Nationwide, the world’s biggest building society, started working with ETS back in 2011 when they chose us to create a 360 degree feedback platform for them. Since then our partnership has gone from strength to strength.
Over the years we’ve worked with Nationwide, we’ve periodically helped them by redeveloping and scaling up the feedback platform in line with changing organisational and leadership objectives. Most recently this saw Nationwide issue us a brief on a substantial revamp of the feedback platform to enable them to be much more flexible in how and when they use the feedback tool to support different populations and business needs including to help them embed a new competency framework.
Julie Foster, Leadership Development Manager at Nationwide, explains:
“The beauty of the ETS feedback tool is that it gives us the flexibility to build a survey and then choose how we use it. For example, the first use of the new platform wasn’t even for a 360 – it’s more a 180 degree survey.”
Nationwide also wanted to make the system more accessible in a move towards ‘self-service’ to enable people to take greater ownership of their own development.
Reinventing the feedback platform
We managed the delivery of Nationwide’s new feedback platform and development of the surveys in two phases.
The first phase saw delivery of the platform. At around the same time, Nationwide’s in-house experts drafted a new ‘Leadership Principles’ survey. Our collaborative approach to the programme can be seen in the fact that they then asked our business psychologists to review the survey to advise on any tweaks needed.
We also added the questionnaire builder functionality to Nationwide’s platform so that, in future, they can create and roll out their own surveys. During this initial phase the ETS project team that supports Nationwide oversaw the build and testing cycles as well as providing training and support to their admin users.
The second phase, recently completed, has involved the design of a survey to support the new Nationwide Development Framework. This behavioural framework containing 15 competencies is due to launch at the start of November and the ETS feedback survey will form an integral part of the ongoing support material for it.
Supporting different business needs
Nationwide’s first use of the new ETS feedback platform was to support their ‘Leading for Mutual Good’ (LMG) programme. This development initiative focuses on the leadership culture within Nationwide and aims to equip leaders and join together the organisation’s mutual values and heritage along with running a successful business. Having initially rolled this out to their leadership 200 group, Nationwide has since widened this to include all of their leadership 1000.
Julie Foster comments:
“We wanted a way to measure how frequently the behaviours we’re looking for were being displayed both before attending the programme and at a period of time afterwards. The feedback tool that ETS has created does exactly that for us and is a definite upgrade on the previous and cumbersome paper-based process.”
So far over 450 have been invited to take part and, by the end of the year, it is expected that 1,000 people will have participated.
Updating the system
Together with the team at Nationwide, we implemented a number of other changes to help leaders and their feedback providers to get the most from the 360 degree feedback programme. This included halving the completion time of the questionnaire in response to feedback.
The 360 tool that ETS devised for Nationwide offers a broad range of reporting functions. Like the rest of the system, we made changes to the 360 reports to ensure they better fit the business needs.
Nationwide was keen that the reports reflected situational leadership and moved away from ‘good’ and ‘bad’ language to something more meaningful and relevant to peoples’ roles. For example, how visibly certain behaviour is displayed and how effective this is for roles.
Individual reports now offer a high level view of self and others’ ratings aligned to each behaviour; each behaviour having three questions associated to it, thus helping to focus development actions.
Using the results
As part of Nationwide’s desire for employees to take greater ownership of their development, they are encouraged, and given freedom, to use their 360 feedback report as the foundation of their development planning. To help them, the reports are very intuitive and include guidance on how to view the results and what to consider while doing so. The plans they create then form the basis of any on-going development discussions.
Meanwhile, at an organisational level, Nationwide is using aggregate data to build a picture of areas of strength and weakness. They have plans afoot for a first major review of the data, which will give an insight into how new leadership principles have landed – by looking at how visible they are in the actions of their leaders. They intend to use 360 data and link it with other psychometric data they have to see if any patterns emerge.
Working in partnership
Julie Foster discusses how she finds working with ETS:
“It really feels like a partnership as we’ve worked together closely from the outset to deliver the best version of the feedback platform we could. The team at ETS are helpful, friendly and solutions-focused. And having the same people involved all the way through has been really beneficial.”
What’s next for the 360 platform?
Next on their agenda is using the feedback platform (and a new questionnaire) to support the launch of a new Nationwide Development Framework coming on line from November. This will help their people to identify how frequently and in what circumstances they demonstrate their 15 new competencies. Nationwide plans to run this as a full 360 programme to support people’s development.