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What’s your future?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

“The strength of the financial sector will depend on the management, skills & customer service from the many professionals who work there”

The current economic position puts many financial institutions in an unprecedented position. Do they aim to introduce a new and wider array of products in banking, investments, insurance and pensions or ‘let the dust settle’ and continue to offer their current portfolio?

Well it doesn’t matter because, according to St. Helier based Cybèle Offshore, the future security of the financial sector depends on the management, skills and customer service from the many professionals who work there. Therefore, fully assessing both the demand for training AND the quality of supply will be tantamount to success.

“Customer’s attitudes have changed and, just to stand still in this climate, so must the attitude to investment and diversity in staff training”, said Carole Stevenson, Business Development Director with Cybèle Offshore. “Training is so much more than time management and appraisal skills. I’m sure many companies don’t realise how much they could be adding to their bottom line because they are neglecting to consider client relationship management and leadership skills training as well as mentoring and coaching.”

And whilst the continuing professional development scheme makes provision for the support of relevant, role-based activities, should companies in the financial sector review their employee’s activity to enhance behaviours and skills using this dedicated time?

Where do I start? Knowing where to start the reassessment of training needs can be difficult, especially to do so using internal resources who themselves may be restricted in knowledge and experience. Outside help can deliver enormous benefits culminating in a completely focused, unbiased strategy and refreshed training approach that can still be delivered using in-house resources if required.

Training provider, Cybèle Offshore’s approach to assessing training needs is outlined by Carole, “We always start with clarifying and quantifying the aims and objectives of any training based solution. This involves understanding the required changes or enhancements to achieve our client’s business goals and then drawing on our vast experience to design a bespoke training programme both in terms of style, content, delivery and activities.” And the value of this approach? It seems many of their clients are reporting significant differences to the bottom line.

Client relationship management In fact, one very recent success story comes from Cybèle’s 3-module client relationship management programme. After attending only 2 modules from the course one trainee has just signed up the perfect client, one they have been chasing for no less than three years! As the course is designed to get delegates understanding and using a range of techniques to establish effective client : supplier relationships, this demonstrates at first hand how these skills have been transferred back to the workplace.

Clearly success of this magnitude justifies any investment in assessment, planning and implementation because it is obviously seen in the financial results, but the much more difficult to measure factors such as employee morale, confidence and determination to repeat the performance must not be overlooked.

Leadership skills The frequent failure to help managers make the transition between being part of a team to understanding how to lead, delegate, coach and inspire their team can have catastrophic results, ones seen time and again.

So it comes as no surprise that a recent Cybèle instigated survey of financial sector organisations discovered that when it comes to evaluating team members’ capabilities, leadership skills is one of the last concerns.

“Equipping staff with effective leadership skills is obviously a central element of any business’s success” said Carole. “It is a fact that delegation is one of the hardest skills for new management to implement and we would urge companies to refocus on improving their team member’s talents in this area, the results will speak for themselves.”

Challenge Cybèle? As the argument for a thorough assessment of training needs appears conclusive and proven to return the investment, attention must be turned to the next step – the quality of supply.

With so many training companies to choose from, all appearing to offer the same and often citing many success stories, how does an organisation select the best training provider? “Simple”, states Carole confidently. “We insist our clients put measurable objectives in place and match our performance against them regularly. It’s the best way to ensure we are delivering real, tangible results and we do not shy away from this measurement, in fact we actively encourage it.”

Carole continued, “The time has come to change the impression of training and think ‘outside the box’ when it comes to what to offer and how it should be delivered. Whilst our business is professional, skilled and commercially experienced, we do focus on fun, making training different and becoming a valued part of your team.”

It appears Cybèle will relish the challenge you put to them – be it developing skills, increasing sales, improving staff engagement or supporting a drive in strategic change through any business. As one of the islands leading suppliers of high-quality yet affordable professional development and educational services for the financial sector, I’m not sure we can argue with that!

Cybèle Offshore offer a free consultation to understand your business and the potential training requirements you may have in order to provide an initial training proposal. Please contact Carole Stevenson on 01534 832665 or email [email protected] to arrange an initial appointment.

People Skills

Studies have shown that in a standard interview only about 10% of a potential employer’s impression of you is based on what you say, 20% is influenced by the tone of your voice whilst the remaining 70% is dependent on body language.

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I would recommend this to anyone in a relationship management role and just for personal development in general.