Case study

Introducing A Sustainable Talent Development Program With Hiscox


Our client is a global specialist insurer, underwriting personal and business risk.

To enhance the effectiveness of their leadership population, and to drive a joined-up talent development strategy going forward, they sought to:

  1. Establish a framework of what ‘great leadership’ looked like, using it as a basis for a bespoke development center for their Band 3 and 4 leaders.
  2. Design a leadership program to strike a balance between assessment and development with the aim of:
  • Sharpening the organization’s insight into Band 3 and 4 populations both individually and collectively.
  • Identifying who is ready for promotion.
  • Tailoring specific interventions to support each person’s ongoing development.
  • Generating insight for individuals and a rich understanding of their own ability to develop.
  • Enabling the business to manage the process independently over time.

Framework Design:

There were a number of key steps to develop a clear picture of the typical expectations and capabilities at different levels within the business.

We interviewed multiple key stakeholders across the business to explore:

  • Key challenges facing both the business and the organization.
  • The underlying business strategy.
  • Organizational DNA.
  • What kinds of leaders do well in the business.
  • What performance measures for spotting potential were currently in place.

After the framework was established we needed to ensure buy-in and create a common language around its use. It was syndicated with key stakeholders to test relevance and accessibility and shaped iteratively in partnership with the business, ensuring much of the language remained true with the organizations culture and values.

Development Center Design & Delivery:

We trained internal resources to act as observer coaches and facilitators, enhancing their skills and increasing their knowledge of the talent pool within the business. The observer pool was drawn from the Partner population and could also be available to act as mentors to individuals as part of the development phase of the program.

The two-day centers consisted of exercises around core elements such as visioning & shaping the strategy as well as peer coaching, development planning and 360° feedback.

On-going Development

After the center, individuals had an individual feedback and development planning session with their internal observer and HR. The objective was to leave individuals with:

  • A clear understanding of their strengths and opportunities for further development.
  • A development plan template to document their key goals and actions.
  • Specific suggestions for how they could further build on their spike strengths and address areas of development.

Our work was positively received through an innovative, high tempo, yet pragmatic approach to design. The framework, first launched across 2009/10, is now thoroughly embedded and the development centers continue to run on an annual basis.

In particular, our work helped the organization get much closer to its key talent, obtaining a nuanced readout on individuals in terms of their capabilities, strengths and development challenges, in relation to a consistent framework. In a fast-paced and complex operating environment which relies heavily on strong technical expertise, our work also enabled individuals to carve out the time and space to reflect on their leadership journey, and to embed their learning immediately.