Reach for an Oxford Dictionary, and you’ll find that a ‘virtuoso’ is: ‘a person highly skilled in music or another artistic pursuit’. We particularly like the second part of this definition, because we view the ability of our managers to lead, achieve and inspire as an art.
In 2017, the Impellam Virtuoso programme came into being, recognising that it is our managers who make the difference in building trust, relationships and better futures for our clients and candidates. Since the launch, around 400 managers have experienced the programme.
‘Experienced’ is the word; our Virtuoso programme is not about conventional, fact-driven classroom training. Jill Thornton, Director of Group Talent, explains: “The Virtuoso programme alters perspectives, helps our people to think laterally, and brings about a shift in mindsets to truly unlock potential.”
“Being a Virtuoso is all about tuning into customers to uncover their real concerns and challenges. Impellam’s programme enables our people to lead better conversations with all clients and candidates, conversations that matter and drive innovative, agile staffing solutions and provide good, fulfilling work,” explains Jill.
Crucially, Virtuosity provides a framework that allows Impellam people to make bold, transformational promises and senior management to support them. The framework uses open communication to allow people to identify when their promise is drifting, and to ask for help and feedback without fear of failure.
Jill continues: “Over a nine-month period, Virtuosos undergo workshops and one-to-one coaching, starting with helping them to gain the clearest vision of their promise. In turn, they then work backwards to define what it will take, the skillsets needed and, critically, the infectious passion to enrol and engage their teams. Only with them on board can they deliver on their promise.”
Lorien, our technology focused recruitment brand acquired in 2014, embraced the Virtuoso programme with nine managers in its first cohort. Claire Marsh, CEO, explains: “We already knew we had real talent within the business. Virtuosity has allowed us to put trust in our managers and really show what they can do to move the business forward. It gives people the freedom to take ownership for initiatives that they are passionate about.”
Ashton Arnold is Client Services Director at Lorien, and she started the Virtuoso programme in June 2017. She believes the Virtuoso mindset stretched and challenged her and her team, contributing to finishing the year 92% ahead of plan. Ashton worked closely with her team, sharing the vision, gaining their buy-in and commitment, and exciting them on what could be achieved. Along the way, they saw the value of improved communication, clear milestones and individual accountability.
Ashton concludes: “The Virtuoso culture we all adopted as a team required self-reflection, belief and business acumen, and we delivered the benefit to our customers, our candidates and ourselves.”
Virtuosos also own initiatives that fall outside of ‘business as usual’ but contribute to providing a sustainable business with fulfilling roles for its people. This includes a mentoring programme, with twelve mentees already signed up in Lorien. “Virtuoso has already helped us move beyond cost and outcome to a focus on where we want to get to. It’s allowing us to better align investment to strategy,” says Claire Marsh, “It’s been a huge shift in realising potential and value.”