Business Partner Academy Programme for Weetabix

A development programme to shift the culture and behaviour of business partnering at Weetabix.

The brief

There had already been ‘Business Partners’ (BPs) in several functions within Weetabix for many years, including HR, Finance, Procurement, and IT. However, it was felt that there was a lack of consistent ways of working, and so Weetabix was keen to invest in their BPs with a development programme that created a common understanding and language around what it means to be a Business Partner at Weetabix, what is expected, and what good business partnering looks like.

Our client wanted to launch a Weetabix-tailored, academy-style programme that would align with their culture, values, and principles, in order to redefine what is expected of their BPs.

Their goals for this unique programme included:

  • The creation of a BP toolkit’/frameworks and language that could be applied within the community of BPs across multiple Weetabix sites.
  • A consistent set of approaches to ways of working.
  • Better collaboration, engagement, and cross-functional relationships, building a close-knit community of BPs. 
  • An increase in the confidence of BPs to challenge, influence, drive change and align their conversations to the strategic direction of the business.
  • A mindset shift across the BP community, helping them to feel empowered to create a mutually value-adding ‘peer-to-peer’ partner relationships.

Why Connor?   

Our client really appreciated our deep level of experience in this area. We have been supporting our clients to evolve and thrive for almost 30 years, applying our deep expertise in professional and personal development, transition, organisational change, and leadership.

In addition, Weetabix specifically required a supplier that could support them in building cross-functional relationships and ways of working across multiple areas of the business, and different sites. They felt that Connor was one of the only suppliers in the market with this cross functional experience, that had proven success in delivering BP programmes not just in HR, but across a variety of central service functions.

We love designing and delivering programmes that are tailored specifically to our clients’ cultures and that deliver real, measurable impact. Our content is tried, tested, award-nominated, and brings learning to life for BPs to apply within their world.

Our approach

We took a 4-step approach to delivering this programme, starting with a discovery and design phase to deeply understand delegate requirements. We developed an end-to-end development programme which included a series of tailored group development modules to build and embed the mindset, behaviours, skills, and confidence of BPs.

A practical business project was weaved into the programme to support learning and skills application, and reviews and evaluation and measures were put in place before and after the programme, to demonstrate improvement.

What we delivered

The blended programme comprised of 4 core modules, preceded by a launch, and followed by an embedding and celebration session:

When describing the programme, Senior Learning and Development Manager at Weetabix, Amanda Cliff, commented,

“I’d recommend Connor as the company that has really listened to our needs. The facilitators have been truly engaged with Weetabix and wanted to get it right. They implemented regular touchpoints with regular stakeholders, and it has been very beneficial to seek their feedback.

Cross functional needs across the business have been different and Connor were great at listening to this, pulling out their needs and from this, providing recommendations. They listened, checked back, understood, and developed the programme.

To summarise, it has been a true collaboration, not a standard pack off the shelf. It’s been a partnership between us and Connor. That’s how we like to operate.”

Moving forward with Cohort 2

Building on the success of the first cohort, Weetabix committed to further building their Academy, so it continues to develop, endure, and set an industry standard.

As such, the second cohort launched within Weetabix. To further support the cross-functional aspect of the programme, attendees from cohort 1 took the role of mentoring and acting as ‘buddies’ to new members of Cohort 2. In addition, the practical business projects that were begun by cohort 1 were handed over to cohort 2, with both cohorts collaborating on this business specific, live application of learning and skill.

Key results

What the client said

“I’ve seen a real increase in confidence in the BPs, and an increased understanding of what the business needs. In at least one BP, I’ve seen the change ‘in spades.’ Finance business partners have been driving for more engagement and understanding. Managing upwards is even better too.” Kevin Welch, Head of IT and Business Systems

“I can see in the BP’s approach that they’ve really stepped up and taken a lot from the programme. My team thoroughly enjoyed it and speak highly of the experience.” Stuart Benham, Head of HR

“It definitely met what I had hoped it would achieve. We’ve just been through one of the most challenging budget setting cycles and the challenge and support from Finance Business Partners is at a level never seen before. I’ve seen more negotiation and expectation setting up-front.” Bruce Condon, Finance Director

Further delegate feedback

 “I would completely recommend! The workshops have clear value and defined outcomes.”

 “100% do this course.”

 “Do it!! It will change you.”

 “It’s informative and thought provoking. It put learning into practice quickly. Small changes can have a big impact.”

“Worthwhile and beneficial for all. There’s something you will gain – it may just differ per person.”

 ‘It’s brilliant. Go with an open mind and be willing to listen and engage.”

 “Very value adding to work life, it makes you reflect and become self-aware to drive positive change.”

 “Great course and great use of time to get a standard approach across the business to business partnering.”

Want to know more?

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