RWE sets new standards in global graduate development
RWE and Development Beyond Learning won an ISE Award for redesigning its graduate development programme.
RWE hires highly analytical graduates with strong technical capabilities. Yet the pressures of their roles and the agility required for international rotations meant graduates needed to develop core soft skills.
The programme was designed to develop the skills required to confer speed to value to the organisation and join the business resilient and ready to thrive.
While Development Beyond Learning (DBL) was responsible for the design, delivery and programme management, RWE provided organisational context, measurement, feedback and support with logistics.
The programme has three key elements:
- DBL’s expertise in instructional design, behavioural science and psychology, combined with contextualising content to the reality at RWE.
- Blended learning modes throughout the programme, integrating RWE L&D resources with relevant virtual and in-person workshops and on-the-job-tasks.
- Involvement of senior leaders, managers and sponsors, exposing graduates to role models, building strong relationships and supporting application of new skills.
The programme design addressed several challenges:
Different cohorts, different needs: A key finding over five years is that each cohort is different. Using feedback from programme managers, graduates and trainers, the context has been tailored throughout the programme – both to RWE and to the experience of each cohort.
Graduate buy-in to the relevance of soft skills: Applying cutting-edge research from psychology and behavioural science ensured that graduates recognised the relevance of the skill and understood how to leverage that skill. Trainers were upskilled so they understood the research and could bring it to life.
Continuous improvement: The programme was regularly and robustly tested and evolved for each cohort. Whilst the start and end of programme reviews were critical, so too were pre and post session check-ins after each intervention. Whenever the evidence suggested changes would improve the programmes, these were made – be they to the content, activities, delivery style or medium.
Stakeholder engagement: Business stakeholders were spread across geographic and time zones in Europe and Asia. A steering group, including senior RWE leaders and previous graduates, guided context, design, local execution, trainer briefings, feedback, and continuous improvement. Leaders promoted the importance of soft skills in becoming an effective and impactful leader.
The programme is a success story over five consecutive years. It has supported 103 graduates across five business areas in three countries, delivering 18,952 hours of live learning, 2,472 hours of virtual learning and 2,266 on-the-job learning tasks.
The positive perception of the graduate development programme has resulted in investment in 30% more graduates year-on-year, the addition of a fifth department to the programme and a 126% increase in graduate applications. The 2019/20 cohort scored the programme as 6.6/7 (94% satisfaction).
This is an excerpt from the ISE Complete Guide to Student Recruitment and Development