Driving change through training and development
A Northern Rock case study

Page 1: Introduction

Northern Rock 2 Image 3Every organisation needs to move forward and face the future. In order to do so it must take decisions which create a better way of doing things. Change and the improvements brought about by change are at the heart of strategic planning. Strategic planning is a process which involves an organisation in defining its future achievements and then providing the means to achieve these goals.

In 1994 Northern Rock undertook a strategic review which encouraged it to become more proactive than reactive so that it could sustain and improve growth. The key element during this process of change was the training and development of staff. This case study focuses on how training and development at an organisational level, was used by Northern Rock during this process of change to equip the Society for the many challenges of the 21st century.

Over recent years, one market which has been subject to increasing change has been that of financial services. In competitive markets, organisations have to monitor their business environment and adjust their strategies so that consumer needs are fulfilled profitably. In such times it is the responsibility of decision-makers to identify whether change needs to take place and prepare organisations for this change by implementing training and development strategies to help them to build a better future.

With competition in the financial and insurance sector increasing, Northern Rock accepted that it had to recognise the needs of its customers and communicate to them how it had the products and services to satisfy those needs. The review resulted in the development of a programme called Selling To Achieve Results (STAR) which was to provide Northern Rock with the ability to maintain and further develop its competitive position.

Training & development

Training and development is important during a process of change. As changes occur, training is a process which makes sure that individuals can reach an acceptable performance in their jobs. It sets out to fill the gap between what they are currently doing and what they are required to do as and when the changes take place. It therefore builds up the skills which help to increase the competence of people in the work place.

Development is the modification of behaviour through improved experience and understanding of a role or position. Development works hand-in-hand with training as it helps individuals to review their present achievements and experience and set learning goals which relate to where they want to be. This is known as a development plan.

In the tough world of financial services Northern Rock is one of the country’s top-performing building societies. The principal purpose of the Group is the provision of housing finance, savings and investment services and a range of related personal financial and banking services, supported by a commitment to top quality customer service and backed by security afforded by a strong capital position. This intention is clearly stated in Northern Rock’s primary operating policy statement:

Northern Rock is determined to remain a successful and independent building society. We will seek profitable growth by offering a competitive range of financial services grouped mainly around home ownership. Based in the North East of England, each year NORTHERN ROCK:

  • helps thousands of people to buy a new home;
  • provides thousands of people with a profitable haven for their savings;
  • solves or reduces the arrears problems of thousands of people;
  • creates jobs for people in the North East of England and elsewhere.

In an era of rapid change in the financial services industry, Northern Rock has continued to improve both its efficiency and its financial performance through the delivery of sound products and good service. This has included the successful integration of the former North of England Building Society and the continued development of the business in line with its policy statement in order to be ready and able to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Northern Rock | Driving change through training and development

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