High IMPACT Coaching Case Study

Addressing Future Business Needs Now

Veolia Group, a global leader in optimized resource management with over 163,000 employees worldwide, had a growing need to address business changes and a pending talent gap to ensure bench strength in their succession pipeline.

IMPACT Group personalized the High IMPACT Coaching program to create a great cultural match for the company.


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Developing a Strong Succession Pipeline

A formal development program was needed due to:

+ Sudden growth experienced through an acquisition.

+ Launch of a new One Veolia vision for the organization’s three distinct divisions.

+ Looming leadership gap, as many leaders were eligible for retirement within five years – leaving an insufficient talent pool for critical roles.

“When we looked at the metrics, we realized we had 35-50% gaps in talent in some areas due to impending Baby Boomer retirements,” shares Augie Shulke, CHRO at Veolia.

“We knew we had to do something about that.” In order to continue to grow business, Veolia needed to accelerate the development of their emerging leaders and drive retention of high-potentials through a centralized program.

“Veolia desired a true partnership with their leadership development provider. Together, we determined the current state of the organization and ways to tailor our program to their exact needs,” shares Marcia Mueller, VP of Leadership Development at IMPACT Group. “This enabled IMPACT Group to develop the best framework possible to address their imminent leadership gaps.”

Program Quick Stats

+ 6th Year at Veolia
+ 120+ Program Participants
+ Select Employee Titles: Plant Manager, Field Manager, Sales Representative, Safety Specialist, Finance Manager, Human Resource Specialist, Marketing Specialist

Tailored Solution Customized to Veolia

Because of the highly technical nature of their workforce, Veolia’s development program needed to center around on-the-job learning. Their integrated development program leverages the research-based approach of learning through ‘real-time’ experiences. “One thing I really like about this program is it offers a capstone project. Participants use it to develop both their business acumen as well as leadership competencies,” states Augie. Participants apply these capstones to a real business situation. “Many of the projects help Veolia to increase value to the company. At the same time, it’s very rewarding for the individuals.”

Participants receive one-on-one coaching from a leadership development coach throughout the program. This provides focused time to strategize about their goals, gain insights on adopting new behaviors, and maximize growth during the program. Soheil Sadighi, a Regional Contracts Manager, completed the program in 2017. He found his coach to be vital to his success.

“She kept me on track. I tended to veer off and only focus on the capstone and how it would benefit the company. She kept asking, ‘What about you? What are you learning about yourself?’” Soheil shares. “This program was great for professional development as well as personal growth.”

The participants’ managers are also involved in coaching sessions during the program. Receiving support to better foster their employee’s development creates a coaching culture within the organization – delivering success well into the future. “Coaching has consistently ranked a 4.9 out of 5.0 over the past five years. It is a highly valuable feature of the program,” Marcia shares.

Senior-level sponsorship is critical for the program’s success. As Marcia points out, “It sets the program apart and adds real value as executives see the future of their company, and employees gain exposure to senior-level staff they don’t interact with regularly.” The President of North America attends the program’s final presentations by participants, showing the top of the company truly cares about the program’s success.

Program elements include:

+ Action-learning capstone project
+ Assessments that foster self-awareness
+ Individual development plan and goal
+ One-on-one leadership development coaching
+ Targeted learning resources
+ Coaching circles and virtual discussions
+ Virtual mid-point check-in and onsite event presenting capstone project
+ Executive one-on-one meeting to expand visibility
+ Manager support and coaching to best empower participants during the program and throughout their careers

“Using a third-party vendor allows participants to feel more comfortable and more open to talk about personal matters and values they want to address.” – Augie Schulke, CHRO at Veolia

Maximizing Growth, Achieving Real Results

The program is in its sixth year at Veolia, and employees from diverse backgrounds have come together to drive organizational change while solidifying their leadership competencies.

The result has been a rewarding experience in more ways than one.

“The tools my coach gave me to advance my skills both at my job and in my day-to-day life are huge,” Soheil shares. “I now take time to understanding how I need to think about the future – whether that is regarding a current project at work or my newborn son at home. This program has made me more effective.”

The overall goal of accelerating the development of emerging leaders and driving engagement and retention of high-potential talent was achieved, with an added bonus of real business results. Augie comments, “Program outcomes have led to process improvements, growth, and efficiencies for Veolia overall.”

Veolia measures success by participant and manager satisfaction, quality outcomes, growth demonstrated during the program, retention rates, and promotion rates. “The retention of high potentials is a key success metric,” Marcia comments. “Ensuring these individuals remain engaged and motivated leads to strong bench strength and dynamic succession pipelines for years to come.”

“The stats speak for themselves. We have achieved a 90% retention rate and 20% promotion rate versus our company average of 9%. We know this program works. The participants love them. Our leaders love them.” – Augie Schulke, CHRO at Veolia

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Not only did the employees hone in on specific leadership competencies – the development programs delivered measurable results for the organization.

Veolia views capstone projects as vital for the program because they solve real business problems, create best practices, generate revenue, drive safety, and foster innovation and creativity.

While short-term business impact wasn’t the central goal of the program, the action-learning capstone projects yielded immediate organization value.

Select real results include:
- $750,000 eliminated on initial software platform spend
- $70,000 customer experience savings
- 75% increased efficiency in month-end accrual

“These capstones achieve real progress for the business,” says Marcia, “As participants dive into the competency they select as the focus for their development, it surfaces needed projects that often turn into benchmarks for the entire organization. Past projects have become standard across 10 plants. That delivers immense value for Veolia.”

Key Organizational Successes

+ Doubled promotion rate of key talent.
+ Achieved 92% retention rate of high potentials.
+ Realized defined ROI of $1M through capstone projects in two-year period alone.

Are you ready to achieve similar results at your organization?

Contact us to discover how a tailored leadership development solution can empower leaders at all levels of your organization.

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