The ‘Geo Leader Development Program’ is an individual development map, aligned to the career aspirations as identified through career conversations
During 2014-15, WNS Global Services formulated its business strategy around the themes of ‘Growth’ and ‘A truly Global Presence’. With a global strength of more than 29,600 employees, the company has grown rapidly in the past few years. This aggressive growth has also brought about a need to build capability that enables leadership on a global scale across cultures and economies, and taking up bigger and challenging roles has become an imperative. The company realized that although its leaders interacted with international clients and managed integrated businesses across geographical divides, there was a lack of cohesiveness and synergy amongst leaders which was beginning to hurt the business.
Need for ‘truly global leaders’
To lead its large, diversified global workforce, WNS Global Services has been working towards creating a robust internal pipeline of leaders. WNS felt the need to roll out a program which could effectively build global leadership capabilities within the organization. Core functions that the company was looking at developing were senior and strategic leadership to drive the organization’s growth and transformation agenda, and global leaders who can effectively move across locations, cultures and business contexts. The immediate challenge was that while new business was coming in thick and fast, development of new sites with capable leadership was becoming a growth impediment, thereby restricting the global expansion of the business. Moreover, this was adversely affecting business dynamism and inorganic growth of the company. In order to meet these challenges, the Learning and Development team at WNS initiated a ‘Geo Leader Development Program’. The pool comprised of geographical heads that are tasked with not only managing and leading the organization to business success, but also managing a talent pool with its unique cultural specificities.
Framing the right strategy
WNS Global Services first considered working on its existing leadership programs and adding value to it by providing the leadership pool with some global exposure through assignments. However, there was very little scope of structuring global assignments, since it was highly dependent on factors such as opening of a global position, succession planning, etc. The company therefore decided to accelerate its leadership through a customized global leadership development program. The program focused on individual needs through creation of individual development maps, aligned to the career aspirations of the individual as identified through career conversations. It incorporated self-reflection, reflective conversations with coaches and formal learning, and also included individual assessments, developmental feedback, a robust executive development plan aligned with coach and mentors from the organization.
The result of the program was phenomenal; it helped leaders deal with diverse cultural and economic environments while managing integrated business processes across geographical divides. The company witnessed higher leader engagement. The success of the program also resulted in greater opportunities of business with a strong pipeline of global leaders.
Institutionalizing leadership capability program
WNS is now moving towards institutionalization of this program on a much larger scale. Learning from the experiences of the earliest adoption days, it plans to roll the program after meticulous ironing of the intricacies involved in making the program a success. To capture all of the loopholes, constant feedback from the business and the leaders is netted to help monitor the challenges and development while moving forward.