Growing Pains to Gains


A Roadmap for Leadership Development

How do you take a pipeline of leaders and ensure they have the skills and support needed to flourish in a growing environment? Rizing, a global professional service provider, did just that. In the last year, Rizing grew at unprecedented rates; it more than tripled its people, acquired five organizations and its team of three HR leaders became eight.

With diverse prior careers and role expectations, minted and current employees alike lacked the learnings needed to flourish as leaders. Rizing had no formal learning embedded into the culture, outside of peer-to-peer sharing. This reality attributed to a high turnover rate and a limited leader pipeline. To promote its key people into leadership roles and capitalize on its growth, Rizing needed a change, and quickly.

Yet, with a team of eight HR employees dedicated to a global business, the time needed to build a relevant leadership program was impossible to find. Moreover, learning had historically been seen as time away from customers, making clear the need to demonstrate business impact with any new initiative to leaders. Rizing’s SVP of Operational Excellence, Mark O’Donnell, looked inside out to create an experience that would upskill and empower employees for their future roles.

To develop a program that provided the capability to support the expansion of the business, Rizing shaped a solution based on the organization’s change principals.

In recognition of the existing culture, Rizing looked to embrace and include the peer-to-peer and user-generated content that already existed. Custom, user-generated-content was available for all employees to access when, where and how they needed it.

To grow leaders, Rizing created content that shifted from a purely online program to one that was facilitated in three, one-hour sessions to bring the content to life with the experience of employees’ peers. This evolved into a co-facilitated session, where a leader within the company would teach a topic with a third-party subject matter expert.

“In the last six months, all of our higher-level internal appointments have been from within. We know promoting from within provides better business outcomes, and we are able to do this in large part due to our learning culture.”

Mark O'Donnell

Senior Vice-President Operational Excellence

To track its progress, Rizing developed a global dashboard that put all elements of the program and custom content onto a single page for managers to review. With this in place, managers had a transparent view into each of their reports’ progress and were accountable for their reports’ learning.

Focusing on its people paid off in spades. With this experience developed, Rizing instilled confidence in its employees, saw a range of promotions within the company and created a spot for learning in the strategic initiatives of the organization.