Air-IT helps employees ‘dream big’ with Dream Manager
Nottingham based Managed service provider Air-IT is one of the first companies to introduce The Dream Manager Programme as part of its employee engagement strategy. A high growth tech business, Air-IT made the investment in The Dream Manager Programme (“Dream Manager”) as a dual purpose learning, personal development and employee engagement initiative. The company’s goal was to help staff excel in all aspects of their lives and ensure they remain an employer of choice.
IT service provision is a highly competitive market sector and having employee brand ambassadors to enable Air-IT to differentiate itself with a superior service is essential for long term business growth. Strong business values are crucial to Air-IT’s success and the company’s philosophy is very much aligned with the theory behind Dream Manager – “staff who enjoy their work and feel valued will succeed for themselves, their team and the company as a whole”.
Air-IT has prioritised service as its most important brand value, setting ambitious KPIs for service delivery time and quality levels. These targets cannot be achieved without a loyal, happy and productive team of employees. As verified by CIPD research, when employees are highly engaged, they typically invest 57% more discretionary effort into their work.
Bi-annual online appraisals were introduced some time ago to help improve employee self-development and satisfaction levels. In addition, the company offers its employees extensive technical and professional training, to ensure all staff have the right level of interpersonal and technical skills. Investing in The Dream Manager Programme represents a new way for Air-IT to further improve employee engagement and retention, whilst also allowing employees to achieve their aspirations in life and business.
“People spend a lot of time at work and we’re a close knit company,” says Paul Driver, HR Lead at Air-IT. “The Dream Manager Programme is the perfect platform for us and provides a way for everyone to come together, become closer as a team and help people improve themselves to be the best they can. It’s about strengthening our existing culture and helping people get to the places they want to be, so we are a more cohesive team.”
As a group based initiative, the programme offered a good fit for Air-IT’s very strong, social culture and the company already runs group charity fundraising challenges, joint events and team building. The Dream Manager coaching sessions will be the first time the company has embarked upon a programme designed to develop its staff members at personal and professional levels, addressing core areas including goal setting and planning, financial management, communication and relationships, plus total wellbeing and professional development.
Structured as 12 monthly sessions, each lasting 90 minutes, Dream Manager is designed for implementation either by an external Dream Manager coach or a staff member, upon completion of the Dream Manager Certification. Air-IT has opted for the latter approach and the company’s Managing Director, Todd McQuilkin, will be facilitating monthly group coaching sessions beginning in early April, together with Paul Driver. In between sessions, the programme keeps going throughout the month with emails, texts and postcards, all designed to ensure participants embed what they are learning and can quickly embark on their new approach to life.
As a whole life engagement programme, it’s important that participation in Dream Manager is voluntary, to ensure that those involved see maximum benefits and fully commit to the undertaking. Air-IT has invited all its employees to participate and will be running the monthly coaching sessions during business hours. Using working time to run the programme further emphasises that the company’s investment really is for the benefit of employees as individuals first and foremost.
So far, over 60% of employees have asked to join the initial programme. Designed to break down barriers, staff at all levels, from senior directors to the youngest technical apprentices, will be taking the Dream Manager journey, their only pre-requisite being an open mind, ready to dream big.
According to CIPD research, it takes an average of 9 weeks and over £30,000 to replace a departing colleague when the direct and indirect costs of recruitment, plus the time required to identify suitable candidates are taken into account. For the IT sector, given the investment in training made to ensure employees have the technical skills needed and inevitable business disruption, the costs of high employee turnover are higher.
“Programmes like Dream Manager show a strong return on investment because they solve the problems other engagement interventions don’t – by putting equal emphasis on the employee personally as well as the organisation. The result is a rapid, positive impact on employee engagement and significantly reduced employee churn,” says Mike Greatwood, CEO of The Dream Manager Programme.
“This is a really unique and exciting programme; it’s going to help us embed high staff morale and enable our employees to become the people they’ve always aspired to be – in their jobs and personal lives,” says Todd McQuilkin, Managing Director at Air-IT.