Haines Watts Leadership Development Programme Goes from Strength to Strength

By Alice Wilson, Haines Watts

It can be a real benefit for firms to nurture their in-house talent to become their leaders of the future. Haines Watts recognises the need to develop future leaders but felt its previous leadership programme no longer met the group’s strategic objectives. The Haines Watts Leadership Development Programme was launched in the summer of 2014 to nurture, develop, and challenge their leaders of tomorrow. It’s a two-year, innovative programme and has been an exciting push forward for Haines Watts.

The decision was taken to use a specialist external company, The Leadership Trust, to work with them to develop and run a bespoke programme that met Haines Watts’ needs. The programme aims to develop the behaviours of participants, with a focus on the skills relevant to their core area – owner-managed businesses. The firm believes that by running this type of programme, their future leaders will be better equipped to talk to their clients about how to develop their own business leaders of the future.

The original sixteen candidates within Haines Watts came from all around the UK and were nominated for the first programme by their local offce, based on criteria such as seniority level and number of years’ post-qualification experience. Since the first cohort, they have adapted the nomination process to be based more on potential, rather than qualifications.

Candidates are assigned a Leadership Trust development coach, a Haines Watts sponsor and, in some cases, a Haines Watts mentor, who help them identify their leadership objectives and put together a personal development plan. There are also psychometric tests and 360-degree feedback from other people in the business.

After the first year of coaching, delegates are asked to present to an assessment panel their development plans, what they have achieved, and where they want to be in the future. The panel then decides if the candidates are ready to move onto the next stage of the programme, which comprises four residential modules with the Leadership Trust, alongside continuing mentoring, coaching, and assessment.

Though the programme is structured, it is not generic – it focuses on the individual’s skills and aspirations, making sure they develop skills to match the present and future needs of their roles and their local offce, but that also integrate with wider Haines Watts group strategy. Personal responsibility is core to the programme. The individual is supported by a group of people, but it’s up to them to take ownership and show progress. The programme recognises that leaders come in all shapes and sizes. While there is no guarantee that it will fulfil everyone’s aspiration, the programme supports them to be the best they can be.

Haines Watts has made a substantial investment in the programme in terms of both the time of participants, sponsors, and mentors, and money. The sponsoring partners play a critical role in supporting the development of their future leaders throughout the programme by having regular updates with candidates about their development and giving feedback on their continuing performance. Without this top-level engagement and time from the sponsoring partners, the programme would not succeed.

The programme has shown massive results across the business, with 84% of their leaders completing the course being promoted to partners within a year. Whilst some past participants have chosen to leave the firm, they are proud to have helped them realise that their future was not aligned with Haines Watts.

Haines Watts is delighted that the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) has accredited their Leadership Development Programme as a CMI Recognised Programme. As the only chartered professional body in the field of leadership and management in the UK, their recognition that the programme meets the required standards is a fantastic achievement for everyone at Haines Watts. Along with being shortlisted for the best Leadership Development Programme at the UK Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) awards, it’s brilliant to see a programme that the firm is proud of getting this level of external recognition.

Every year, the programme is reviewed before starting a new cohort to ensure that they are aware of any changes that need to be made to fit with the business objectives, or the current climate of the accountancy sector. It is important for Haines Watts that the programme develops with the times and does not stand still. Since launching six successful LDP programmes, Haines Watts has now launched their Managers Skills Programme as a stepping-stone into the LDP for current and aspiring managers to equip themselves with the tools needed to be a successful manager and leader of people.

Alice Wilson

Haines Watts
Advisory, Auditing & Accounting, Corporate Finance, Fiduciary & Estate Planning, Tax
More than 60 offces throughout the UK
T: +44 20 854 95 137
W: www.hwca.com
Alice Wilson
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published: GGI Insider, No. 103, September 2019  

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