We’ve been a little quiet on the blog front lately (sorry for that!), we’ve had a busy start to the year and you know how it is, weeks pass you by and the next thing you know you’re about to indulge in Easter…
As most of you will know, last year marked a huge turning point for Para-Sols. Our client list tipped over the 110 mark and we doubled the size of team in 12 months, a lot of which can be credited to us relaunching our graduate programme – The Grad Scheme – earlier that year. As with any expansion though, we certainly experienced some teething problems as we introduced new systems and processes, identified gaps in our training and just generally embedded new personalities into an already established culture.
Not ones to rest on our laurels and as great believers of only being ‘as good as your last report’, we focussed all our efforts into building up our learning and development framework for all the team (new and existing) and so that we always have an eye on our quality, introduced a new role which has seen our previous Head of Paraplanning, Jo Campbell, promoted to Director of Quality & Operations.
As well as a structure shuffle, Cathi, together our Director of Culture & Engagement Natalie Bell, also introduced a number of staff initiatives to make sure that the teams professional development didn’t take a back-seat when the day job got crazy busy.
“Encouraging personal growth runs at the core of everything we do. It may sound a bit of cliché, but we believe our role as employers is to encourage people to grow as individuals. Of course, when that happens we grow collectively as a business too” says Natalie Bell
At the end of last year, we put a temporary hold on onboarding new clients and have focussed the last 6 months on talent management alongside giving our existing client base some love and attention.
We’d be here until next week filling you in on all the finite detail of ‘how’, so in brief, here are some of the highlights…
- designing and rolling-out our new report templates, making them much more user friendly and generally giving them a much fresher and modern look;
- made the most of the down-time and closed the office for the first week back in January to deliver dedicated technical training across all levels of the business;
- carried out a recruitment drive to build capacity in our ‘supporting roles’ so that our paraplanning team could maximise their time on the job at hand (more on that in a future blog);
- launching a breakfast ‘Study Club’ for all staff so they have protected time, at least 3 times a week, dedicated to their studies with food available to fuel their mind and a senior member of the team on hand to answer questions;
- sat, and passed, a record-breaking number of qualifications across January, February and March (see blog Exam-tastic Progress); and
- bringing our Health & Wellbeing programme activity (such as step challenges, nutrition talks and setting up a running club) to the forefront to keep the inevitable Winter germs at bay and hold onto our sanity during the chaos.
It’s been an interesting year, and more recently, interesting few months but our leadership team have faced each challenge head-on and are feeling pretty proud of themselves for reaching this point still with a smile on their face and hair on their head (albeit with more grey). And although we’re not naive enough to think we’re walking into the sunset just yet, the light at the end of the tunnel is getting much brighter and as we head into Spring, we are seeing our efforts come to fruition.