Hannelie Meintjies, Director, L&D, EMEA
It’s always good to know when we’re doing a great job.
So, it was fantastic news that our Learning and Development team recently won a Bronze Stevie® Award for best leadership programme in the annual Stevie Awards for Great Employers.
The award was for our Mid-level Leadership GROWTH program, and is testament to the commitment and hard work that members of the L & D team put in.
The Stevie Awards for Great Employers recognize the world’s best employers and the human resources professionals, teams, products and suppliers that help create and drive great places to work.
Our award recognises that, while many companies offer “career growth opportunities” as part of their recruitment strategies, we have worked hard to make that commitment to our people a reality.
It’s a program that the L&D team at SYKES EMEA started in 2015 to identify and develop internal candidates in preparation for stepping into mid-level leadership positions.
Instead of simply expanding our external recruitment efforts, we wanted to further invest in existing talent at SYKES with a number of relevant, engaging career-developing programs that could lead to real promotions.
It’s all part of the culture at SYKES: we both create great workplaces and give our people every opportunity to achieve their ambitions.
One of the most popular of those programs is our Mid-Level Leadership (MLL) GROWTH Program that sets out to “offer development opportunities to FLL (first-level leader) employees who have the potential to grow and develop into MLL-level employees.”
From its launch in 2015, the MLL GROWTH program has enrolled 73 first-level leaders, with 57% of program graduates already being promoted — that’s over 30 new mid-level managers who have very real experience of delivering great customer service, having been in the shoes of the people they now manage.
Participants for the program are selected against a number of criteria, including their tenure with SYKES, a great employment record, good performance scores, and English language competence.
Once they’re in the program, participants spend the next 18 months completing around 100 hours of self-paced training that includes virtual classroom workshops, job shadowing, online learning, and what most graduates call the magic ingredient — mentorship.
The program includes around 40 mentors from across the region and beyond. Like program participants, mentors are hand-picked from among SYKES’ most respected global leaders.
Mentors and mentees are paired for six months. While discussion topics aren’t strictly guided, they tend to drift toward people management, conflict-resolution techniques, and other essential skills important for a leader’s toolkit.
And because the program is entirely virtual, both participants and mentors can come from different languages, cultures, and geographies. It’s an international approach that translates into greater cross-cultural understanding – an important competency for leaders of a global company to have.
Since the introduction of MLL GROWTH in 2015, SYKES has seen a steady increase in retention of leadership talent and internal promotion rates. Currently, 56.6% of mid-level leaders and above within EMEA Operations have a tenure of 5+ years with SYKES, which is significantly higher than the industry average, and 77.6% of mid-level leaders and above have been internal promotions.
The initiative has helped SYKES deliver on business aims, too. MLL GROWTH and other succession programs have allowed us to better align our business growth against significant cost savings made by reducing external recruitment efforts. Simply, by helping to fulfil ambition, our people stay with us.
It’s a program, therefore, that celebrates our most important asset – our people. We identify, nurture and value talent, providing positive career paths to help them fulfil career aspirations.
It’s all part of our commitment to make SYKES a great place to work, and to continue our L&D leadership in the outsourcing sector.
You can see our SYKES MLL Growth 2019 graduation video here.