Attention to training and development (T&D) can sometimes seem like a mere formality rather than genuine commitment from certain companies. Yet the constant evolution of employment and business practices has made the value of investing in employees even more evident.
The advantages of staff investment are numerous. “If you invest in your people, you'll see impact on revenues and profits,” says Luke Todd, CoFounder and CEO of MadeYou, a people investment company. Improved morale, lower absenteeism and stronger staff retention are common results of employee investment and all boost productivity, reduce recruitment costs and increase profitability. As a bonus, happy employees tend to be ambassadors, recommending their network for vacancies, further reducing recruitment outlay.
How does MadeYou come into the picture?
Many of us have undergone some form of T&D in our careers and have at some point experienced the tedium of lacklustre training. Additionally, disparate staff appraisal procedures across different industries, companies and cultures can create confusion and distress for employees and unhelpful performance evaluation results. MadeYou’s value proposition is built on radically changing this scenario, knowing well that a key driver of a company’s business growth and success is the development of its biggest asset: its people.
In business for a decade, MadeYou delivers innovative training, development, coaching and evaluation services. Uninterested in “a drop-in-drop-out approach”, the company prides itself on a sense of ownership and accountability towards its clients, building and maintaining “key partner rather than service provider relationships,” Luke states.
Describing their training courses, the CEO speaks of avoiding the conventional “death-by-powerpoint” syndrome which leads to limited, if any, meaningful results. MadeYou’s courses are designed in a creative, outside-the-box manner to ensure maximum practical benefit. A major USP is the use of engaging scenarios, interactive strategies and neuro linguistic programming to deliver “effective, retainable learning of actual relevance in a business environment”.
“After just four hours, our attendees leave with more [role-appropriate] usable knowledge” than many people do after a two day traditionally designed course, Luke explains. Instead of being passively taught, they are actively learning which increases the likelihood of knowledge retention, he elaborates.
Course content (including bespoke training) is built in house by trainers all from senior leadership operational backgrounds who can have “proper dialogues offering real solutions for attendees’ professional challenges”, a key competitive differentiator, Luke reveals. “So much ‘great’ theory that trainers preach isn’t actually usable in the workplace but we’ve lived and breathed our teachings so we deliver from verifiable experience and proven efficacy, not books,” he says.
The following are just four of the 31 training courses available (with five more in development):
• “Difficult Conversations With Under Performers”: managerial tools for handling unsatisfactory performance, delivering uncomfortable feedback and addressing employees’ difficulties.
• “Emotional Intelligence”: understanding social complexities, emotional self-regulation techniques and empathy to improve workplace relationships and communication.
• “Present Like A Pro”: public speaking and presentation skills development to overcome psychological barriers, understand how to deliver complex messaging and present to senior management.
• “Be The Master Of Your Time”: organisational tools, task prioritisation and boundary mindsets to improve productivity, time management and achieve work life balance.
Another MadeYou service is 360-degree feedback, the staff evaluation technique used by employers to gather feedback on an individuals’ performance. In contrast to the traditional staff appraisal framework (relying solely on supervisor feedback), 360 degree feedback collects responses and assessments from individuals associated with the employee, including peers, subordinates, managers and sometimes external stakeholders. The system has been embraced mainly by Malta’s gaming and telecoms industries but Luke has sensed a growing awareness of this evaluation method by other sectors.
MadeYou focuses on the core purpose and value of the 360 degree feedback system: a complete review of an employee’s strengths, weaknesses and concrete advice on improvement and future development.
Broadly, the process includes employee self-assessment and a consultation, a 360 feedback survey of relevant parties, processing and cross-referencing of responses, bespoke report compilation and finally coaching.
MadeYou’s carefully constructed questionnaire is integral to the process and factors in specific cultural and native linguistic characteristics. Luke explains that many questionnaires built by HR departments can lead to poor responses and an ineffective 360 outcome due to “wording that is misunderstood across different departments, jobs and nationalities”.
An internal HR-led 360 degree feedback rollout also “gives HR department members an advantage as they already know the questions so aren’t objective third party participants” Luke mentions, adding that another risk is the whole operation being “seen as an HR initiative instead of a business initiative”.
Describing the report, Luke is passionate about MadeYou’s service. “We don’t just leave recipients with an abstract PDF” like many other 360 providers “who offer no further service after sending the report, making the whole process a terrible investment by the employer,” he reveals. Instead, individuals are “fully supported with coaching” that explains the report, registers individuals’ own responses and provides guidance on implementing the report’s recommendations and deciding next steps. Supervisors may alternatively be coached in delivering the report themselves.
A modular service is available where clients can cherry pick those stages they prefer to outsource (eg. questionnaire compilation or optimising their HR’s own survey or providing final coaching etc). However, given the labour-intensive nature of 360 degree feedback, Luke feels the magic lies in MadeYou’s end-to-end service.
Freeing HR departments and managers from the time, effort, resources and expertise required to execute every step of the 360 process, full outsourcing is the “seamless headache-free option that delivers all the value of 360 without any negative business impact,” he offers, adding that MadeYou is the only company in Malta to provide this service.
MadeYou’s cofounder stresses that while a fun-focused and activity-led methodology (labelled ‘quirkology’) underpins much of the company’s delivery, it never takes its eye off the ball regarding the imperative commercial benefit to its clients. All programmes must ultimately translate into identifiable, measurable results for the employer.
A relevant example here is that of a prominent gaming client achieving a return on its investment, gaining five individuals with promising potential and 13 more promoted to department head roles, after MadeYou’s intensive training and coaching of 18 specific individuals for “people leadership and business SME leadership roles,” Luke shares.
A long-term telecoms client has benefited notably from the 360 Feedback and performance review calibration programmes across some 140 senior management and C-levels.
It is clear that MadeYou is a company that enables organisations to build strong employer brands.