In the last 12 months, Embryo has grown the team by 20 new starters, and are expected to achieve a turnover of £2.5m and increased our headcount to 45 by the end of 2021.
With a proud ethos of ‘we see what others don’t’ we continue to develop forward-thinking strategies for success. The latest development comes as our Operations Manager, Cicely Ward, has created and implemented a new people development programme which is not only innovative in management guidance in the current climate of isolated working but is also aimed at account managers and executives in the company. We pride ourselves on brand delivery messages that hone in on innovation and progression and that’s why we think that other industry leaders could benefit from the development programme.
Embryo’s staff development programme
A key aspect of Cicely's role as Operations Manager is guiding people on how to progress both personally and professionally. In 2020 her role became particularly reactive as remote working impacted the landscape of the HR profession. After quickly growing the team by 84.6% in 2020, and further developing the management team, Cicely realised that these changes to the company structure and team needed to be carefully managed.
‘This is when I realised I wanted to launch the Embryo people development programme’ says Cicely Ward, ‘not only did it benefit all of us, but It also set a high standard for the business and to show any new members of the team how much we value the importance of personal development.'
The development programme is twofold, with an overall structure to aid company progression and support the workforce. A tailored programme specifically for managers to implement provides guidance in managing a team across their departments and clients, whilst encouraging the team to reflect on their own strengths and weaknesses. The second programme targets account managers and executives to help them with their own professional and personal development. ‘This programme’ says Cicely Ward, ‘helps the team learn new skills, set goals, and review the additional reading set for each team member to take part in. One of which we study throughout is ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team’ by Patrick Lencioni.
Whilst navigating the challenges for HR during remote working, it is extremely important that employers maintain regular contact with employees and create an open space to raise concerns. The development plan tackles these issues head-on as it allows us to dedicate set time with the line managers each month to communicate with each other and discuss our own progress.
Why other businesses should be trialling this in the workplace
In light of the effects of the pandemic on business, HR leaders pivoted and adapted the ways they work and how staff workloads and company working were organised. The structure of the development programmes helps to accommodate employees transitioning to the new normal within the business landscape of working from home seamlessly. We believe other businesses should be trialling their development plan in the workplace to not only help teams progress as much as possible with these adjustments but also to provide as much support for them in doing so.
Key issues for HR leaders to target while working from home involve remote support and supervision, whilst also keeping staff engaged. This is something that we feel is addressed by the 1-1 monthly meeting with the teams, specifically tailored to each department and speciality. For Embryo, this involves departments including Digital PR, SEO, PPC, Social Media, Web Development and Content. The limitations of a remote workforce are also challenged by phase two of the management programme, which assists in management processes and supports the growth of their own team’s development.
Part of the management programme offers guidance in supporting mental health in the workplace. This recognises how companies need to balance workloads as well as providing an interest in well-being alongside productivity. Mental health-related workplace absences in 2020 soared to a cost of £14bn, increasing by £13.4bn from 2019, as reported in a study conducted by Westfield health. As a business, Embryo recognises the issues faced in navigating the current working climate and our development plan aids our employees by providing a continued point of focus.
Cicely Ward comments ‘following the rapid growth towards the end of 2020, it became clear to me that providing the correct management guidance was crucial to help us remain stable for the opportunities ahead in 2021.’
As we move further into 2021 and adapt to new working situations business leaders and HR professionals must become more aware and conscious of ways in which workers can stay both professionally and emotionally connected. The Embryo Development plan shines a spotlight on how companies can aid in both professional and personal development and will potentially see an increase in interest from business leaders hoping to achieve a structure to accommodate this. If you would like more information about the programmes please get in touch.