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SGS North America’s (NAM) Learning and Development team understands that an investment in the leadership team is an investment in the entire workforce, and that leaders must nurture employee satisfaction and engagement as well as facilitate peak performance.

These ideas were the inspiration for our new leadership development program, Orange Zone Leadership (OZL), which aims to benefit the business and work culture across SGS by investing in people on the frontline so they have the skills to make the best decisions.

OZL is a dynamic, individualized and ongoing development program for anyone leading a team and for potential future leaders. Its many components focus on individual development while providing training on key leadership principles and concepts. In designing the OZL program, we took a broad view of the types of situations that leaders face across the organization. We also considered feedback from the Catalyst survey, which indicated that employees were looking for more recognition and more training and development opportunities.

The program kicks off with a one-day live training session and continues remotely through online webinars, coaching and assessments. Structured across five “zones”, it covers:

  • Leadership behavior and work style assessment
  • Being a legally sound leader
  • Leadership conversations
  • Consequence management
  • Developing your people

This training, which covers the 10 SGS leadership competencies, is relevant to leaders at all job levels. Developing these competencies in our people will enable us to achieve more, create a better place to work and set ourselves up for future business success.

OZL was launched in May 2019, with the first live session taking place in Detroit. Since then, seven more sessions have been hosted in New Orleans, Louisiana; Chicago, Illinois; Brookings, South Dakota; Houston, Texas; Denver, Colorado and Rutherford, New Jersey (two sessions in New Jersey). Participants, selected from every business line and every function across the organization, were sent an invitation at least 30 days prior to the live session.

After the event, participants were invited to take part in a post training survey, where they gave feedback on their training and voted on topics for continuing monthly leadership webinars. Some of these topics were employee recognition, difficult communications, and training and developing employees using individual development plans (IDPs).

Each participant was also given their own IDP and career path plan and continues to benefit from the option of participating in one-on-one coaching and assessments.

So far, in 2019, 138 leaders have participated in OZL live and hundreds more have taken part via webinar. After undertaking 1,280 hours of training that year, they have provided very positive feedback. We will be extending the program in 2020 to reach even more leaders. We hope that other affiliates will be inspired to bring OZL to their leaders for the benefit of our global business and work culture.