy and focus we are putting into talent development. My internal assessor had insights and empathy with our business that I didn’t expect.”
“From our own perspective, the YSC assessors proved excellent partners – collaborative yet challenging and prepared to adapt their approach to suit our needs. Partnering with YSC has brought significant value to our executives. They appreciate the input and insights from highly qualified and experienced external assessors alongside the continuity of ongoing deep and rich conversations with internal assessors. They can already feel that this approach is markedly different from anything they’ve experienced before.”