Pulse (January) – the Impellus monthly indicators from leadership and management training

The temperature in the training room

As one of the UK’s largest ILM-Approved Training Providers, Impellus delivers open leadership and management courses to more than 250 delegates each month. We take customer/delegate satisfaction very seriously and constantly strive to improve our service, so we ask each delegate to complete a feedback form giving their views on the venue, course content, training delivery, etc. The form also asks a few further questions about the delegate’s work situation.

The data generated from these feedback forms enables us to gauge the mood of managers and senior managers across the country and places us in an excellent position to identify any major swings.

Significant increase in managers attending leadership training year on year

We’re pleased to report that in January 2017 fears of Brexit have not thwarted managers! We’ve seen a 66% increase in the number of managers attending Impellus open leadership and management training courses year on year.  Your opinions also paint an upbeat and rosy picture of the role of a manager at the start of this year.

  • 73% of all managers attending our courses have been in their current role for three years or less – compared to 66% in January 2016. Read our recent blog on the benefits of training managers early.
  • 17% of delegates have been in their current role for ten years or more versus 8.5% in the same month last year
  • 92% of all delegates in January 2017 felt that ‘training like this improves my performance enormously or measurably so’ compared to 90% of all delegates in January 2016.

Managers are also more confident about their situation at work than a year ago. The following chart illustrates how they responded to the statement: In my opinion, things for me at work are generally better /the same / worse than at this time last year.

Impellus Management Confidence Indicator illustrating that 62% of managers feel that things are better for them at work than a year ago

Jon Dean, Managing Director of Impellus commented: ‘It is refreshing to see that organisations are increasingly realising the benefits to be gained by training managers early in their roles, as well as not excluding those from leadership training who have been in their roles for many years. Although we’ve been bombarded by Brexit fear messages in the media, it would seem that the majority of managers are not allowing themselves to be affected by this and are generally happier or equally as happy at work than a year ago.’

‘We are all aware that the next few years will be changeable, it is not yet clear how any of us will be affected by these changes. By investing in leadership and management training for their managers now, organisations are preparing themselves as much as they can to be well placed for whatever occurs the future.’

Huge uplift in employers realising returns on investment from training managers early

Number of organisations training newly appointed managers more than doubles

In the last three years the number of newly appointed managers attending leadership and management open training courses has more than doubled. In the period between 1st September to 31st December 2014 the percentage of delegates attending Impellus’ open courses who had been in their current role for three years or less represented 33% of all delegates. For the same period of 2015, the percentage jumped to 66% and in 2016 it accounted for 70% of all course delegates.

Positive impact of leadership and management training

The encouraging findings are from research of over 1,950 Impellus’ delegates and align well with a recent report from the Open University. In the Open University’s Trends in Learning 2016 Report 71% of employees questioned said they were more likely to stay with an organisation that recognises their potential and takes an interest in the development of their skills.

The upward trend in managers who have been in their current role for three years or less is refreshing and illustrates that an increasing number of organisations are realising the benefits of developing the leadership skills of newly and recently appointed managers. Often their people are highly skilled technically and professionally but they lack the knowledge of how to effectively manage their teams. However following high impact leadership skills training, these managers are able to empower their line reports to work better together and to drive their team to deliver the organisational objectives and goals.

HR Managers and training organisers regularly report a positive change in the attitude of their managers and a greater understanding of how their role interacts with others in the business when commenting on the outcomes of Impellus’ open courses. They also praise the fact that their managers’ horizons have broadened and they now realise that their everyday challenges are very similar to those of other managers in different organisations and industry sectors.

High employee satisfaction among ‘trained’ managers

As part of the regular Impellus’ delegate feedback process, managers are asked for their opinion on: ‘Things for me at work are generally better / the same / worse than at this time last year’.  An average of 69% of newly appointed managers felt that things were better for them.  On average, only 6% felt things were worse. These results were consistent across the three years of delegate data that was reviewed.

The fact that the organisations have invested in these managers and given them the opportunity to undertake leadership and management training early in their existing roles is undoubtedly a key factor in how they feel about things in the workplace.  Their optimistic outlook can only have positive knock-on effects for their team and organisation.

So, it’s a win-win situation – the sooner an organisation provides leadership training for its managers, the quicker the positive impacts will ripple through the organisation.

UK Councils improve management training whilst reducing costs

Councils reducing costs and inconveniences of training whilst improving quality

It’s the great, eternal learning and development challenge – how does any organisation manage the increasing requirements to develop managers (and remain a competitive place for the best managers to work) whilst keeping costs and operational efficiencies down (to remain competitive, full stop)?

Councils and the public sector in general have felt the pressure of reduced spending for the last few years. For Learning and Development this has meant cuts to those being trained, longer waits for courses to hit the right numbers and go ahead, reductions in quality and consequently a reduction in output.

All of this has meant that great or aspiring managers have been several percentage points more likely to leave council employment or consider employment elsewhere. The secondary effects being that without the good managers staff engagement and productivity dips, succession planning becomes more difficult and employment costs and pressures rise. Counterproductive.

How councils can cut management training cost effectively

The old model of running courses in-house comes with easy maths. You put more people in a room and reduce your trainer costs to cut training costs.

The problem of course is that as you extrapolate this you get more managers (being paid) to sit in a room not learning much from a cheap trainer. Not just counterproductive but likely to breed resentment too.

Keep the good trainers but put up the minimum course numbers and you have long waits for each course and then managers who miss the day(s) have long waits for the next event.

So councils are increasingly looking at training providers offering high quality, regular open (public) management training courses.

Savings are made in the following areas:

  • Bulk buying means that good providers are willing to offer discounted day rates
  • Reduced organisational pressure on HR
  • Managers get the exact training course(s) they need far more quickly improving satisfaction
  • Reductions in dissatisfaction maintain good managers and keep morale high
  • Pockets of funding available for certain ILM approved management training courses and commercial skills training

Some councils have bought as a consortium which has not only seen pricing fall but has also had the benefit of reducing travel costs as managers attend the courses closest to their home rather than having to all travel to one location.

Elaine McGladdery, HR Manager for the Warwickshire Councils Consortium, a buying group covering councils which together employ 3,000 people says, “The flexibility of the Impellus training programmes, in particular the availability and reliability of their open (public) leadership and management training courses… was a significant cost factor”.

“We were able to maximise our cost savings by making an upfront commitment to buying the largest possible number of training days and the value for money has been excellent”.

How councils improve management training results

Return on investment in training is all about what people do differently afterwards, of course. So one of the great advantages of open training is that it does something that in-house training can never do; it gets managers out amongst peers from other organisations; other managers facing similar issues in completely different places.

This changes the perspective of managers in councils – their challenges are not actually unique! – and that has a big bearing on how they feel about what they learn and what they subsequently do with their new knowledge.

Many councils have also used the funding available to them to put managers through ILM Awards in Management and Leadership which directly focuses managers on what they can do to improve results in the workplace.

Open courses also have an inherent flexibility – councils’ HR Managers can put the right person onto the right course at the right time and Impellus offers courses that can be taken individually or together to form Awards. This means complete flexibility and offers the chance for two managers to do different courses and still qualify for an ILM Award at the same level, better meeting their individual training requirements.

McGladdery concours, “We were initially attracted to the Impellus offering because of the flexibility of their training programmes… I’m very impressed; the courses are of high quality”.

How impellus provides management training for councils

Whether a council is looking for one day of training for one manager or is looking to roll out a management training programme which will stand the tests of time, Impellus can help.

Key points:

  • Courses only delivered by our own trainers – all of whom have direct, senior level management experience
  • Procurement experience – capable of helping you to provide solutions in line with budget and tender requirements
  • Help with maximising price advantage across areas / consortia
  • Extensive course mix and availability
  • Flexibility of approach means challenges such as administration and project longevity disappear
  • Outstanding cost and return on investment prospect

For further information on how Impellus can improve management training for your council call 0800 619 1230

Some of the many UK councils that have used Impellus:

Calne Town Council

Cheltenham Borough Council

Chesterfield Borough Council

Corby Borough Council

Diss Town Council

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

East Devon District Council

Halton Borough Council

Hertford Town Council

Hertford Town Council

Huntingdon Town Council

Kirklees Council

London Councils

Newcastle City Council Facility Services

Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council

Oxfordshire County Council

Reading Borough Council

Rugby Borough Council

Rushcliffe Borough Council

Sandwell Council

South Gloucestershire Council

South Norfolk Council

St Neots Town Council

Stratford-upon-Avon District Council

Warwick District Council

Warwickshire County Council


Myth: The return on investment in training cannot be measured

Reality: It depends on how you choose to view and measure it …


The challenges around calculating the ultimate benefit of management training – return on investment – are nothing new but are likely to be coming into sharper focus over the next few years as organisations face the challenges of improving productivity and the economic challenges of Brexit.

A recent report¹ suggests that 72% of CEO’s believe the next three years will be more critical for their industry than the last 50 years and that over 50% report significant skills gaps in key business functions.

Yet it’s not uncommon to hear that business leaders find it difficult to know where to start when measuring the returns to be had from management training.

However those who can set clear and simple objectives and evidence measures can generate and measure excellent returns on investment. These can have long term positive financial impact.

So here’s an Impellus guide to calculating the return on investment of your management and leadership training.


How to assess the value of management training

Business leaders and HR directors can assess the financial impact, value and benefits of  management training from qualitative evidence (this can be gathered by simply walking around the workplace) as well as other metrics accessible from quantitative records.


Here’s where to look to discover how the return on your management training investment is manifesting itself:


1.      Managers

Some behaviours which should be more prominently displayed by managers who have undergone leadership skills training:

  • Flexibility and agility when change management strategies are introduced within the organisation
  • Confidence to take the business and their team forward
  • Eagerness to apply new skills in the workplace to achieve targets
  • Strong relationships and empathy with their line reports and the passion for their teams to deliver on KPI’s
  • Readiness to conduct performance appraisals and set individual’s objectives in line with the organisation’s mission, values and goals
  • Enthusiasm for their line reports to undertake personal development training and willingness to introduce succession planning
  • Understanding of conflict situations that may occur within their teams and assertion to quickly resolve any that may arise
  • Readiness when it comes to new organisational/inter-departmental challenges
  • It could be argued that all managers should display these behaviours but few will consistently without formal training.


2.      Teamwork

Team members headed up by a manager who has been trained in leadership skills should be more likely to show a willingness to develop themselves or display improved working initiative.  Observation of these teams often reveals:

  • A harmonious and/or fun working atmosphere
  • High employee satisfaction scores in the annual employee/pulse survey
  • Excellent communication skills between one another and with other colleagues throughout the organisation
  • An increase in efficiency and productivity ratings compared with those prior to training
  • Higher than the organisation’s average customer satisfaction ratings, if they are a client facing team
  • Eagerness to get involved and support in organisational challenges, CSR/charitable fundraising, etc.


3.      HR

In the HR department, the effectiveness of training can be measured in statistical forms, as follows:

  • Absenteeism among engaged, ‘trained’ teams is most likely to be less than among those that are not motivated by their manager
  • Employee retention rates rise where training and personal development is experienced by staff, so this should be visible in the relevant teams
  • Succession planning and internal promotion is an attractive motivator to those who develop their skills and knowledge – the advancement of ‘trained’ employees should be easy to track compared to their colleagues who have not been given the same training opportunities
  • Over time the two metrics above (increased employee retention and internal promotion) will be reflected in a drop in the resource and cost involved in recruitment – a significant saving for the organisation.


There’s a huge opportunity for organisations to unleash the power of their people and deliver the financial benefits that come with that. There will be many signs as to the effectiveness of the investment in training; business leaders just need to look for them behaviourally and qualitatively before understanding the impact on the balance sheet.

¹ Unlocking Potential by www.towardsmaturity.org, 2016-2017 Learning Benchmark Report – over 600 participants provided detailed information for this study.

Girl Power

The number of women seeking leadership and management training grows by over 10% year on year.

In a year when Britain has elected its second female Prime Minister and within a week or so, the population of the United States may have appointed its first ever female President, girl power is growing in the business world too.

Impellus, one of the UK’s leading Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) approved training providers, has seen a significant uplift in women attending its management training courses over the last few years. Forty two per cent of delegates on courses between September 2015 and August 2016 were female compared with 38% the previous year representing an increase of more than ten per cent.

Splitting out Scotland, the growth is more significant, as the percentage of women occupying seats on courses rose from 33% to 41% over the same period.

Females increasingly commit to studying an ILM Leadership and Management Award too

The number of females registering to study an ILM Award, an internationally recognised management training qualification, after attending an Impellus course has grown by a similar percentage year on year. Female managers still lag behind their male counterparts on a ratio of 43:57% but the gender gap is closing.

Clearly, business leaders are keen to realise the potential of their female employees with a willingness to invest in management training regardless of gender.

Pie chart graph in rust colour

Graph showing the split of male versus female delegates on management training courses ’14-’15

Pie chart in mustard colours

Graph showing the increased percentage of women occupying seats on management training courses ’15-’16

Carrot or stick? Towards or Away? Gain or Avoid? What goes wrong?

No, not a new word puzzle – but a valuable motivational tool in a manager’s armoury

When managing and appraising performance, it’s really helpful to understand what drives each individual member of your team.

You may well be motivated by the carrot. However, it’s unlikely that all your line reports will be the same. The stick will drive others …..

If you thrive on the ‘towards’ principle and use this to engage with a colleague who is motivated by ‘away’, you’ll get frustrated with the lack of action. Likewise your colleague who is driven by ‘avoidance’ rather than ‘gaining benefits’ will get disgruntled at your lack of empathy.

And don’t make the common mistake of thinking that all successful, positive individuals are motivated by the same things.

If we consider two very successful entrepreneurs, Sir Richard Branson and Lord Alan Sugar – the former is predominantly motivated by ‘towards’ being the first to try many business ventures and taking lots risks personally in global adventures.

Lord Alan Sugar on the other hand, has been driven by the ‘away’ principle – wanting to get away from his poor upbringing and have a better lifestyle initially and then from competitive companies/ products to maintain his edge.

Understanding the different drivers behind the carrot or stick approach will help you to unlock the secret of leveraging performance and enable the desired behaviours to be achieved.

Tony Robbins, life coach and author, gives an insight to this motivational technique in his book entitled ‘Unlimited Power: The New Science of Personal Achievement, as follows:

“All human behaviour revolves around the urge to gain pleasure or avoid pain.”

What you gain from getting this right

Spending time analysing ‘towards’ and ‘away from’ behaviours gives you and your team:

  • Greater production capabilities
  • More engaged and motivated staff
  • Fewer personnel issues
  • Increased average service length
  • Improved wellbeing and team spirit
  • Less stress!

The ‘carrot or stick’ principle is covered in more detail in NLP Meta-Programs which form the basis of several of the Impellus management training courses.

Sixteen questions you must be able to answer before deciding on a Management Training programme


So, you’ve got your management training objectives. How do you make that all important decision of which training provider to select?

If you are pushed for time now and wish to download the full guide for future reference, please click on this link – Impellus Q&As Training Provider Selection


Q. Do you want training to take place in-house or is it better for your colleagues to be trained away from their normal working environment?

A. Most organisations feel that their employees benefit from being away from the office and mixing with delegates from other companies and industries. However, a quality training provider will offer its clients the option to put on in-house training courses as well. This is particularly useful when a group of employees need to undergo training at the same time for a brand engagement programme, for example.

An added advantage of external training is that a number of employees from one team are not out of the office on the same day, as a few can attend one week and more the following week, for example. Also, if one or more delegates are unable to attend on the day, they can be fitted into an open course quite quickly afterwards, whereas if this was an in-house course, it would be expensive to re-run for a small number.


Q. What does the term ‘open course’ mean?

A. Most training providers offer open courses which means that delegates from a number of companies across different industry sectors attend the same course.

Although initially a small number of delegates may feel that someone sitting on their table from a completely different background/sector is irrelevant to them, they soon find that they can share common challenges and learnings to their mutual benefit. Managers appreciate the opportunity to develop solutions and new techniques together.


Q. What are the key advantages of open courses, in-house training and e-learning?

Open courses

  • Held at an independent venue owned/booked by the training provider
  • Delegates from a variety of organisations and industry sectors (see above)
  • Structured learning across a variety of topics
  • Courses run regularly and in many locations
  • Input and ideas from a variety of organisations provides a rich, learning experience
  • Delegates gain an external perspective as well as working through their own organisation’s challenges

In-house training

  • Training delivered at your premises to your employees
  • Personalised, bespoke learning designed to fulfil your organisation’s specific requirements
  • Suitable for a number of people with the learning requirement who can all be away from their desks at the same time
  • Content, input and sharing has an internal focus only


  • Very suitable for IT, mathematical & statistical learning
  • Complements other learning to present feedback and results and for the purpose of producing award assessments
  • Delegates can choose the time and place to study
  • There is no delegate participation or integration
  • No sense of occasion of having attended a training course


Q. What experience can your delegates expect in the training session?  role play training

A. The training experience is one of the most important factors when choosing a management training provider. Your managers will probably want to know this above everything else. Formats for learning can vary and some delegates are nervous about being asked to ‘role play’ within a training session. You may wish to clarify the maximum number of delegates in one session, room layout, number of delegates per table, and the type of group activities/break-out sessions.


Q. How many training venues does the provider offer?

A. A quality training provider will offer frequent courses in all major cities/towns, which will be relatively easy for your delegates to reach. If your organisation has multiple sites around the country and/or you have employees based in different locations, it will certainly be cost-effective and save your delegates time, if they can attend a course in a location near to them. You can also rest assured that each of your employees experiences the same training irrespective where they attend the training.


A. Does the provider offer a variety of courses and for different levels of seniority?

A. A specialist management training provider will offer, as standard, a range of management training courses to cover most aspects of your delegates’ roles. They will also provide different levels of courses dependent upon the responsibilities and seniority of your delegates.

Aside from their standard courses the training provider may also be able to provide ad hoc training to support managers in customer service skills, financial awareness, etc., so if you think this is something you may need in the future, it would be worthwhile asking your shortlisted providers what experience they have in other areas.

Even a training provider that predominantly provides open courses should be able to offer in-house and bespoke training, so again you may wish to enquire about this if you think it is something that you may need in the future.


Q. What is the longevity and flexibility of the provider of the training?

A. This is a big unseen one! If you’re embarking on a management training programme you will probably have a group of managers ready for training now and others to be trained later on. There will be new recruits joining the business in the future who will also need to undergo the training. To ensure consistency in the training delivered and the learnings gained, an established provider with experienced trainers is essential.

By working with the same provider over a number of years, you can continually develop your employees safe in the knowledge that the newer recruits are being trained in the same way as the longer-serving members and that they can share and pass on knowledge.

It will also be helpful to know if each individual course can be attended on its own but also used as part of a framework/award programme or whether your managers will be expected to attend courses and complete the training over four or five consecutive days.


Q. What are the advantages of using an external provider?

A. Most small to medium-sized companies do not have the in-house skills on a full-time basis to be able to offer a range of course topics to meet the diverse needs of their employees. Larger organisations may have in-house trainers but they do not necessarily have the expertise in all areas nor the freshness of ideas offered by an external company.

In addition, the use of a specialist external provider brings authority and credibility to the training that may not be achieved with internal trainers.

Many corporate organisations with their own in-house training departments also like to use external providers so that their managers absorb new ideas and techniques.


Q. Does it matter if the training provider employs its own trainers or uses associates?

A. Definitely! The key benefit when a provider employs its own trainers is consistency. So irrespective of the time, location and topic of the course, your delegates will be delivered consistent, high-quality training by a team of trainers who continuously work closely together.

Additionally, your employees may meet the trainer again if they take a course in the future which provides consistency and enhances the delegate experience – this is much less likely with an organisation that uses associate trainers.


Q. Can your delegates choose different training modules within the courses on offer?

A. This depends on the training provider and the courses they offer. If they are an accredited learning and development training provider they will work with a professional body like the Institute of Learning & Management (ILM). This means that delegates can choose to continuously develop professionally and study an award. It will depend on the award but generally there are core modules for all participants, as well as a choice of optional modules from which each delegate can choose depending on their preference and job title.


Q. Does it matter if the training provider is accredited and what does it mean?

A. There are many organisations who offer training, so you will have a great choice when selecting a provider. If the provider is accredited by a professional body like the ILM, CIPD or similar, it signifies that their trainers and content have been assessed and certified by a professional body, so they will be delivering high-quality courses. This accreditation will be regularly reviewed by that body so training and administration is likely to be of a consistently high level.

It also means that the provider can offer your employees the opportunity to further develop professionally and support them on the road to achieving an award.


Q. Is there an option for your people to continuously develop/study further after attending a course?ILM Award Level 3

A. If the training provider is accredited with a professional learning body like the ILM, they will offer an award scheme and support your delegates to achieve this qualification (see above).

Where gaps are identified in skills or your employee wishes to enhance their knowledge in a particular area, there should be the chance to take further courses on different topics.


Q. If there is an award scheme, what is the process?

A. The training provider will be able to clarify their individual details. You will probably need to know the different levels of award available, the time period allowed to attend additional courses and complete the assessments, whether the assessments can be completed online or if your colleagues need to go to an approved centre to complete their assessments. The costs and registration process involved should be clear too.



Q. Is there a straight-forward pricing structure to the courses?

A. A training provider that offers a variety of courses on a regular basis should have a transparent pricing structure that may well be displayed on their website. If you are prepared to buy a bundle of courses upfront there may also be the opportunity for a discount.

A straight-forward pricing structure is particularly beneficial for HR managers who are responsible for booking many delegates onto training when it comes to budgeting and achieving sign-off and it ensures that costs do not get out of hand with future moves and changes.


Q. How do I find out if there’s any funding available for my organisation?

A. Funding of up to 50% is currently available to organisations in England, Scotland and Wales who are investing in management training via the Institute of Learning & Management (ILM) open courses.

This makes access to training easier to start at the moment and helps to provide extremely good returns on training investment. With the current budget you only need to provide a few details about your organisation and the delegate(s) attending and then the process can be completed quickly over the telephone.


Q. Finally, do you think you will enjoy working with them?

A. It goes without saying, but first impressions count. Can you build a rapport with the people on the phone, do you find the trainers knowledgeable, professional and approachable and is the organisation interested in understanding your training requirements?


Good luck in your search for a management training provider. We would be happy to help with any other questions you may have – so please contact us.

Leaders – The things you shouldn’t know…

Dear leader.  Please remember that you don’t know everything about the way your business is run.  The knowledge lies with the company as a whole.

So when you discuss issues with your senior team you should not be telling them what to do, because in their area of expertise they should be the expert – not you.

Take for example a situation I saw recently where a company had a sudden and urgent need to change a software platform.  Read more

Managing volunteers: Herding cats or a great team spirit?

Management theory is normally developed around commercial organisations leaving the charity sector to interpret it to their own needs. But some charities are large organisations with many staff to manage, and they too can benefit from some of the lessons of good management thinking.

Recent discussions with people running High Street charity shops highlighted to me the different challenges that they face from the commercial sector.  Our view of the charity shop may be of a slightly messy down-at-the heel retail space, but for the charity it is often a major source of income, and with other income streams becoming ever tighter, there is greater pressure on making the shops a successful venture.  However, the charity shop is likely to be largely staffed by volunteers coming from all walks of life, and you probably can’t be too choosy about who you take on. Read more

Food for marketing thought

Today I’m going food shopping.  I need to buy bread, milk and some groceries for a dinner party at the weekend.  Where shall I go to buy my food?  I have a choice of going into town to Marks & Spencer or using Aldi on the by-pass, or I could head out of town to the farm shop in my local village.

So what is going to inform my decision about which way to go?  There may be issues about parking and convenience, but beyond that I am making a decision about which philosophy I choose to follow. Read more