Case Studies
Talent Restructure
Tools Used
Blended 360 and Blended Interview
There was a business requirement within HSBC Insurance UK to conduct a review of the organisational design of the Sales Development Function.
HSBC Insurance UK and their HR function worked together to design this new structure and had a clear vision for the Target Operating Model (TOM). Zircon the sister company of BeTalent was hired to identify and design 2 new roles within the team, and also assess the potential and performance of the current sales force, in order to identify their suitability for the new roles.
HSBC were seeking to establish a cost effective but reliable and valid assessment and development process, using a range of tools for the assessment. The assessment process included the use of psychometric evaluations, a potential interview, a 360 intervention and a validation interview. Honest evaluation of the validity of the assessment exercises led to a reduction of the process and utilising some elements as a screen to further assist with containing costs.
A total of 47 HSBC employees completed a variety of online psychometric questionnaires, were assessed by their managers and participated in a 4-hour assessment session for the new roles.
Since the implementation of the Wealth Business Development Manager (WBDM) model there has been an average increase of 12% pure growth in sales across the network on Insurance products, a 21% increase in value and 22% increase in volume of sales from coached individuals (by WBDM's), compared to colleagues not coached by a WBDM.
American Express
Talent Assessment
Tools Used
Decision Styles Questionnaire
American Express requested BeTalent's support to identify the high potential competencies and create a set of assessment tools for the recruitment of international Gold, Platinum and Centurion Card customer services consultants in 17 Countries.
We identified the critical behaviours for success for the sales operatives, and designed a virtual assessment process including an interview, a series of customer facing role play exercises and the Decision Styles questionnaire.
These exercises were being used globally to select, develop and retain the best customer services talent possible.
The Decision Styles questionnaire was used to understand how the sales operatives helped their high net worth customers make decisions and how they would advise them to make decisions.
We also trained all of the Band 30 Managers in the skills of assessment, competency interviewing, Level A test administration and providing feedback.
The training was conducted in the main American Express offices throughout the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Singapore, Australia and Japan.
Following the project, the organisation saw a 45% increase in turnover and a 37% increase in sales over a 3-year period.
Royal London
Senior Talent Assessments
Tools Used
Strengths Questionnaire
Royal London contacted BeTalent to undertake ongoing talent assessments for internal succession, planning, personal development and talent programme placement.
The process involved working with Royal London to evolve and validate their assessment methodologies; utilising their internal talent frameworks and applying principles of high potential to interview techniques.
The senior leader assessments were 3-hour long executive style assessments incorporating the use of the Hogan Personality Inventory, the Hogan Development Survey, the Motives, Values Personality Inventory and the SHL verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning tests.
Royal London employ a Strengths approach, which required the report and feedback process to include discussions around Strengths, permissible weaknesses and capability to deliver expert roles in areas of scarce market talent. The process consisted of a personal report, which identified talent outcomes at 3 levels, as well as opportunities for development.
We have conducted 73 senior level individual talent assessments across the UK, against the strict SLA delivery times agreed by both organisations. We will continue to work with Royal London within this project but so far the feedback and progress reports have been fantastic!
Rank Group
Identifying Hidden Gems
Tools Used
Blueprint, Talent Fit, Strengths and Decision Styles Questionnaire
Zircon designed and delivered a process for identifying ‘hidden gems’ at all levels of Rank Group.
The assessment process was based around the Rank Group Model of Talent, which encompasses Behaviours, Expertise, Strengths, STARs (Values), Aspirations, Engagement and Intelligence, which were identified as crucial for success in an ever-changing retail market.
A large population of 350 individuals went through an initial screening process, using an online 180 Talent Fit assessment. The top 69 individuals from this process were then invited to complete an assessment for the development event in order to learn more about their Strengths and development areas. The identification process was designed to assess all elements of the Blueprint in a vigorous and valuable manner.
The two-staged assessment process employed a combination of technology-enabled assessments, such as the Talent Fit assessment and an online case study, as well as face-to-face exercises.
The HRD noted the benefits of our work: "Talking more about using talent to succession plan, we have ended up in a place that helps shape what we do next, it now feels like a more objective view to talent and talent planning."
Royal Mail
COM Project March/April 2022
Tools Used
Case Study and Working Styles Questionnaire
In 2022, we were invited by Royal Mail (RM) to prepare for and deliver the 2022 COM assessment project in partnership with SOVA Assessment. This consisted of providing a facilitated briefing sessions and marking of 1904 individuals over the period of 2 weeks.
Step 1 – Pilot Stage: We worked with RM and SOVA to review, pilot and test the SOVA assessment materials. We marked and peer reviewed 12 participants and provided feedback to help refine the case study.
Step 2 – Recruitment and training: We recruited and trained 38 assessment consultants and co-designed and delivered assessment and facilitation training.
Step 3 – Scheduling: We designed a bespoke scheduling system to capture consultant availability, allocate bookings, track marking progress, peer review/feedback to ensure consistency and fairness.
Step 4 – Facilitated briefing: Working with multiple stakeholders from RM and SOVA, we delivered 20 facilitated sessions each with up to 120 candidates. To ensure the best possible candidates experience, we provided regular communication updates to the assessors and facilitators and circulated updated facilitation and assessment materials, as required.
Step 5 – Marking: We followed a robust peer reviewing process and achieved a high inter-rater reliability and expected distribution of scoring, whilst ensuring that the marking turnaround of 48 hours was achieved and marking reallocations in some cases.
• Total number of facilitated Assessments: 12 (average attendance per session 159, with 4 facilitators, 1 co-ordinator and 3 SOVA IT support as required)
• Total number invited: 1904, Total number attended: 1889
• Attendance rate: 99.2% Completion rate: 100% i.e. 100% of those who attended completed both assessments (the Case Study and the Working Styles Questionnaire)
• Number requesting extra time as part of a RA: 5.7% (108)
• Number who completed all questions in the Case Study: 96.8% (1843)
• Assessments scored: 100%
"A MASSIVE thank you for all your hard work over the last couple of weeks. It has been a challenging project with changing timescales, uncertainty over numbers and logistical and technical barriers." - Alison Flower, Assessment and Recruitment Manager
Water Market Team Development Workshops
Tools Used
Psychological Safety, Team and Strengths Questionnaire
In 2021/22, we were invited by Atkins to facilitate three workshops for the Water Market Team. The main aim was to introduce greater diversity of thought and innovation into the unit and create a culture where people feel more comfortable to speak up.
Workshop 1, Psychological Safety: We provided individuals with an understanding of the concept of psychological safety and gave them a toolkit around how they can use this knowledge to support their teams in being more open and willing to speak up.
Workshop 2, Team Strengths: In order to address the risks discussed in the first workshop, this workshop focused on assisting the team to identify their purpose and recognise and appreciate the strengths of the team as a whole in order to increase collaboration.
Workshop 3, Individual Strengths: Finally, the third workshop narrowed in to look at how the individuals in the team saw themselves and how others saw them, in terms of their strengths. This helped them to appreciate each other’s strengths and understand how to get the best our of each other.
"There was a real positive buzz in the market team yesterday evening, as a consequence of the fantastic insights we learned through your programme.  I’m really pleased with the foundation we have and the opportunity to build an even stronger team through 2022." - Richard Whale, Water Market Director
Sussex Police
Psychological Safety Workshops
Tools Used
Psychological Safety Questionnaire
In 2021 as a result of the work with the College of Policing, we were invited by Sussex Police to lead the facilitation of Psychological Safety leadership development workshops for Sussex Police.
We partnered with one of the Sussex Police Detective Chief Inspectors to design and deliver a series of workshops using the BeTalent Psychological Safety questionnaire and card sort exercise.
Three workshops were delivered with senior stakeholders from Sussex to educate them about Psychological Safety, to challenge their thinking and to engage them to find ways to influence their working environment.
The aim of the workshops was to aid personal development and self awareness, but also to create a culture where people feel more comfortable to speak up, ask questions, challenge and disagree.
The Psychological Safety reflection enabled the leaders to raise their personal awareness and understand how others saw them, and the impact they each had personally on their culture and environment.
"Amanda, I was just about to email you saying thank you!! It was so good to see them all so engaged.  I particularly liked the way you challenged my colleagues. It will be really interesting to see how they react to all this..." - Detective Chief Inspector
Brooks Macdonald Group
Improving Diversity by Design
Tools Used
Psychological Safety and Strengths Questionnaire
Brooks Macdonald Group is a leading British Investment Management Company with over £15.7 billion funds under management (Jun22). The business wanted to take a revolutionary approach to their recruitment programs and address the gender, ethnic and cognitive diversity balance within the business as a priority.
In 2021 Zircon were selected to consult in this important journey. The program objective was to actively recruit a Strengths based team that has varied cognitive diversity and make a measurable difference to the number of people employed, and retained, from minority groups.
The overhaul utilised the Zircon’s ‘Improving Diversity by Design’ framework which included;
• C-Suite interviews, analysis & benchmarking
• Design of a Strengths based blueprint for recruitment approach
• Definition of collaborative behaviours
• Transformation of the recruitment process: applications forms, interview questions & ratings
• Identifying & removing bias (written) + training of senior managers (assumed & spoken)
• Using tools from the BeTalent product suite to identify individuals Strengths & measure Psychological Safety (ongoing for retention)
• Widening the net of advertising to increase the pool of applicants from different backgrounds
• Retention planning
During the assessment and selection process key performance indicators across demographic (sex, race) and cognitive diversity (Interact, Lead, Deliver and Act) ranges exceeded the 50% target which was set at the outset.
The success of the programme was further used as a catapult to get the whole business to buy into the blueprint and apply a similar approach to the recruitment of their trainees, summer intern intakes - through to the most senior roles in the company.
"Working with Zircon in revolutionising our assessment approach is changing the way the business is thinking about diversity and inclusion. This was totally new to Brooks Macdonald but after engaging with Zircon and giving our business leaders ownership of delivering the process, it has set the standard for what good recruitment looks like. Not only has it delivered everything we wanted, it has identified the proactive steps needed to create a more culturally inclusive organisation." - Andrew Shepherd, CEO
Environment Agency
Creating an Environment for Success
Tools Used
Psychological Safety and Strengths Questionnaire
The Environment Agency (EA) is a public sector body with over 10,000 employees and a much wider network of contracted partners that help deliver £5bn+ of public services projects.
The challenge set forth to Zircon was to conduct a review of the impact created from the EA’s Collaborative Delivery Framework and analyse how well the described Collaborative Behaviours were embedded across the EA.
After a series of stakeholder interviews, desktop analysis and content analysis evidence showed there was a need to simplify the framework. It was agreed that a single model was required to describe the standards of excellence in plain language, for example; 64 down to 12 core behaviours were pin pointed as being crucial.
The bigger challenge identified during the review was the need to create an environment of trust. To facilitate this Zircon created a second program of work ‘Creating an Environment for Success’ which included:
• Using tools from the BeTalent product suite to Identify individuals Strengths and cognitive diversity ranges within senior management
• Measurement of the Psychological Safety across the EA network
• Creation of a series of workshops delivered to over 500 EA senior managers to build awareness and enable an effective decision-making culture.
Through these tactics, the EA are now in a better position to obtain the high-performance collaborative goals needed for them to succeed.
"In our initial scoping discussion to design the depth and breadth of the framework project, Zircon BeTalent asked us a great question. They said, as a client, how brave do you want to be? I said, very." - Jo Jolly, Deputy Director, Environment Agency and Project Sponsor of the Behavioural Diagnostics project


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