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Join our webinar: Demystifying Data Literacy

What is data literacy, and why it is key to your organisation achieving its data analytics and digital transformation strategies?

How can you best advise your business stakeholders on how to increase the level of data literacy in your organisation?

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Join our free, interactive webinar. We’ll not only answer these questions for you, but we’ll give you the confidence to engage with, and advise your business stakeholders on how to develop a widespread, job-role appropriate level of data literacy.

KEY TAKEAWAYS – at the end of this webinar, you’ll be able to:

To join the webinar at 8am on Wednesday 3rd November, register here.

To join the webinar at 1pm on Wednesday 3rd November, register here.

By Hector Payne, Chief Learning Officer, Alpha Development

The whole “Homogeneity of Early Careers Programme Design” discussion is trending again.

It’s not a secret that getting in front of the right talent with the right experience is a top priority for today’s early career development teams (ECDTs henceforth.) The problem is that most graduate programme design is “homogeneous.” ECDTs typically offer a one size fits all experience treatment to their defined audiences – and though it may aim to appeal to lots of different talent from different backgrounds, it is homogenized into one single output for everyone, regardless of their individual preferences or needs.

Sticking to a homogenous approach to early career development experience design, whether it’s design for the entire firm or specific desks, is a problem (or opportunity, depends on how you view the challenge) and can put your campus brand in jeopardy. By presenting the best average experience instead of a truly personalized output, ECDTs expose their firms to extinction risk. Extinction risk is when a business, like animal species, becomes vulnerable to change to such a degree that it might not be able to survive large environmental fluctuations. The Covid year alone has been a source of rich case studies and data points that has put the spotlight on extinction risk for firms.

Extinction risk is often masked by things that could be indicators of a healthy business, e.g. great revenue. Because of this, it’s vital for organisations to recognize the signs early on and make sure their strategies are setting them up for long-term growth. The key to this is diversity in programme design, audience and business.

Graduate programmesDiversity in programme design- Due to the nature of individual preference, a programme offering to a group, will inevitably garner different reactions. A “good” programme design will appeal to a certain audience, though even an incredibly successful campaign will miss the mark for some. By keeping your programme design homogeneous, you will not have the ability to learn from that distribution of responses. When the performance of your programme is assessed using conversion rates or attrition rates, the nuanced range of reactions is flattened, hidden behind a single metric. That lost information could have been a great resource – informing your teams more about their talent and how to better reach them. By giving people only one creative option and measuring whether it did well or poorly, you are using blunt tools that can only produce blunt insights that don’t do a good job of informing future campaigns or even identifying future talent potential- dare I say even identifying future leaders for functions. Producing and using multiple creative approaches to programme design can provide a number of benefits, including better serving an audience in real-time as well as gaining insights that will help teams make better decisions in the future.

Diversity in your talent pool- Homogeneous design treats the inherent diversity of a group of talent as a problem to be solved: by serving singular creative options to an audience, early career development teams will endear those that resemble the average while alienating those outside it. By targeting and understanding relative outliers, ECDTs can grow their talent base by attracting new people. This process activates a positive feedback loop between homogeneous programme design and homogeneous audience, in which designs tailored toward the average encourage talent to conform more to the average of the group. If ECDTs continue to iterate on that, eventually all talent will start to look alike. And if something happens to said group, it could mean disaster. This is not unlike extinction as we know it in the biological world. If a core audience shares many of the same characteristics, any major change in the environment, such as a pandemic, global warming or major economic changes is likely to affect all of them at once. It goes without saying that change is inevitable – so why would ECDTs risk it all on one group?

For those that take a heterogeneous approach, the inevitable changes that come along will have much less potential to drastically upend a market in a short period of time. And this approach will likely help ECDTs more effectively reach a larger talent pool and grow a business in the long run.

Diversity in your business- As the feedback loop of homogeneous design and talent pools becomes more acute, it’s inevitable that a business will adapt and follow suit – becoming prone to extinction risk. In the animal kingdom, the Ili Pika only discovered in 1983 (thank you National Geographic) have developed a high level of specialization: they live on sloping bare rock faces and feed on grass at very high elevations. Yet despite these specialized skills, they are vulnerable to extinction. Rising temperatures and air pollution have contributed to their decline. This risk often affects those who over-specialize and become dependent on the conditions that enabled them to thrive in the first place.

If another species finds that they can easily rely on one food source, they might sharpen their hunting abilities for that type of prey instead of diversifying their skills. While it might seem like an appealing option, as it provides the most immediate rewards, it poses a great risk. If something comes along that wipes out that food source, the unique animal goes along with it. The same is true in early careers development – when you focus only on improving programme design to cater to that top quartile of talent, you run the risk of losing that base when the – often unavoidable – change occurs.

Homogeneous design forces a constant narrowing of your talent pool, in both size and diversity, iteration by iteration. ECDTs should rethink what constitutes successful targeting and good design, and instead choose a heterogeneous programme design approach to expand their reach and appeal in order to attract and build loyalty with your future talent.

Early career programme design is not abstract visual expression. It is a conversation framework between humans. The components and interactions we create as programme designers are like parts of a global language. Just like you wouldn’t want to have a conversation that’s fragmented into multiple languages, you wouldn’t want unique fragmentation in the way you communicate with your talent or business.

Contact your Alpha relationship manager if you are thinking about reviewing your current approach and would like to have a conversation.

Later this month we will be hosting a webinar with Dr Jane Clark, Global Head of Service Development, AMS, who has recently undertaken some game-changing research as part of her PhD. In the hour-long session, Jane will reveal the real value and impact that graduate programmes can have for organisations and the graduates themselves whom often get overlooked in the process. The event is taking place on Tuesday 19th October and Thursday 21st October. Click on your preferred date to register your interest in attending – we look forward to seeing you there.

WEBINAR: Quid Pro Quo – Repurposing The Purpose Of Graduate Programmes

 

Development of early talent is paramount to developing a sustainable workforce for the future.

But sometimes it seems stuck in the past.

We are thrilled to be hosting an event with Dr Jane Clark, Global Head of Service Development, AMS, who has recently undertaken some game-changing research as part of her PhD.

In the hour-long webinar, Jane will reveal the real value and impact that graduate programmes can have for organisations as well as the graduates themselves whom often get overlooked in the process.

During the interactive event, Jane will share three thought-provoking themes that came out of her research

  1. What’s the difference between the purpose and value of Graduate Development Programmes?
  2. How do Graduate Programmes impact the ‘EI’ in DEI?
  3. How do you measure the success of Graduate Programmes? And should you measure their success?

You’ll also be able to ask Jane questions within the live Q&A session.

Isn’t it time that the value of graduate recruitment is viewed from a different and fairer lens?

We are running 2 sessions on the 19th and 21st October. Please choose the session that works best with your time zone. We look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, 19th October 1pm GMT+1  JOIN THIS SESSION

Thursday, 21st October 8am GMT+1  JOIN THIS SESSION

 

PRESS RELEASE

Alpha Development has appointed Robert Conlon as Global Head of Leadership to support Alpha’s growing professional skills business.

Alpha Development is delighted to announce the appointment of Robert Conlon as Global Head of Leadership Product.

With his experience of supporting successful leadership interventions in over forty countries, he brings the right mix of academic and business experience to propel Alpha’s leadership proposition to the next level.

When asked for the reasons for joining Alpha, Robert responded, “Alpha’s client base is impressive, encompassing some of the biggest banking brands globally. The opportunity to work with such amazing clients in their leadership journey was something I wanted to be part of. I was also attracted to the Alpha culture of innovation and growth.”

Robert joins the expanding Alpha product team lead by Hector Payne.

“Robert’s arrival signifies our continuing and growing investment in our product offering. We want to ensure that our clients receive a service that extends to building a long-term partnership in developing their talent. Leadership development continues to grow as firms seek to diversify their talent pools and is an important component of our golden thread solution to building the next generation of leaders. It is great to have Robert on board to drive and develop our leadership product roadmap,” says Hector Payne, Chief Learning Officer.

Speak to Robert about how Alpha Development can support your leadership strategy.

 

About Alpha Development

Alpha Development is a global financial training specialist delivering early career learning solutions to support employee and business performance. Our team of specialists have been working with investment and regional banks, insurance firms and asset managers since 2003 to design tailored employee learning programmes.

With offices in London, Singapore, New York and Abu Dhabi, Alpha Development supports employee and business growth through a range of developmental training programmes in areas including Financial Product and Accounting, Professional Skills, Sales & Client Relationship, Talent & Leadership, and Graduate & Intern Onboarding.

 

Media Relations
For press or marketing information, contact [email protected].

Evolving leadership skills in financial services

In a volatile and complex world, financial organisations are working to strategically align with challenges such as digital transformation, inclusion, and responsible governance, while wrestling with the perennial operational test of time.

Addressing this can mean re-learning old skills, adopting new ones, or both.

Our philosophy focuses on the paradigm shift in leadership among financial services due to the impact of new ways of working, coupled with technology innovations.

“Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” – John C Maxwell, leadership author and speaker.

 

Building a positive business impact through leadership

Imagine employees at all levels within your business thriving within tomorrow’s changing business world. Imagine they had the skills to recognise the complexity of this new world and to drive the organisation forward despite any ambiguity.

By adopting our customised learning solutions, you can encourage your employees to lead by:

 

Stages of the leadership journey

The leadership style within your organisation is likely to be completely different to other organisations within your industry. Your culture is even more personal than that. Layered on top of that is a fact that you don’t have to be a leader to lead.

When it comes to shaping differing leadership styles within diverse cultures, it’s clear that one size does not fit all. Our approach to leadership inspires employees to use and develop their inner leadership skills despite what stage they’re at within their career.

Positive Leadership

Wherever they are within their careers, our tailored programmes are custom built to:

 

The learner experience for business impact

We support people at every stage of their leadership journey through a highly constructive learner experience.

Our customisable training content enables you to build a learning programme that can meet the challenges financial institutions face within a VUCA environment.

“We really appreciate that Alpha team members are true partners in every sense of the word. They clearly value the participant experience over convenience and financial gain.” -SVP. Top 5 US Bank

 

Align a culture of learning through leadership and unlock the leader in your employees

Whether you’re developing the next generation of leaders, encouraging employees to drive change, building resilience or managing people and resources, we can help.

 

For more information about building a positive business impact through leadership, please contact us today.

By Monica Mascy, MBSR practitioner and mindfulness coach  

Monica Mascy shares her 5 top tips to using mindfulness to combat stress

 

1. Become mindful about mindfulness: Many businesses are struggling to continue ‘as usual’ in these unusual times. 

By encouraging open and honest communication about mental health and wellbeing, companies can introduce effective solutions to increase a supportive work environment.  

 
On an online program I conducted last year where the organisation insisted that participants have their cameras on, I noticed a participant cradling her infant from time to time, appearing visibly uncomfortable. Acknowledging that, I appreciated her involvement despite her challenging situation, and helped her relax as I noticed her discomfort dissolve. She seemed more confident and contributed more actively to the discussion. 
 

 

2. Mindfulness breaks and training: The basis of increasing empathy, better working relationships, improved productivity, work-life balance and increased creativity and innovation are just some of the benefits of mindfulness.

Formal online or offline coaching, counselling, wellbeing, and self-awareness programs throughout the organisation, shifting the focus of learning at work from professional skill-building to personal wellbeing, should be the focus.

 

3. Developing emotionally intelligent leaders: Actions, tasks, and results might be the focus of leaders, but they can only be achieved through their people.

As with most other strategies, mindfulness needs to begin at the top. Only through awareness and mindfulness can leaders become aware of their thoughts, emotions, and behaviours to lead authentically and communicate with empathy, decreasing their employees’ stress and anxiety levels to achieve results. 

As leaders pay attention to employees as ‘human beings’, not mere ‘resources’, the quality of the organisation’s products, services, and image dramatically improves – leading to an increased bottom line. 

Isn’t that the goal of all leaders, after all?  


Daniel Goleman often says that poor listening skills are the common cold of leadership today. While listening attentively, without judgement or bias to the person in front of you, relationships thrive, and eco-centric rather than egocentric decisions are made. 


 

4. Encourage a proactive growth mindset: Encouraging employees to strengthen their mindfulness proactively, thereby becoming more resilient and effective by redefining their routines, centring their lives around mindfulness and connecting with co-workers beyond work and virtual meetings to reduce anxiety and foster a culture of motivation, wellbeing and engagement.   

 
Being mindful of things, people and circumstances that we are grateful for and focusing on wellbeing (our own and that of others) will help strengthen our bodies and souls and the organisation’s support culture.  
 
Focusing on fostering a sense of wellbeing in the workplace leads to better relationships, work-life balance, a sense of aliveness and joy for employees and employers. This will help to redefine and sustain an organisation’s productivity, resilience and increase innovation. 

 

5. Create Mindful Groups/ pods at work:  Organisations must encourage employees to join a support group or pod that is cross-functional across regions, levels and departments with guidelines for regular meetings to discuss experiences of being mindful and consequences of not being present. 
 

Last year, I completed a six-month course with coaches across the globe on ‘positive intelligence’. The course required us to join a ‘pod’ consisting of 3 – 5 coaches. The pod aimed to hold its members accountable to complete the homework, discuss it and share learnings. But most importantly, what it achieved was to remind us to be present. We easily get caught up in our busy lives and have ‘no time’ to be mindful. Over the weeks, I realised that though it was hard to practice initially, it soon became a habit. I didn’t have to try to be mindful anymore.  
 
I soon began to yearn to be in that state, as I realised that the feelings of wellbeing and peace that it induces is the constant pursuit that we, as human beings, are always in – the pursuit of happiness. 
 
 
About Monica Mascy 
 
Monica is an MBSR practitioner and mindfulness coach supporting people to use the benefits of mindfulness to reduce stress, increase creativity, empathy and the quality of their relationships. She has led teams in diverse industries across America, Australia, Europe, Middle East and South-East Asia and brings cultural awareness and sensitivity into her coaching. Monica has coached various leaders and senior executives at Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, 3M, Swiss Re, GE, Novo Nordisk, Parexcel, Cisco Systems, Siemens, EMC2, SAP, E&Y, and Volvo. 

 

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In this panel discussion, Anesh Jagtiani, Commercial Director, Middle East, at Alpha Development speaks with leadership professionals, Evren Altiok, COO, Commercial Bank International, Sascha Pietrek, CEO, EFG Middle East, and Neil Chan Some, AVP – Retail Process Development, UAE based banking institution, about workplace transformation.

By Raghda ElDeeb, Programme Manager, Alpha Development

The Emiratisation governmental initiative, launched by the UAE Government, mandates the inclusion of UAE citizens in the job sector to preserve national identity.

Whether it’s Emiratisation, Saudisation, or Qatarisation, Nationalisation has proven to provide economic and social stability as the UAE Government empowers its citizens by guaranteeing career opportunities in the public and private sector.

His Highness, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE once said, “no matter how many buildings, foundations, schools and hospitals we build, or how many bridges we raise, all these are material entities. The real spirit behind progress is the human spirit, the able man with his intellect and capabilities.”

With this statement, it is palpable that the UAE government enacts these values by investing 25% of its total federal government spending on:

  • robust educational systems,
  • graduate programmes in public and private sectors,
  • training programmes for employees’ professional development,
  • and versatile educational initiatives to support upscaling the Emirati national’s skills and capabilities.
UAE

The Ministry of Finance’s Development and Training Programme is an example of the latter, where their integral element of its strategic plan aims to support UAE nationals by offering an engaging, performance-driven environment through their annual training workshops.

 

A holistic approach to learning by investing in people

Investing in people means investing in the future of the nation. With these initiatives, UAE citizens will be equipped with the skills, knowledge, and attitude to thrive in their professional roles and responsibilities.

Following the steps of His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, maximising the human spirit involves a strategy, a mapped journey that focuses on holistic 360-degree programmes that include all elements of professional and technical training, and on-the-job support.

This approach, especially at an early stage of a professionals career, provides UAE citizens with the education and skills needed to:

  • excel in their roles,
  • boost their confidence to take on responsibilities,
  • and increase employee retention.

 

A well-mapped learning journey doesn’t only prepare entry level employees to thrive, but it also aids existing employees in developing new skills required by financial services firms to be future-ready, whilst increasing overall employee agility and resilience to the everchanging market demands.

Get in touch

Alpha Development specialise in early career development exclusively for financial service organisations. Our tailored solutions include intern and graduate programmes, technical training, professional development, and on-boarding through robust curated curriculum designed by experienced faculty in the financial and banking industry, and delivered through innovative and engaging methods.

Get in touch to discuss your learning and development requirements with us.

In this panel discussion, Anesh Jagtiani, Commercial Director, Middle East, at Alpha Development speaks with leadership professionals, Yasin Bhatti, Senior Manager – Projects and Programmes at ADGM Academy, Vivek Arjun Gehani, Managing Director at Bank of Singapore, and Mannan Adenwalla, Managing Director at LGT (Middle East) about the changes in leadership in financial services since the pandemic.

During the global pandemic, we pivoted the training for one of UAE’s biggest banks. We successfully moved to virtual learning to help them achieve their business objective of team transformation in just six months.

With the rapid changes reshaping the banking business, our client needed support in staying ahead of the speed of change.

 

The Challenge

Our client needed to develop 26 internal Emirati employees for middle management and critical roles as part of their key Emiratisation initiatives as issued by the Central Bank.

They asked us to support team transformation within a space of six months, focusing on three primary objectives to help develop their employees. We needed to:

  • drive engagement and provide a shared direction and culture
  • build leadership capabilities to ensure success in implementing the bank transformation
  • enhance the participants’ skills in strategic implementation

“The challenge for the bank was finding the right training that aligned with their values. We don’t use a ‘one size fits all’ approach to our development programmes, so this allowed us to adapt and tailor them to our client’s requirements.”

Anesh Jagtiani, Commercial Director, Middle East.

The Solution

Our programme experts designed a six month Leadership Programme placing the client’s values, unique cultural characteristics and the customer-driven, commercial direction of the organisation at the heart of the solution.

We designed a programme that supported mid-level executives in understanding leadership dynamics by providing tools to create a clear commercial strategy and making them more aware of their potential.

“Working directly with our client was an essential part of understanding their business needs, and we were able to implement a strategy to enable long-term growth that allowed employees to enhance their skills moving forward.” – Anesh Jagtiani.

To ensure alignment with our clients’ overall transformation objectives, a Leadership Capabilities Framework formed the basis of our training solution. We also implemented a four-pillar model (Versatile leadership, commercial leadership, collaborative leadership and influential leadership), which tied into the organisation’s Leadership Capabilities.

Anesh Jagtiani

“We were able to implement a strategy to enable long-term growth that allowed employees to enhance their skills moving forward.”

Anesh Jagtiani.

The Impact

Our tailored program enabled the bank and its’ employees to develop their skills in line with the business values and objectives, giving participants the practical tools, techniques and insight to be strategic and resilient leaders.

We were able to apply a six month team transform to capable leaders with a broadened perspective and a greater understanding of strategic thinking and decision-making. Our comprehensive analytics and in-depth assessments also supported senior stakeholders in making informed decisions about which participants were ready to move up the organisational ladder.

Partner with us

Implement your learning and development training with us. At Alpha Development, we specialise in providing training solutions for firms within the financial services worldwide.

Our programmes come with interactive online training with real-life scenarios and solutions to ensure your team can adapt and transform into the leaders you want them to be.

Contact us to discuss how we could support your learning and development strategy.

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