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Leadership development at Barclays UK Retail Bank

River in the canyon


Barclays UK Retail Bank wanted to cut external recruitment costs and improve promotional prospects for their middle managers.

A review of retention feedback and recruitment costs showed a reliance on hiring external talent, as they had not addressed the development needs of their internal talent. Whilst this brought in new perspectives and knowledge, recruitment was costly. They were not utilising experienced and loyal employees.

Just 12 months after the launch of our emerging leaders programme, 62% of posts were filled internally and all programme costs had been offset by external recruitment cost savings. 

Barclays’ Talent Management Process - part of each individual’s personal development plan - clearly identified a number of behavioural skill gaps. Managers were technically high performing, but they needed to demonstrate increased leadership capability to prove they were ready for promotion.

Impact was challenged with devising an emerging leaders programme to develop these managers into transformational leaders, able to energise and lead change within Barclays.

Development requirements included: 

  • Leadership action that gets results
  • Ownership of development
  • Management of self and others
  • Building, leading and coaching a team
  • Personal effectiveness.



Together we developed a challenging and innovative modular experiential learning event. Barclays supported the modular programmes internally with senior sponsorship, workplace mentoring, personal development reviews and online reading.

Launch: The launch event placed emphasis on the ownership of personal development and enabled participants to have performance-focused discussions with their own manager.

Leadership and team working skills (leading self): This four-day learning journey combined current thinking on leadership and organisational performance with experiential projects, business discussions and in-depth feedback sessions. Participants were challenged to use their leadership abilities to deliver results.

Leading high performance (leading others): During this two-day residential each participant created a movement-based performance. This innovative project demanded that each participant operated effectively as a leader and coach whilst under pressure themselves. It looked in detail at the leadership actions that individuals contributed and drew upon elements of emotional intelligence.

The emerging leaders' programme made each participant responsible for driving the performance of themselves and others. Impact facilitators challenged every individual to engage in the process and take that level of commitment back to the workplace.

Shortly after the programme launched, it was awarded a UK National Training Award because of these measurable results:

  • Increased development/ promotional opportunities: 12 months prior to the programme, external appointments filled 62% of promotion opportunities. Twelve months later, 62% were filled by internal promotions.
  • Reduced recruitment costs: The cost of the entire emerging leaders programme was offset by the savings made in external recruitment costs.

The emerging leaders' programme positively impacted on Barclays UK Retail Bank, drastically improving the participants’ day-to-day leadership performance. Original programme aims were exceeded, resulting in higher than expected return on investment which was directly attributed to the participants’ leadership actions.

A survey of the emerging leaders showed:

  • 97% state team productivity has improved
  • 92% state team engagement has improved
  • 100% integrated the learning into their day-to-day business activity.


    Financial Services
    Talent Management
    Transformational Leadership
    See what our customers say about us
    Lynne Atkin
    HR Director
    "The success of the Emerging Leaders Programme has exceeded my expectations. The content is relevant, the selection process is rigorous - and it delivers. We are seeing a clear increase in leadership capability within this talent population. This is now coming to fruition as we see more and more individuals who attend the programme going on to take on more demanding roles - be that within their current level or to more senior roles. The programme is recognised by our Executive Team as talent enabler."