"98% of managers said they were using the skills that they learned on the programme."
Anita Walsh, Head of Human Resources, Entegro
The Challenge – fast growth and upskilling at the same time
Entegro started off in Kilkenny as a small telecoms engineering company and expanded across different sectors. The company was founded in 2019 from the merger of ipOne and Syncom – two successful telecoms companies with a shared enthusiasm to develop and build digital networks for future generations.
For a company which is now one of Europe’s leading fixed line design companies with a team of surveyors, designers and engineers building fibre networks around the country it was important to develop leaders internally to manage teams.
According to its Head of HR Anita Walsh, the key challenge was how to upskill people at a time when the business was growing at a fast pace.
“We were growing very quickly and adding many new people to the team. We had to introduce organisational change, so we had to put new plans in place and upskill people. People were moving into management and team lead roles, and we hadn’t before supplied training and development in an ethos or methodology that we wanted to flow through the company,” said Anita.
The Solution – upskilling new managers
Entegro wanted to promote people to managerial level roles and help new managers develop the mindset of being a manager.
The company needed to upskill employees – particularly in management skills – for career progression opportunities in the company and prepare them for working in a hybrid environment.
Anita reached out to Ashling Ward, Network Manager at Carlow Kilkenny Skillnet, on ways in which they could support Entegro’s focus on talent development and career progression.
Ashling Ward, Network Manager at Carlow Kilkenny Skillnet, said: “Traditionally, these SMEs who are growing have very little time to train so that’s a challenge for us in order to come up with a solution that allows a company to grow but also to upskill at the same time.”
Carlow Kilkenny Skillnet developed a bespoke ‘emerging leaders’ programme with the first cohort of 50 employees in January of this year. The programme was completed in the summer.
Offering a mix of highly engaging modules, peer learning and coaching support through the active use of partners, it provides learners with the opportunity to explore best practices in managing people.
Ashling said: “The key thing for us is to look at modules that were relevant for their needs now but also as they are growing so fast – what will help them in the future. Areas such as communications, managing a diverse workforce, sustainability, digitisation, engaging your organisation and helping them to grow.”
The big advantage of working with Carlow Kilkenny Skillnet for Entegro was the ability for the programme to be bespoke and respond to their needs within the business framework.
Anita said: “We were able to bring this into our strategic objective called Track for Talent – this is how we would develop our talent for the now and the future.”
She noted how the emerging leaders programme is a fundamental part of the talent development process now at Entegro as it encourages employees to fulfil their career goals.
The Outcome – having an impact internally and in the region
The implementation of the emerging leaders programme has been successful for employees in both developing their skills and progressing their own careers as many move into managerial capacities.
Anita said: “The investment in the programme with Carlow Kilkenny Skillnet was very beneficial. 98% of managers said they were using the skills that they learned on the programme. That’s what any company wants.”
Gary Wilson, who completed the Emerging Leaders programme, is now Programme Delivery Manager at Entegro. Gary said: “The programme has helped me especially in the communications and team development side of my work. I’m currently managing a team where I’m not specifically trained in that area and the programme helped me to understand how I can relate to that team.”
Many technical employees are now working in management and team leadership roles as a result of the leadership programmes delivered by the Carlow Kilkenny Skillnet
“Coming from a technical background I always thought I would work in the technical side of the business. Using the emerging leaders programme – I was able to develop beyond that,” said Gary.
Anita noted how the partnership with Carlow Kilkenny Skillnet is now a fundamental part of Entegro’s business and how it will develop talent in the future.
The company has managed to build a culture of learning and sharing best practice internally.
For Ashling at Carlow Kilkenny Skillnet the key thing is to have an impact and build a long-term relationship with companies at a regional level. “It’s about increasing the skills base regionally, raising the level of upskilling amongst owner-managers and SMEs. We very much listen to our companies. We figure out what they need, and we spend a long time building up that relationship. It’s not a quick fix, it’s about partnership up with them over the years”
Learn more about the Emerging Leaders Programme at Carlow Kilkenny Skillnet.