Wiltshire Council is the unitary authority for most of the county of Wiltshire and provides all significant local government services to its 435,000 residents. They are the biggest employer in Wiltshire, being responsible for schools, social services, waste management and leisure services, amongst other things.
Although employee development and engagement is important at Wiltshire Council, activity around them had been pared back because of budget constraints. Judy Vanderpump, Organisational Development Consultant at Wiltshire Council, still wanted to keep a focus on these areas and was looking at innovative and cost-effective ways to do so.
Judy was aware of psychometric assessments having used them in recruitment, and understood that they could be used to develop leaders’ self-awareness and help them modify their behaviours to get the best out of their teams, so wanted to bring them into Wiltshire Council’s staff development plans.
For the past eighteen months, the Personal Profile Analysis (PPA), which provides an insight into how people behave at work, and Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire (TEIQue), which assesses how well people understand and manage their emotions, have been embedded into the Council’s leadership and management programme.
Judy explains why the assessments have become so integral to staff development: “A successful leader has to have a good level of self-awareness. They need to understand their strengths and limitations and know how to modify and adapt their behaviour in different situations. By doing this, they can get the most out of their teams and we have found that the Thomas assessments equip our leaders with this information.”
Having seen the benefits that the assessments have brought to the Council among senior members of the team, the PPA is also being used with specific teams. Judy states: “By having a better understanding of their behavioural profile and that of their colleagues, teams are now better equipped to discuss behaviours in a non-personal, non-threatening way, meaning that any issues are addressed quickly and effectively.”
The TEIQue assessment is also being extensively used to support staff in developing a greater self-awareness. Judy continues: “The combination of insights into behavioural profile and levels of emotional awareness, are very powerful. This is particularly relevant for staff on our leadership and management programmes, but we also use it to support our in-house coaching and mentoring programme.”
We very quickly realised that the PPA was working well because, when people received their report profiles, they straight away said ‘yes, that’s me’. In fact, the assessment is now a key part of our recruitment process for anyone joining the Council at manager or head of service level.
Judith continues: “We’ve undertaken a transformation of our Adult Social Care team and 90% of those promoted into more senior roles had taken the Thomas assessments as part of our leadership programme. For me, that shows a very clear link between the assessments and success as those candidates are demonstrating the skills needed to be a good manager and leader.”