Case study

Embedding A Customized Model Of Potential Within A UK Consumer Goods Company


The client is one of the UK’s largest retailers. It was founded in 1869 and employs around 161,000 colleagues. The retailer operates over 1,200 supermarkets and convenience stores across the UK and focuses on putting customers at the heart of everything they do: they invest in people, stores and channels to deliver the best possible shopping experience. Their strong culture and values are part of their identity and integral to their success.

YSC Consulting was selected to partner with the retailer to design and embed a tailored model of potential, enabling them to accurately identify, develop and retain their talent and maintain a sustainable leadership pipeline to reach its long-term strategic goals.

YSC have partnered with them in the talent, leadership, performance and culture space for over ten years. To design their model of potential, YSC ran a workshop with senior leaders and HR to draw out the key concerns, future expectations and talent requirements for the organization. This information, along with existing data that had been gathered over time from assessing company leaders, was analyzed and used in the initial design of the model.


The retailer had a goal to be the most trusted retailer where people love to work and shop. For this to be realised they knew that they needed to get the very best from their people – both in terms of current performance and potential to grow and to meet the future business challenges.

To make this a reality, they needed a simple, rigorous way to identify, measure and grow people.

There were inconsistencies in the language used across the business for defining high potential and a need to understand how to develop and grow talent.

There was a need to retain the best talent and signal to them that they have a future with the company and to help them fulfil their ambition.

YSC was able to provide insight into the specific qualities most indicative of potential:

  • YSC ran a workshop with senior leaders and HR to explore future market trends, company strategy, and requirements for future leaders to be successful.
  • YSC were further able to apply professional insight and contemporary research to build a tailored model of potential for the retailer.
  • Validation of the model was done in review with key stakeholders.

The retailer worked with YSC to embed their model of potential. This was done through educating managers and employees and providing tools and resources to support managers throughout the business. These included the creation of potential checklists, development guides, coaching support for managers and psychometric assessments to feed into the process of potential identification.

YSC’s relationship with the retailer has grown to include leadership development programs, design of behavioral frameworks and being instrumental in supporting with organizational culture change.

YSC is in the process of rolling out a 360° questionnaire aligned with the Model of Potential that will be used to further embed the model across the organization.

“YSC was an important partner in helping us achieve [our strategic goals]. They challenged our thinking – particularly at board level – helping us to examine our culture and working practices with objectivity and a fresh perspective. Importantly – we felt that YSC was committed to us and our success. They genuinely cared about our vision, our people and our brand, making them invaluable partners and great people to deal with.”

HR Director