EDF Energy (EDFE) is one of the UK’s largest energy companies, producing around a fifth of the nation’s electricity from its nuclear, coal and gas power stations, as well as combined heat and power plants and wind farms. YSC were asked to design and co-deliver an assessment centre at both the Emerging and Experienced level to be run alongside existing EDF Energy talent processes. The assessment centres would be used to validate decisions about key talent.

Challenge

EDFE wanted to put in place a more rigorous and structured approach to talent identification, assessment and development. They wished to partner with a ‘best in class’ supplier who would work flexibly with them to help build in-house capability, processes and tools to supplement (not replace) existing tools.

EDFE stipulated that they would prefer a blended delivery approach of internal and external resource. We provided training to the EDFE Talent Team who would act as assessors and also on-going coaching and calibration at the assessment centre. EDFE recognised that external support in developing assessment tools and capability in measuring their talent would ensure accuracy, consistency and a common language. The common threads to the assessments were the leadership behaviours that need to be present to transition through their levels of leadership.

Not only did the assessment centres need to be robust, but they also needed to reflect EDFE’s organisation and the business challenges they face. We approached the assessment design in partnership with EDFE. We provide the psychological rigour and edge, whilst working with EDFE to ensure that the context and assessment demands ‘fit’ with their business, culture and strategic goals.

Solution

We designed and delivered assessor training and a two day event that incorporated a range of assessment and developmentally-focused activities. We were clear that given the importance of keeping talent engaged by this process and future career development, we needed to complement assessment with an insightful personal experience that enabled participants to capture ‘in the moment’ learning and build self-insight. The activities were all set in the same organisation that had similar strategic priorities and business challenges as EDFE.

Activities consisted of a psychometric interview, moment of truth presentation, coaching role play, group discussion, analysis presentation, group crisis and presentation and a self-development session. These exercises were supported by bespoke user-friendly and robust assessor guides that helped assessors focus on the leadership behaviours exhibited in the activities.

The two day event was followed by a feedback session jointly run with internal and YSC resource to ensure development was owned by the individual and the business.

Results

The assessment centres provided stretch and challenge out of participants’ comfort zone but also gave them an opportunity to reflect on their leadership journey and aspirations. Participants left feeling energised about their career and development at EDFE and committed to embedding the feedback messages and learnings they experienced. The other benefit was the data the Talent Team held on the individuals, this would help inform individual and group development as well as succession planning into the wider EDF Group.

“We partnered with YSC to assist us in the design and implementation of our Leadership Assessment Centres at EDF Energy. YSC have demonstrated their true expertise in this area, helping us to design and develop a meaningful and in-depth assessment process for two distinct levels of leadership that complements our talent strategy. They have shown a good understanding of our needs, helping us to balance our internal stakeholders without any compromise to quality or objectivity of the process. It has been a bespoke and professional service.” – Assessment & Development Manager