The Future Leadership Programme

Above: Fred, Lead Strategy & Planning Manager.

Nationwide's Future Leadership Programme

Not everyone wants to lead a team or progress into a senior role. But if you did- do you have all the help and guidance you need to make it happen?

Although being accepted on to the programme doesn’t guarantee you a leadership role, at least 72 of the 222 employees accepted on to Nationwide's Future Leadership Programme have gone on to a more senior role since the scheme launched in 2012. By focusing on self-reflection, it’s widely believed that individuals will develop the self- awareness needed to be truly effective leaders, and understand where they'll have the biggest influence on Nationwide’s overall success.

Why join Nationwide's leadership programme?

Fred joined Nationwide in 2013 as Credit Card Product Manager, before progressing to a Lead Manager role. He now leads the Strategy and Planning team for Banking and Insurance, which has provided great exposure to senior leaders across the business. Following this natural progression, Fred joined the Future Leadership Programme in 2015.

“ I was keen to further my career even more at Nationwide, and I knew the programme placed a great deal of focus on self-reflection. This really appealed to me as I wanted to understand and build on my natural leadership style, so I could become an authentic leader that my team would like to work for. I’ve already built some great new relationships across the business, and I can already see the benefit of the programme in my day to day role. ”

Fred, Lead Strategy & Planning Manager

However a place on the programme doesn’t just require commitment from the participants- the participant’s business area will also need to be supportive and enable them to attend up to 14 days per year. In return Nationwide invests a minimum of £4,500 for each candidate to participate.

Jackie, Nationwide’s Leadership Development Manager elaborates: “The programme really supports and develops individuals at an early point in their career. The skills and behaviours required to be a senior leader are more complex than they sometimes realise. We give them time to focus on their longer term career goals, and how they can use their strengths to get there the ‘right’ way.” This in turn allows Nationwide to “get to know our talent pool, and map out how we can help them grow. We strongly believe that the future of Nationwide depends on leaders who demonstrate and role model our culture, values and business objectives. The FLP values and invests in their future.”

How has Nationwide's leadership programme evolved?

Having ran for 3 years, the programme has now grown and spans across the entire organisation; previously the programme was more specialist, and split by business area. This was refined shortly after the development team saw the benefits of leaders networking across multiple disciplines; “During one event, we’d gathered all attendees from multiple business areas into a room, working through a real life business problem it was clear that using different skill sets and valuing different viewpoints enabled them to connect more widely.”

What does the leadership programme involve?

Nationwide run 2 cohorts a year, each lasting 12 months and consisting of around 30 participants. There are 3 key modules, including an ‘experiential’ module, and 1:1 coaching with professionally qualified external coaches. There's group work throughout, including a wider business project which can be anything from designing and implementing process maps to reinforcing Nationwide's diversity agenda.

Chloe was part of the scheme in 2014/2015: “Our group managed a project which was sponsored by Julia Dunn (Nationwide’s Group Director for Compliance). We delivered a refresh of the ‘Helping Hands’ boxes within all of our branches, and also secured a sponsorship deal for the Business Disability Forum’s ‘Helping Disabled Customers’ booklets,” she explains. “This deal replaced a major food retailer to become the incumbent sponsor- meaning that these great booklets are now sponsored by Nationwide and feature our branding. There are approximately 2.5m copies of this booklet in circulation to 47 corporate partners, including BP, BBC and HSBC”

“ Since FLP I've had the platform to move from Business Transformation into Customer Services and Operations to do a very different role, and to start studying for an MSc in Leadership and Management. FLP has been a game changer. ”

Chloe Booth, Programme Manager

Applying for Nationwide's leadership programme

1. Psychometric testing emotional intelligence

We look at individuals drive and motivation to progress, and how well they make sense of ambiguous and complex information. Emotional intelligence is critical to connecting and working well with others. These lenses give us a good indication of how likely individuals are to act on their potential and succeed in more stretching roles.

2. Interview with HR and their business rep

The interview is designed to explore psychometric responses in more detail. The interviews are slightly unusual, as we directly call out areas for development.

3. A development centre

This is where interactions are observed over a weekend and emphasis is placed on coaching and learning from each other. There's also a business simulation and a talkback with current business leaders.

“ Over the next 5 years I’m keen to progress my career at Nationwide. By gaining a greater level of accountability I can help shape the future direction of the business. The FLP is providing me with a fantastic toolkit to progress my career. I’d highly recommend the programme to anybody who is considering applying. As for successful candidates: throw yourself into the programme. ”

Fred, Lead Strategy & Planning Manager

How to apply?

Applications are open from May to all existing Nationwide level 2 employees. This is a change from previous years where candidates would have had to be nominated by their senior management team.