Just as a barometer provides feedback about the ‘ups and downs’ in atmospheric pressure, so too, do stakeholder analysis exercises. In 2013, Exponential Training took stakeholder feedback much more seriously than it has in the past and now the results are there to see.
I must admit to being more than a little defensive the first time we conducted a thorough stakeholder analysis. Things were not always as I thought they were which was a bit of a wake up call. Imagine some of our stakeholders wanting different things from Exponential in the future rather than what they have wanted in the past.
Taking on board the feedback, my team and I set about defining, planning and implementing numerous mini projects. Some projects were ‘paint by numbers’ in nature and some were more comprehensive changes. Projects ranged from looking at how we communicate with customers and students, how we present learning modules, how we charge for courses to how we manage and report information about student progression and even how we use digital learning technology to make our development programmes more accessible, flexible and affordable. WOW! What a shopping list!
Yes, the truth can hurt, but if you act on the feedback performance will improve and eventually it will impact on the bottom-line. Here are some examples.
Stakeholders Told Exponential:
Example 1: Businesses said, "It was hard to find information about Exponential development programmes"
Response: The team set about increasing our Internet visibility with improved Search Engine Optimisation strategy (SEO), a re-design of our website and more detailed information about the qualifications we offer.
Impact: There has been a substantial increase in the number of enquiries resulting from search engines, which now represent 53 per cent of enquiries – up from 35 per cent previously. Exponential now has students in 46 different countries, compared to just 15 in 2012.
Example 2: Students and businesses said, "We really like the flexible start dates and one-to-one coaching and support"
Response: The Exponential team introduced a new flexible start policy as well as more one-to-one coaching and support for learners studying a qualification programme.
Impact: Nearly ninety per cent of students rated the support provided by their personal tutor as excellent up from 84 per cent the previous year; 100 per cent rated the feedback on their assignments as very good or excellent; and three quarters of students rated Exponential’s learning modules as very good or excellent compared to 70% in 2011/12.
Example 3: 'In the Loop' subscribers said, “We like practical stories that give us ideas we can use and we would like a more informal style of news letter that comes out regularly”
Response: The Exponential team has set up a small writing and editorial team which ensures every 'In the Loop' contains a mini Coaching Works video, at least three downloadable tools and that it is sent out routinely on the first week of each month.
Impact: The number of subscribers has peaked at over 10K, Coaching Works is often the most clicked story every month and feedback has resulted in the Coaching Works pilot being extended as a regular feature.
Key Stakeholder Messages for 2014/15:
This year, Exponential’s stakeholder analysis tells us:
- Managers want more access to one-to-one coaching
- Businesses want more short solution focussed online courses
- Businesses want more bespoke/ tailored support
- CMI wants Exponential to help them increase the number of Chartered Managers
- Managers want to be able to complete qualifications progressively (i.e Award to Certificate, Certificate to Diploma)
- Businesses want to know how they can access funded training and development programmes.
As Exponential starts its new operating year, rest assured the team is working harder than ever to deliver on our mission which is quite simply:
"To improve the performance of managers, coaches, consultants and organisations through flexible, affordable, professional development"