After almost 60 years of ownership by Pearson, the Financial Times moved into ownership by Nikkei in 2015. This posed the challenge of building processes to support a strong organisational culture; improve on areas including performance, talent management and employee engagement; and facilitate their key business target of reaching a million engaged readers despite the trials of being a news organisation in an increasingly digital marketplace.
"Advancing the mobility and career growth of its people"
Though based in the UK, the FT are also a global organisation, so understanding country cultures and their impact on employees was an important consideration when embarking on the transformation. A post-ownership transition engagement survey revealed key strengths of employer brand, company pride and communication.
The L&D team developed a model featuring quarterly performance conversations focused on goal setting and peer-to-peer feedback. A career coaching programme was also introduced in an effort to reduce the risk of employee disengagement during this unstable transition period. Additionally, an internal mentoring programme encouraged people to reach out for support in their career or skills development. This approach aligns to their culture and belief of ‘making the right connections.’ Online tools and a series of bite size modules has allowed successful management and leadership development, key to the success of the transformation.
"Encouraging people to reach out for support in their career or skills development"
Following the new initiatives, the FT has seen 103 internal promotions and 38 internal transfers. Management development training yielded an increase in average confidence levels from 5.1 to 7.5/10. The Financial Times has shown impressive alignment strategies during a period of rapid change, advancing the mobility and career growth of its people.