HUF UK and PTP International case study
Building a succession of future leaders with bespoke management programme
Driving efficiency and improving collaboration through EAL’s Level 5 NVQ Diploma in Management has created a pool of candidates for future management roles at HUF UK, the automotive parts specialist.
When HUF UK celebrates its 25th anniversary later this year, it will host a glitzy dinner dance for several hundred people. A key element of this celebration will be a ‘graduation’ ceremony for the first learners to have completed EAL’s Level 5 NVQ Diploma in Management.
HUF UK is the UK subsidiary of Hülsbeck&Fürst GmbH, which is headquartered in Germany and has offices in 15 countries. The company develops and produces mechanical and electrical locksets for the automotive industry worldwide.
Although it had offered training to staff before, HUF UK tended to focus either on professional qualifications such as accountancy and human resources, or offered courses in ‘softer’ management skills with no recognised qualification at the end.
Working with EAL recognised Centre, PTP International, HUF UK’s managing director Julian Dawes and business support manager Paul Linton identified a need to develop the management skills of staff working at the level just below the senior team. “We wanted to develop people within a nationally recognised framework – something that rewarded the staff at the end with a recognised qualification,” explains Paul.
Long-term cost savings
Succession planning was one of the main drivers behind offering the EAL qualification. In the past, the company tended to rely on external recruitment for senior positions, and hoped to save money and also improve retention by developing the leadership skills of existing staff.
Paul believes this will help HUF UK achieve significant savings in the long term. He estimates it costs around £6,000 to replace someone at this level. There were 13 learners in the first cohort at Level 5, and a further 12 are due to complete the EAL Level 3 NVQ Certificate in Management soon, creating a healthy pipeline of future leaders and potentially saving tens of thousands of pounds.
“Automotive companies like ours are highly cost-driven and work with a number of third parties, so wherever we can drive cost efficiencies through the system, we will. EAL qualifications help us to do this by investing in the people we’ve got so we can retain their value,” says Paul.
Supporting core business values
But the benefits have not just been financial. PTP International worked with EAL to make the modules as relevant to HUF UK’s core business values and management competencies as possible, and tailor the qualification to bring together learners from diverse areas of the business.
“The ability to run the programmes cross-functionally was very important to help people understand the business and develop teamwork,” adds Paul. Departments that might not have collaborated before have been working together on projects as part of their qualification. They consult each other if they encounter problems and ask for help, so issues are cleared up more efficiently than before.
The EAL programme has also attracted support from the very highest levels in the company. Managing director Julian Dawes has met with each learner personally to discuss their progress, and a culture of mentoring has developed. The senior executive team have mentored the first cohort of learners on the Diploma, who in turn will mentor those who complete the Certificate later this year.
Speaking the same language
Paul is now working with Andrew Davidson of PTP International to run an abridged version of the programme for senior executives, so they can gain an insight into what staff have learnt and ensure they are “speaking the same language”.
Working on projects for the Diploma has also helped to embed the learning into the very heart of the business. The qualification has enabled them to devise projects to work on that are both relevant to HUF UK and that will ultimately help the company run more efficiently. One of the attractions of working with PTP International and EAL was the close relationship they have been able to forge with Bill Brady, EAL’s External Verifier, who knows the sector well and advised on the suitability of content on the programme.
The EAL learners have gained confidence and also raised their profile in the company. One engineer, for example, is now in charge of a major order for door handles and locking systems and has recently won an important promotion thanks to the skills he has gained from the management Diploma.
Holding on to staff
Indeed, all of the EAL learners have been made to feel recognised for their achievements. New contracts, including some improved employee benefits, have been issued to those involved. Staff retention and engagement have improved, and certain positions that the company might have recruited externally before now have a number of potential internal candidates.
“The relationship staff have with the company has changed, the cross-mentoring has broken down barriers and it has given them confidence,” says Paul. “By running this programme we’re sending out a strong message that we invest in our employees.”