Ten years’ ago, TNS (Taylor Nelson Sofres plc) set out to become the 1st choice provider of market research through a programme of growth and acquisition.  From a national company (formerly AGB) employing some 2,500 employees, today TNS is now the world’s largest Custom Market Research specialist. Employing the best Global Industry Sector consultants, in 80 countries.

This enlargement brought new challenges for TNS – they had to transform the disparate parts of the corporation into a ‘business-centred’ culture, without loosing any of the entrepreneurial ‘flair’ of MDs.

Their first initiative was a Senior Management Development Programme designed and delivered by The Leading Business ( LFI) and involving a series of 3-day events for different groups around the world.  During these sessions MDs and Senior Managers focused on Leadership and Managing People and Performance and scrutinised their own behaviours and thinking styles.  The primary method of delivery was self-development.  
For the next twelve months MDs were measured against five, business performance areas – measurements that identified what needed to be incorporated into the Training and Development Strategy if performance were to improve.

Other challenges loomed large.  TNS needed to turn their highly analytical and introverted managers – attributes of researchers – into people-orientated ones to leverage a people-orientated culture.  The solution was a new appraisal system based on core competencies and behaviours.  Anne’s role was to design and deliver appraisor training, centred on the themes of retention, motivation and value.

Today the new appraisal system is a key plank in the company’s measurement, feedback and support process, alongside the ‘Personal Action Plans’ produced during the Senior Management Development Programme.

Seven hundred managers worldwide have been trained and supported, so far, and the company’s ‘bottom line’ is on an upward trend.  The Asia Pacific region is doing particularly well – probably no coincidence given that this region’s commitment to training and development remains consistently high.
Gareth Jones, TNS Group Training and Development Director, believes it is important to take a long term view of initiatives like their Senior Management Development Programme and appraisal system.  He is convinced that activities like these DO make a positive difference to individual performances, DO add value to the business and DO have a positive impact on the ‘bottom line’.