In an update to our previous Natural Power case study, Managing Director Ted Leeming and Director Neil Douglas tell us more about how their company invests to ensure a motivated and productive workforce.
Natural Power is an independent renewable energy consultancy and product supplier, and offers services including ecology and hydrology, planning, construction and geotechnical, asset management and due diligence.
Ted Leeming believes talent development strategies are powerful tools in his business
As the company continues to grow and expand globally, Managing Director Ted Leeming says investing in skills makes his employees and company more competitive.
“Our talent is our future,” he says. “Retaining that talent is key to driving the business forward. Continual development of our learning and development strategy ensures our ongoing competitiveness in what is ultimately one of the most exciting markets globally and, I hope, provides the opportunity to work for one of the most exciting companies within the market.”
From their global HQ, Natural Power takes clients’ renewables projects from concept to operation.
This means an incredibly wide variety of roles for its staff to fulfil, including operational controllers manning the 24/7 control centre, which manages almost 40% of the UK’s onshore wind energy, ecologists ensuring the environmental success of any project, and technical analysts, who secure ultimate operational success.
Such a diverse base necessarily requires a diverse set of skills. “There are excellent support mechanisms and opportunities to further our staff’s knowledge and careers once onboard,” notes Leeming, “and we constantly develop our employee value statement in line with the company’s growth and the maturing market.
“We continually look at new methods and different types of learning – in a modern working world people have different needs, especially in terms of learning styles. It is our responsibility to understand these needs in order to maximise the potential available and then retain the talent.”
Mechanisms for support
Leadership skills are an integral element here and both Leeming and Douglas believe it is important for businesses to embrace strategies for both leadership and confidence.
“Natural Power is a relatively young company and our emerging leaders are essential to the future – onwards and upward development, managed appropriately, are keys to holding on to that talent.
There are numerous mechanisms for support from outside the organisation, from bodies such as Scottish Enterprise, with which we have developed core training programmes for all of our senior management.”
Leeming is keen to emphasise that training and development of staff are essential. He says: “We place a strong focus on our employee lifecycles, providing opportunities almost from day one to participate in company-wide committees, such as our environmental or staff committee.
You do need to ask yourself some pretty difficult questions when you're looking at organisational change.
Neil Douglas - Director, Natural Power
Recent projects have resulted in the implementation of solutions such as our carbon management plan.” This mission to nurture leadership and talent within the company has led Natural Power to be active in a number of HR groups, through trade associations and with wider industry bodies.
Leeming says: “We have found that the promotion of successful talent development strategies is a very powerful tool. There is a real benefit in the sharing of success stories – where others can learn, and where both the industry and the
country as a whole improve.”
So what prevents many businesses from embracing staff improvement?
Leeming says: “In a rapidly growing company in an equally rapidly growing market, you can become a victim of your own success where time and financial pressures act as obstacles to those businesses wishing to work harder for their staff."
“This, combined with a lack of, or misdirected, company vision can be a dangerous mix. However, one thing should always be at the forefront of our minds – our people are our biggest asset.”
We constantly develop our employee value statement in line with the company’s growth and the maturing market.
Ted Leeming - MD, Natural Power
How do we attract and develop the best people?
The business identified that - as they continued to grow - talent management would be a critical factor in achieving the planned development. As a result, they developed a leadership development programme to build on that talent.
Now the company has a leadership strategy to build on as the company expands, allowing top management to focus on the strategic growth of the company as the younger leaders accept more responsibility for the business management.
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